On Saturday, June 27, Malagasy authorities extended the national health state of emergency, initially declared on March 21, for a further 15 days until Sunday, July 12, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Restrictions remain in place in the five most affected areas of the country: the province of Analamanga, and the districts of Toamasina I and II, Fénérive-Est, and Moramanga. However, authorities on Saturday announced the easing of measures in the districts of Toamasina I and II, Fénérive-Est, and Moramanga. Restrictions in Analamanga province, including the capital Antananarivo, remain unchanged. An overnight curfew will continue in the aforementioned locations, in effect between 22:00 and 04:00 (local time).
As in Analamanga province, it was announced on Saturday that businesses in Toamasina I and II, Fénérive-Est, and Moramanga districts may now operate until 17:00 daily. Similarly in these locations, public transportation will now run until 19:00. There remain limits to passenger capacity, including up to three allowed in taxis. Gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted across the country, though social distancing measures should be adhered to and face masks remain mandatory for all individuals outdoors.
Media reports suggest that students in exam classes will return to schools on Thursday, July 2. Sporting fixtures and cultural events are yet to resume. Additional screening measures and checkpoints have been erected by the authorities, and additional testing centers will reportedly be open daily from Wednesday, July 1, for residents experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Measures throughout the rest of the country were lifted by the authorities on June 14.
As of Monday, June 29, health authorities have confirmed 2078 cases of COVID-19 in-country and 18 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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