Malabo – Equatorial Guinea on Friday stiffened measures to tackle Covid-19, citing a third wave of the pandemic in the small central African country.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo reinstated a curfew, tightened travel restrictions and imposed a complete cycle of vaccination on all civil servants. Those previously affected worked only in the health, safety and education fields.
Vaccination is now also compulsory for any citizen who undertakes an approach to the administration in person, while the same obligation applies to any student aged over 18 and enrolling in a college or university.
The decree says nothing about the time remaining for officials to get vaccinations.
“From September 17 until October 15, a curfew is established from 18:00 to 06:00,” according to the decree which also authorises the “deployment of the police to enforce it”.
Obiang Nguema, who at 79 has run the former Spanish colony with an iron fist for more than 42 years, spoke of a “third wave of infections (…) observed with deep concern”, in a statement repeatedly broadcast on RTVGE state radio and television.
Malabo authorities have been reporting a third wave of Covid-19 since August, even though, like many of its regional neighbours, Equatorial Guinea has so far been relatively spared by the virus.
Since April 2020, 11,063 cases and 137 deaths have been reported for a population of some 1.4 million inhabitants.
However, these figures from the ministry of health have risen sharply in the past seven days alone, with 771 new infections and five deaths.
Only about 161 000 people have received two shots of a Covid-19 vaccine to date, and more than 214 000 just one, according to the ministry.
The decree also tightens travel regulations. In addition to the negative PCR test result already required, any passenger on an aircraft or ship must produce a vaccination certificate.
Those coming from abroad will be subject to a five-day quarantine at the hotel at their expense.
For locals who have seen little benefit from the income from booming oil and gas production since the late 1990s, the prices of PCR tests to travel are crushing.
Most people live below the poverty line, so 5 000 CFA francs (7.61 euros / $8.96) to test for a domestic trip is a great expense, while 50 000 for foreign travel is almost inconceivable.
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