The São Tomé and Príncipe government has extended the country's state of calamity, which was introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, until August 15. The extension comes amid the third stage of easing of COVID-19 measures between July 16 and Friday, July 31, during which domestic and international travel was allowed to resume, and the nationwide curfew between 18:30 and 05:00 (local time) was lifted.
International arrivals are required to present a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours prior to travel to the country, and those without evidence may be subject to a test and may also be required to undertake a quarantine period.
The original state of emergency had been extended until June 15, after which it was downgraded to a state of calamity on June 16. Restrictions remain in place on large gatherings, and the use of face masks in public remains mandatory.
As of July 31, there are 870 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in country, with 15 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be anticipated 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - 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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