West and Central Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Trends

Guinea-Bissau

Extended state of health emergency, lifting of curfew

  • First case: 25 March 2020

  • Total cases: 1,954 (as of 23 July 2020)

  • Total deaths: 26

  • Schools: Closed

  • Borders/flights: All borders closed.

  • Containment measures: Guinea-Bissau announced on 10 July the reopening of places of worship that had been closed in March to try to stem the pandemic of the new coronavirus. The government has, in parallel with this reopening of mosques, churches and other places of worship, authorized the resumption of gatherings for events like weddings, baptisms or funerals, according to a decree Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam released om 10 July. He nevertheless called for strict compliance with measures against the coronavirus such as hand washing, wearing a mask, and physical distancing. Bissau announced 25 June a month extension of the state health emergency decreed at the end of March. The curfew had been removed following this measure.

Situation:

The president called for the respect of barrier measures to stop the spread of the epidemic. Guinea-Bissau, with 1.8 million inhabitants, lacks health infrastructure to deal with a large-scale epidemic. The number of cases is increasing but the country has only three reception centres, which are now overcrowded. Medical oxygen is lacking, forcing staff to sort between patients, only giving oxygen to the most serious cases and leaving the less serious cases at home. This increases the risk of community contagion. Also, part of the population does not respect the preventive measures. To try to improve the situation, the authorities have set up a high commission coordinated by the former Minister of Health. As the country's health structures do not allow effective treatment, the government is therefore banking on raising awareness among the population.

Response:

A National Covid-19 Contingency Plan was adopted at the end of March.

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