Senegal lifts COVID-19 state of emergency to protect economy

FILE PHOTO: Senegal’s President Macky Sall speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegalese President Macky Sall on Monday said he had decided to lift a state of emergency over COVID-19 to support the struggling economy, which he warned could grow less than 1.1% this year due to fallout from the epidemic.

As recently as January, growth was forecast at 6.8% in 2020, but business activity plummeted after borders closed and a curfew and social distancing rules were imposed to curb the virus, which has infected over 6,600 and killed 108.

“This is the challenge we must now face: to fight to preserve our lives and our health, and to resume all our productive activities to get our economy back on track,” Sall said in a speech to the nation.

The state of emergency and a night-time curfew will be lifted as of Tuesday 2300 local time, and air borders will open from July 15 under certain conditions, he said.

The authorities have already loosened the curfew and allowed inter-regional travel in response to street protests against the measures earlier in June.

Sall said the government was working on an economic support programme to kickstart recovery.

Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Alesandra Prentice; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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