Cabo Verde: Covid-19 tests required before inter-island travel – Official

The president of Cabo Verde’s Civil Protection, Renaldo Rodrigues, on Wednesday urged people to seek the right services directly if they want to return to the islands of origin because of the effects of Covid-19.

In a statement to Lusa, Renaldo Rodrigues said anyone who wants to return to the islands of origin must first seek the services of the Municipal Civil Protection and then the health department of the area of residence, to test for the new coronavirus.  

He said that after receiving the result of the test, the National Civil Protection Service sends the process for government validation, so people can prepare for the trip.

The explanations were given at a time when dozens of people want to return to their islands of origin, warning that they are facing difficulties on the islands of residence, especially Sal and Boa Vista, the two most popular islands with tourist in the country, whose activity has been stopped for over three months.

“Not having followed these channels, the process becomes more time consuming,” said Renaldo Rodrigues, who also recalled the cabinet resolution, which approved the strategy of gradual lifting of restrictive measures and social distancing.

In the case of Santiago, with the highest number of cases of the disease and in a state of calamity, maritime connections for passengers to and from the island are prohibited.

Rodrigues aid that the Cape Verdean authorities are sensitive to all these issues, but noted that the resolution does not answer everything since it refers only to people stranded on an island and not to those who live and work on an island other than their own and who are experiencing difficulties.

In the case of Boa Vista, with no new cases for more than a month, he said that the level of restriction has lowered, unlike Praia, the focus of the virus, which “requires some care”, although some people have left after testing.

“We cannot allow people to leave without certain criteria. We would be jeopardising all the work that one island or another has been doing to avoid local transmission,” he explained, noting that hundreds of people have already left one island for another.

Rodrigues said he “understands perfectly” that people are “desperate”, but said the authorities are available to support whatever is necessary.

In the case of Boa Vista, the mayor, José Luís Santos, told Lusa that the decision to travel is not the government’s, and asked people for “a lot of patience”, but recognised that there were many people experiencing difficulties on the island.

The mayor said the city hall has been supporting people since March, with basic food baskets, as well as providing water and ensuring support for students, musicians, farmers, cattle breeders, fishermen, among others.

According to data updated by health authorities, Cabo Verde has recorded 466 cases of Covid-19 since 19 March on the islands of Santiago (402), Boa Vista (56), São Vicente (04) and Sal (04).

There have been five deaths, two patients were transferred and 237 are considered cured of the disease, resulting in the country currently having 222 patients hospitalised in institutional isolation.

Worldwide, according to an assessment by the AFP news agency, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused more than 377,000 deaths and infected more than 6.3 million people in 196 countries and territories.