Sao Tome: Government suspends links with Principe, among other Covid-19 measures

The Government of Sao Tome has announced the suspension of air and sea connections with the Autonomous Region of Principe and visits to sick people, homes for the elderly and prisoners, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The measures, approved at an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, come hours after the first four positive cases of Covid-19 infection in the country were announced.

The package of initiatives was announced to journalists by the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Wando Castro, and also includes the closure of all restaurants, bars, cafés, pastry shops and street caravans, with the exception of establishments that have home delivery.

The Government has also decided to set the civil service timetable, from 07:30 to 13:00, and has halved the number of taxis.

The prohibition of meetings, gatherings and meetings with more than 10 people are also part of the measures.

In the communiqué, the San Tomean government promises to “speed up contacts with the World Health Organization (WHO) for the urgent dispatch of the promised Covid-19 screening laboratory and field hospital”.

The measures include the activation of a complementary isolation centre in the country’s main hospital, as well as the reinforcement of the ‘stock’ of medicines, consumables and reagents to combat the new coronavirus and other diseases.

The executive also guarantees that it will speed up the process of purchasing ventilators and other materials needed to combat the disease.

Recognizing the “complicated moment” that the country is going through, the Government appeals for the calm and serenity of the whole population and, “above all, the union and solidarity of the San Tomeans”, considering that all will be “few to face the great battle” against the new coronavirus.

Sao Tome and Principe has detected four positive cases of infection by the new coronavirus, the first registered in this country, announced the Prime Minister, Jorge Bom Jesus, on Monday.

Sao Tome and Principe was, until now, the only Portuguese-speaking country and one of the four African states without cases of Covid-19.