Senegalese President, Macky Sall and Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara on Monday declared a nationwide “state of emergency”, the latest step to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the West African country.
“In accordance with article 69 of the Constitution and Law 69-29 of 29 April 1969, as of midnight tonight, I am declaring a state of emergency throughout the national territory. The Government, the administrative authorities and all the State services concerned will take all the necessary steps to implement the decree on the state of emergency without delay,” Sall said.
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.
Last week, Senegal suspended international commercial flights, while Ivory Coast shuttered nightclubs and cinemas. However, in television addresses, both countries’ presidents said those measures had proved inadequate.
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.
Since midnight Friday, Senegal 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.
Coronavirus cases were slow to arrive in Africa, but the virus is spreading quickly, having infected more than 1,700 people across 45 countries and challenging already strained and under-funded health systems.