COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information for Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe

Updated June 1, 2020 

Latest Governmental Restrictions

Gabon

Although the Gabonese government lifted the State of Emergency that was put in place on April 10, previously announced confinement measures are still in effect.  In a May 11 communication, the Minster of the Interior reminded the public of the following restrictions:

  • All parts of the country are subject to a curfew between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
  • Air, land, and sea borders remain closed except for repatriation and the transport of food, petroleum, gas, and freight.
  • Long-distance travel between cities is prohibited in the absence of a special authorization from the Gabonese government.
  • Places of worship, performance halls, museums, game rooms, motels, bars, and nightclubs will remain closed until further notice.
  • International and national conferences, sporting events, political demonstrations, cultural, religious, and sporting events are prohibited.
  • All persons must wear masks in public.

São Tomé and Príncipe

On May 31, the Sao Tomean government announced that the State of Emergency has been extended until June 15.  The Council of Ministers has put into place the following modified confinement measures:

1)  A mandatory curfew will remain in effect from 6:30 pm to 5:00 am.  Exemptions exist for necessary workers including those in the fields of health, defense, law enforcement, the media, members of the government, essential officials of diplomatic missions, and justified emergency cases.

2)  Pharmacies, gas stations, and bakeries may operate from 6 am to 5:00 pm.  Other commercial entities, such as service companies, construction companies, commercial banks, and take away restaurants, may operate between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm.  The use of masks is mandatory.  Employees and customers must respect social distancing and alcohol gel or a sink must be available for handwashing.

3) Government offices will be open from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm.  The use of masks is mandatory.  Employees and those seeking services must respect social distancing and alcohol gel or a sink must be available for handwashing.

4) Markets will be open from 5:00 am to 3:00 pm, with alternating closures on Sundays. The use of masks by vendors and customers is mandatory.  Employees and customers must respect social distancing and a sink must be available at the market entrance.

5) Masks are mandatory on public roads and in all places of public service.

6) Taxis may operate at 50% of their official capacity.  Drivers and all passengers must wear masks.  Motorcycle taxi service drivers and passengers must wear masks.  Masks are also required for drivers and passengers in private and service vehicles unless the driver is sole occupant of the vehicle.

7) Groups of more than four people are prohibited from gathering on public roads.

8) Funeral attendance is limited to 20 people.  Funerals for victims of COVID-19 will be overseen by the local government.

These restrictions are in addition to previously announced measures, including the closing of bars and clubs, the suspension of public and private school classes, bans on religious gatherings and meetings of more than 10 people, and the suspension of international and domestic flights except for special humanitarian flights.

Departure Flights

On March 20, the Gabonese government announced the suspension of all domestic and international passenger flights. The only exceptions to this prohibition are emergency and repatriation flights specifically approved by the Gabonese government.  If international passenger flights from Gabon do not resume within the next few weeks, the U.S. Embassy in Libreville may organize a special flight in June for U.S. citizens interested in returning to the United States. That flight, if scheduled, will likely be the last flight the Embassy will organize until commercial flights resume.

If you are a U.S. citizen who wishes to return to the United States before commercial air travel in Gabon resumes, please send the following information to LibrevilleACS@state.gov as soon as possible:

  • Your full name as spelled in your passport
  • Nationality
  • Current phone number and WhatsApp number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Passport number, date of issuance, date of expiration. If not a U.S. passport, please note country of issuance.
  • Current location (city, country, hotel name if not in residence)
  • Health condition and special considerations
  • Number of U.S. citizens in your party. Please note any non-U.S. citizen immediate family members seeking to travel with you.
  • Gabonese visa status (i.e. valid until MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Employer or affiliation within Gabon
  • Scanned copy of the bio page of your passport and visa or carte de sojourn

Providing the above information does not obligate you to purchase a ticket, but if the Embassy does not have your information well in advance of a flight, local regulations may prevent you from departing. If a flight is scheduled, a limited number of tickets will be available. Priority will be given to official U.S. government personnel and their dependents, U.S. citizens at higher risk from COVID-19, U.S. citizen minors (accompanied by one parent or guardian), and adult U.S. citizens in need of medical assistance who do not fall into a higher priority group, in that order. After these priority boarding groups are accommodated, seats may be offered to other U.S. citizens, dependents of U.S. citizens, U.S. Legal Permanent Residents, and other eligible persons, in that order. All passengers must be authorized by the Gabonese government to depart and must have appropriate travel documents to enter the United States.

The Embassy encourages all U.S. citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that they will receive alerts and messages from the Embassy.

Other Restrictions

The governments of Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe have implemented a number of restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.  These restrictions are summarized below.

Embassy Operations

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

Effective March 16, U.S. Embassy Libreville has suspended routine consular services.  For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information.

Global Health Advisory

The Department of State has issued a Level 4 Global Health Advisory and advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.

Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite time frame.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

Gabon COVID-19 Information

Country-Specific Information:

