On Wednesday, July 15, Madagascan authorities announced the extension of the Health State of Emergency until at least July 25, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The health state of emergency was originally introduced on March 21.
Additionally, all international and domestic flights have been suspended until further notice. Cruise ships are currently not permitted to berth in Madagascar's ports.
Full lockdown measures, previously imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, were reintroduced in the Analamanga region, including Antananarivo, from July 6. These measures will remain in place until July 20. Under these restrictions, only one person per household may leave their homes between 06:00 and 12:00 (local time). Overland travel outside of the region is also suspended during this period.
Restrictive measures remain in place throughout the districts of Tamatave I and II, Moramanga and Fenerive-Est, under which business and transportation hours have been reduced. A curfew is in place in Tamatave and the island of Sainte-Marie from 22:00 to 04:00 and in Tulear from 21:00 to 04:00.
On July 15, health authorities reported 5343 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 43 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is 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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