Senegal president Macky Sall announced Monday that the country’s state of emergency and curfew, imposed as a result of the coronavirus, would be lifted on Tuesday and international flights would resume from this month.
In a televised speech, Sall pointed to the economic fallout of the pandemic, saying that growth in the impoverished country would slow “from to 6.8 percent to 1.1 percent or even less”.
Senegal could even see a recession, he suggested, saying that “all our productive activity must be resumed in order to get our economy going again.
“Just as we cannot let the virus take our lives and our health, we cannot let it take our economic health and life,” Sall added.
The president was speaking from his residence where, although he has tested negative for the coronavirus, he has spent the past week in quarantine after coming into contact with an infected person.
“Given this double necessity, I have decided to lift the state of emergency and the curfew” starting from 2300 GMT on Tuesday, he said.
Senegal would reopen its borders to international air travel from July 15, but its land and sea borders would remain closed.
Face masks will remain mandatory in public and markets will be closed for one day per week for cleaning.
The restrictions were imposed when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country on March 2, but some measures have already been eased in recent weeks.
Senegal has officially declared 6,698 cases of coronavirus so far and 108 deaths, but the disease appears to be spreading and recent media reports have suggested that medical centres are reaching their capacity limits.