Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced the renewal of several restrictions on Sunday, July 12, which are in place in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A nationwide nightly curfew remains observed between 18:00 and 05:00 (local time) on Monday to Saturday restricting all movement. A weekend curfew will continue throughout July; the curfew will run from 14:00 on Saturdays to 05:00 on Mondays. During curfew hours, individuals are required to stay at home or in their accommodation, and those who violate this will be subject to a fine or imprisonment. Essential personnel, including police, private security, medical professionals, and food-delivery drivers, will be exempt.
Outside of curfew hours, it remains mandatory for all individuals to comply with social distancing rules, requiring people to stay at least 1.5 m (5 ft) apart and utilize face masks in all public spaces; breaking these regulations may result in heavy fines.
Nationwide travel restrictions remain in place. Vehicle restrictions are in place with individuals allowed to utilize personal vehicles on certain days dependent on license plate numbers. Two-wheeled vehicles are exempt from theses restrictions. All private vehicle mobility is restrictions on Sundays. The suspension of inter-departmental travel has been lifted, though authorities continue to advise against traveling between the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla, Suchitepequez, Quetzaltenango, Izabal, El Progreso, Zacapa, and Santa Rosa. Exemptions from the restrictions include health and sanitary emergency equipment, public and private security, food, pharmaceutical products, and the transportation of cargo.
All land, sea, and air borders remain closed and entry to most non-Guatemalan nationals remains barred, with diplomatic personnel, health and security personnel, and specific exceptional cases designated by the government exempt. International and domestic flights are suspended until further notice; certain humanitarian, medical, and official flights authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempt. Public transportation remains suspended.
Supermarkets, grocers, other markets, and other essential businesses are permitted to operate from 06:00 to 16:00. Most public and private sectors are suspended and shopping centers remain closed. Reports suggest that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public areas, and the sale and purchase of alcohol is only allowed in limited hours. Beaches, lakes, rivers, and other tourist sites remain closed. Public religious gatherings and celebrations are prohibited, and all schools and academic activities are suspended until further notice.
As of July 15, there are 30,872 confirmed cases of COVID in Guatemala and 1302 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 (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 COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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 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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