On Saturday, April 4, Senegalese President Macky Sall announced a 30-day extension for a state of emergency earlier declared on Monday, March 23, to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The declaration gives authorities the power to regulate the movement of goods, people, and gatherings, as well as close public places and introduce entry bans. A nationwide curfew between 20:00 and 06:00 (local time) introduced on March 23 will continue to remain in place. Public gatherings, collective prayers, and inter-city traffic have also been suspended.
As a precautionary measure, Senegal's borders with Gambia remain closed as of Tuesday, March 24, for a period of 21 days. All flights to and from airports in Senegal continue to be suspended from Friday, March 20, through Friday, April 17. Domestic flights between Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) and Ziguinchor Airport (ZIG), cargo flights, medical evacuations, and specially authorized flights are exempt from the restriction.
As of Sunday, April 5, there are at least 222 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, including two fatalities and 82 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.