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#COVID19: Gabon Govt Ignores Constitutional Court Order, Re-imposes Strict Coronavirus Measures

The government of Gabon, on the same day the annulment of the Prime Ministerial Order was announced, issued a new order reinstituting the same measures.

The Gabonese Constitutional Court on Friday, Dec. 24, issued Decision Number 212/PCC annulling Prime Ministerial Order Number 0559/PM which instituted new draconian measures against the coronavirus, effective from Dec. 15.

But the government of Gabon on the same day the annulment of the Prime Ministerial Order was announced, issued a new order reinstituting the same measures cancelled by the Constitutional Court.

Declaring that it had taken note of the Constitutional Court decision, the Gabonese government issued a new Arrete Number 0685 fixing new measures against the spread of the COVID-19.

The government, through the Communication Adviser in the Ministry of Interior, said it was re-imposing the anti-COVID-19 measures in conformity with the dispositions of Article 5 of Law Number 003/2020 of May 11, 2020 fixing the preventive measures to fight against health catastrophes in which the legislator defines the modalities of intervention by public authorities in the management of catastrophes. 

According to the new order, vaccinated passengers entering the country are exempt from observing the quarantine period and the coronavirus test is obligatory on arrival for all passengers in the country. 

For non-vaccinated passengers entering Gabonese national territory, they must be tested on arrival and subjected to quarantine for five days in an approved hotel.

The new order increases the number of weekly international flights from two to five per airline company and guarantees free movement of vaccinated persons within the country. Unvaccinated individuals must present a negative PCR test result valid for 14 days and must obtain special authorization from the Ministry of Interior for all journeys.

The new order re-imposes the end of free PCR tests which will henceforth cost 20,000 FCFA (about 40 US dollars) and 50,000 FCFA (about 100 US dollars) for VIP tests.

The tests would be valid for 14 days within the national territory and three days for international travellers.

Persons desirous of accessing public places, notably administrative offices, enterprises, restaurants, and snack bars must present valid negative PCR test results and vaccinated persons must present vaccination cards or attestations. 

Vaccinated persons are authorised to travel freely during curfew hours and all companies which workers have been vaccinated are exempted from curfew measures and can thus access restaurants, snack bars etc.

In effect, the government has re-imposed the COVID-19 restrictive measures which forced the civil society organisation, COPIC CITOYEN, to take the government to the Constitutional Court and pray the court to order the government to rescind the measures, a thing the Constitutional Court did.

The COPIL CITOYEN had based their prayer on “the wish to ensure the relaunching of the national economy and to the progressive return to normal life” and had saluted the Constitutional Court when it acceded to its demand.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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