Senegal threatens to close borders over virus surge

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Senegalese President Macky Sall has threatened to close borders and restrict internal travel as Covid-19 cases surge across the West African country.

In a televised address on Friday, Sall urged people to limit gatherings and travel, wear masks and adhere to social distancing to curb the spread.

But he added that he would take “all necessary measures” should cases continue to rise, including closing the borders and restricting internal travel.

The announcement comes as Senegal hit new daily records for Covid-19 infections this week, shortly before the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha Muslim festival when families often travel long distances to gather.

On Saturday, the health ministry in the nation of 16 million people said it had recorded 1,366 new cases — with a positivity rate of 36 percent.

The figure is almost double the daily record of 733 infections that Senegal recorded on Wednesday.

Sall warned of the dangers of the virulent Delta strain of Covid-19 in particular.

“We have to be conscious that this Delta variant has an unprecedented speed of contamination,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic over 50,000 cases have been counted in Senegal with over 1,200 deaths.

But there is currently a shortage of jabs in the country, where over 605,000 people have been vaccinated so far.

The health ministry has announced the arrival of some 500,000 vaccine doses before the end of the month, hoping to end the current shortage.

President Macky Sall has so far avoided imposing strict measures to curb the virus, relying instead on personal responsibility.

A curfew and limits on gatherings were lifted after riots broke out in March.

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