The Gambia reopens borders after COVID-19 closure

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BANJUL, GAMBIA - APRIL 04: An area is partly crowded as many streets remain empty due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Banjul, Gambia on April 04, 2020. (Photo by Yusupha Sama/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
BANJUL, GAMBIA – APRIL 04: An area is partly crowded as many streets remain empty due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Banjul, Gambia on April 04, 2020. (Photo by Yusupha Sama/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Gambia has reopened its land, air and sea borders, President Adama Barrow’s office announced on Friday after the tiny West African nation shut them in March to curb coronavirus.

In a statement, Barrow’s office said that it had opened the borders “with immediate effect”, after consulting top health officials.

A snake-shaped sliver of land wedged into Senegal, The Gambia has recorded 3,644 coronavirus cases to date, with 118 fatalities.

The former British colony depends heavily on tourism, and the World Bank has warned that virus-related restrictions could cause a severe economic contraction in the poor country.

On Friday, Barrow’s office said that although the borders were open, the Gambia’s international airport in the capital Banjul will not be fully operational until October 31 because of “ongoing reconstruction”.

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