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21 May 2020 | 05:24 AM UTC

Senegal: Government suspends special travel authorizations on May 20 /update 8

Senegal News Alert

Senegalese authorities suspend the issuing of special travel authorizations on May 20; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/20/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/3/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Dakar). COUNTRY/REGION Senegal

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The Senegalese Ministry of Interior announced that the issuance of special permits to travel within the country has been suspended on Wednesday, May 20, as of 21:00 (local time) until further notice due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The movement of people and goods between departments is now prohibited, except in the Dakar region. Exceptions will also be made for the transport of bodies or for health-related emergencies.

On Monday, May 11, President Macky Sall announced the reopening of mosques and churches, as well as the easing of other COVID-related restrictions. The hours for an ongoing nationwide curfew have been relaxed to 21:00 to 05:00, instead of 22:00 to 06:00, and office hours have been adjusted to 08:00 to 16:00. Markets and businesses that are subject to specific opening days are allowed to operate for six days a week and must close for one day to clean the premises. Weekly markets (loumas) may reopen but within the limits permitted by local authorities. The government added that there is a possibility for the bodies of Senegalese citizens who died from COVID-19 abroad to be repatriated.

A state of emergency is in effect through Tuesday, June 2. 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. Public gatherings and inter-city travel have been suspended. The use of face masks is mandatory in public places.

As of early May, the country's borders remain closed although cargo transportation is allowed. All international flights to and from airports in Senegal continue to be suspended. 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 May 21, authorities have confirmed 2714 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 30 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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.


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