The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Guinea, except for those involved in the direct response to the Ebola outbreak, due to the narrow commercial options for flights and the impact of the outbreak on medical facilities.
An outbreak of Ebola virus has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern.’ Air France has suspended flights to Sierra Leone and some other airlines have also suspended flights to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
General medical facilities throughout Guinea are currently under particular strain due to the Ebola outbreak, and are unable to provide the same standard of healthcare as in the UK. Dedicated healthcare facilities for Ebola can also be under pressure. Many medical facilities expect to be paid up-front.
A number of people involved in Ebola awareness-raising activities were reported killed in or around Womei, near Nzerekore in the Forest region of Guinea in September.
If you are a British national you should stay in contact with your employer or host organisation about the support that they can provide to you while you are in the country, or should you wish to leave. If you travel to Guinea to help in the relief effort, you should make sure that you are contracted to a reputable organisation that is able to provide the support and risk assessments required. You should be aware that the narrow range of commercial flight options and restrictions on travel in the region may make it difficult to leave, particularly at short notice, and you should consider your own plans in this context.
Enhanced screening measures have been introduced for departing passengers at Conakry airport. Delays may be experienced at Guinea’s land border crossingsdue to enhanced screening measures. There are reports that Guinea Bissau has closed its land borders with Guinea. For further details about this outbreak of Ebola, see the World Health Organization website, and this map showing the affected areas.
Although the chances of being infected remain low, there are measures you can take to prevent catching Ebola. You should follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre to:
- avoid contact with symptomatic patients and their bodily fluids
- avoid contact with corpses and/or bodily fluids from deceased patients.
- avoid close contact with live or dead wild animals
- avoid consumption of “bush meat”
- practice safe sex
- follow strict hand washing routines
If you’re travelling to the UK within 21 days of a visit to Guinea or any other Ebola-affected country, you should make yourself known to UK Passport Control to be screened. For further details about the screening process, see the Public Health England website.
Anybody concerned that they might have been exposed to, or showing symptoms of Ebola should seek immediate medical advice. If you are in the UK call NHS on 111.
Riots and spontaneous demonstrations are possible. Maintain extreme vigilance, monitor local media and avoid large gatherings. See Safety & security, Crime and Political Situation.
There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism
Over 20 people were reported killed following a stampede at a beach concert in Conakry in July (see Safety and Security).
Serious ethnic violence broke out in July 2013 in the ‘Guinea Forestiere’ region in the far south east of Guinea. Nearly 100 people were reported to have been killed. See Crime and Political situation.
Essential supplies, such as fuel, may run low from time to time. See Road Travel.
Theft at gunpoint is increasingly common, particularly at night. The gold and diamond trade attracts criminal gangs. See Crime.
Exchanging foreign currency on the street or using unofficial money changers is illegal and can result in military detention. See Money
Cholera and malaria are present in Guinea. See Health.
Due to the small size of the British Embassy in Conakry, only limited emergency consular assistance can be provided.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.