Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Congo: COVID-19-related state of health emergency extended through late January /update 17

Event

Authorities in the Republic of the Congo have extended the country’s state of health emergency measures for a further 20 days from Jan. 5 through at least Jan. 25 as part of plans to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

International Travel

  • Land and river borders are closed. Air travel has resumed.

  • International travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours on arrival. Persons arriving with a negative test will still be subject to a 14-day self-isolation period at their residence or hotel. Self-isolation is also required for travelers in-transit.

  • Persons arriving with a test result older than 72 hours but less than 10 days old will be subject to a test upon arrival at their own expense, followed by a 14-day self-isolation period at their residence or hotel.

  • If no test is provided, or the test result provided is older than 10 days, the traveler will be placed in a hotel at their own expense and will need to complete a test within 48 hours. If the test is negative, the traveler must complete a 14-day self-isolation period at their residence or hotel. If the test is positive, the traveler will be transferred to a COVID-19 case management site.

  • Travelers showing COVID-19 symptoms are placed in 14-day isolation and will be tested twice before being released to finish a 14-day self-isolation period at their residence or hotel.

  • Only travelers over the age of 11 years are subject to tests.

Domestic Restrictions:

  • Gatherings of more than 50 people in public and private spaces are prohibited during the state of health emergency.

  • Marketplaces may open five days a week in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire and six days a week elsewhere.

  • In Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, a curfew is in effect between 2300-0500 Monday to Friday and between 2000-0500 Saturday to Sunday. There is no curfew in the rest of the country.

  • All nonessential businesses, including restaurants, remain closed.

  • Security personnel have increased screening measures, which will be conducted throughout the country’s entry and exit points.

  • The wearing of facemasks is mandatory in public spaces.

Additional amendments to restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are possible in the coming weeks.

Context

The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent months in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure – especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements and ensure that all pre-arrival tests are conducted.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources

World Health Organisation (WHO)

Republic of Congo Government Portal

Republic of Congo Ministry of Public Health

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