  • As of May 30, the Gabonese government has confirmed 2,655 cases of COVID-19 in Gabon.
  • Although the Gabonese government lifted the State of Emergency that was put in place on April 10, previously announced confinement measures remain in place.
  • On April 27, the Gabonese government announced that previously implemented confinement measures would continue with some modifications. The modified confinement measures are as follows:
    • All parts of the country will be subject to a curfew between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
    • Travel between Libreville and the interior is prohibited in the absence of special authorization from the Gabonese government.
    • Travel within greater Libreville is now permitted between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.
    • Companies should continue to encourage telework for employees but may gradually return to business and administrative activities. Work hours must be limited to 7:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Health control devices such as thermoflash devices, hand sanitizer, and masks must be placed at company and administrative office entrances.
    • Small businesses such as hair salons, garages, tire repair ships, and artisan workshops may begin to reopen subject to social distancing measures such as reductions in the numbers of staff and clients, the presence of disinfectants, and the wearing of masks.
    • Other commercial enterprises such as hardware stores, building and construction entities, and retailers of office supplies, furniture, and appliances, will gradually reopen with social distancing measures in place.
    • All persons must wear masks in public. Those who fail to wear a mask may be fined.
    • Law enforcement and military officials will monitor compliance with the confinement measures.
    • Bars, restaurants, places of worship, and spaces for leisure activities will remain closed until further notice.
  • On March 29, the Gabonese government announced that schools will remain closed until further notice.
  • On March 20 and 21, the Gabonese government announced a number of new measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
    • A countrywide curfew.
    • A ban on all national and international passenger flights (with exceptions for unforeseen events, medical evacuations, and transportation of freight).
    • Closure of all land, sea, and air borders, except for freight shipments.
    • A ban on all passenger trains except for freight trains and trains carrying petroleum products may continue to operate.
    • A ban on all sea, river, and lagoon transport, except for freight.
    • Gatherings of a religious, political, or union-related nature are prohibited.  Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
    • Closure of preschools, schools, and universities until March 30.
    • Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants (with the exception of those offering home delivery) are closed.
    • Markets will be open only for the purpose of selling food.  Motels, clothing stores, jewelry shops, tailors, and cafeterias are closed.  Hair salons may only receive one customer at a time.
    • The following establishments will remain open, but customers must maintain a distance of at least one meter between one another:  supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, gas stations, garages, and tire repair shops.
    • There is a limit of three persons in private vehicles.  For public transport, there is a maximum of nine passengers in 18-seat taxi buses, three passengers in taxis, and 10 passengers in buses with 30 seats.  Public transport drivers must wear gloves and masks and must be in possession of disinfectant products.  Passengers must disinfect their hands upon entering the vehicle.
    • The government has limited non-essential movements within the cities and between the cities and the interior of the country.
  • The above measures are in addition to previously announced measures including:   the cancellation of court proceedings, a prohibition on visits to prisons; a  prohibition on visits to hospitals without express permission from hospital personnel; suspension of tourist visas for persons from the European Union, China, South Korea, and the United States; the suspension of sporting events and cultural events; implementation of mandatory quarantines; and the suspension of non-essential travel by government officials.
  • Gabon’s Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF) has been certified by the World Health Organization as a laboratory capable of testing for COVID-19.
  • The Gabonese government has created a telephone hotline (1410) to address questions about COVID-19.  Members of the public have been advised to call the hotline if they have a fever or difficulty breathing.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • As of March 21, all land, sea, and air borders are closed, with the exception of freight shipments, which are still permitted.

Quarantine Information:

  • Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in home confinement. If conditions for home confinement are not met, they will be confined in another structure reserved for that purpose.  Hospitals will be reserved for those with more serious cases.

Local Resources:

Other links:

São Tomé and Príncipe COVID-19 Information

Country-Specific Information:

  • As of May 30, São Tomé and Príncipe has confirmed 479 cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
  • On May 31, the government of São Tomé and Príncipe announced that the State of Emergency has been extended until June 15.
  • On May 4, the government of São Tomé and Príncipe announced a mandatory general confinement starting on May 6 and continuing until May 17. During the period of confinement, residents may leave their homes only to procure essential goods such as food and water or to obtain emergency medical services.  Residents who violate the confinement order may be subject to criminal charges. Employees who provide essential services may circulate during the period of confinement but must carry documentation evidencing their status as essential workers.  Stores selling essential goods will be open from 8:00 am at 3:00 pm.  Government entities providing essential services will be open from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm, with the exception of health, public safety, and government communication services which may operate outside of these hours.
  • On April 6, the São Toméan government announced new restrictions that take effect at midnight on April 8. Those measures include the suspension of all but emergency boat and air traffic between the smaller island of Príncipe and the capital of São Tomé, the reduction of government hours of operation and employees to essential staffing, a limitation on the hours markets can operate, and a ban on sidewalk sales. Restaurants, bars, and cafés are closed except for deliveries. Vehicles must reduce number of passengers by half, and public gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. Other measures include social distancing and a requirement that workers dealing with the public to wear masks.
  • On March 17, the São Toméan government declared a state of public emergency and announced a number of new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. On March 31, the government extended the state of public emergency by an additional 15 days.  The measures implemented include the following:
    • Non-resident foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the country.
    • São Toméan nationals and foreign residents who reenter the country will be subject to a mandatory home quarantine that will be enforced by health agents and law enforcement officials.
    • All public and private schools in the country are closed.
    • All public gatherings of a cultural, recreational, or religious nature are prohibited.
    • Technical and governmental missions are authorized to enter the country only at the invitation of the São Toméan government and must provide proof that they have been tested for the virus.
    • Charter flights are prohibited from landing at the country’s airports.
    • Cruise ships are prohibited from docking at the country’s ports.
    • Crew and passengers of recreational and fishing vessels are prohibited from disembarking in the country.
    • The issuance of diplomatic and special service passports is suspended except as authorized by the Prime Minister and Head of Government.
    • In the absence of commercial flights, hospital supplies and consumables will be secured on an emergency basis via flights chartered for that
    • Medical facilities in São Tomé and Príncipe are extremely limited.
    • Although São Tomé and Príncipe has ordered COVID-19 test kits, it does not have a laboratory that is able to test for the virus.  Test results must be sent to another country for analysis.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Non-resident foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the country as of March 20.

Quarantine Information:

  • On April 22, the government announced the creation of medical teams for the exclusive monitoring of infected patients. Such patients will be isolated from their homes in areas designated for that purpose.
  • São Toméan nationals and residents who return to the country will be subject to a mandatory quarantine.

Local Resources:

Other links: