Guinea-Bissau: Authorities downgrade country’s COVID-19 response to state of calamity September 9 /update 9

Authorities announced on Wednesday, September 9, that the country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response has been downgraded by authorities from a state of emergency, to a state of calamity until at least December 8.

The government has been gradually easing COVID-19-related restrictions since June. Authorities have announced that public transport may operate at 50 percent capacity. Face masks remain mandatory for all individuals to wear in public. A ban on more than 25 people meeting in public is in place and nightclubs, gyms, and additional cultural sites remain closed.

Land borders are open and inter-regional travel is permitted. The ban on international flights was lifted at the beginning of August, though commercial flight options remain limited. Humanitarian, medical, and cargo flights have continued. All travelers intending on entering the country will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test, those without a test certificate will be quarantined for 14 days at a declared location. Travelers may also be required to self-isolate on arrival into the country.

As of September 9, there have been 2245 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Guinea-Bissau and 38 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). 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, diarrhea, 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 risk of COVID-19 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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