Senegal declares state of emergency to curb COVID-19 spread

Senegalese President Macky Sall. PHOTO/AP
Senegalese President Macky Sall.PHOTO/AFP

Senegalese President Macky Sall on Monday declared a state of emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19 in his country, where a total of 79 cases have been reported.

“As of midnight tonight, I declare a state of emergency across the national territory,” the president said in his speech to the nation, adding that the state of emergency across national territory, together with a curfew, is to raise the level of response to the spread of COVID- 19.

“The situation is critical. The speed of progression of the disease requires us to raise the level of the response,” he said, stressing that his government, administrative authorities and public services will take all necessary measures to implement the state of emergency without delay.

He also ordered the defense and security forces to be ready for the immediate and strict execution of the measures imposed on the national territory.

In accordance with the law on the state of emergency, the Senegalese president said these measures will in particular give the competent administrative authorities the power to “regulate or prohibit the movement of people, vehicles or goods in certain places and at certain times.”

In addition to the curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day, Sall also banned all gatherings in public spaces, prohibited public or private meetings of any kind, and ordered temporary closure of public places and meeting places.

“These measures, which are not exhaustive, could evolve depending on the circumstances,” he added.

Since midnight Friday, Senegal has suspended all international passenger flights till April 17.

From Monday midnight, Senegal and The Gambia will close their borders for 21 days in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Since Saturday, Senegal and Mauritania have closed their borders till further notice.

Of the 79 COVID-19 cases in Senegal, 38 are imported; eight patients have been declared cured by local health authorities.