Senegal orders cabinet to stay in country over virus risks

Senegal’s president Macky Sall ordered his cabinet ministers not to leave the country in a measure to control risks from coronavirus, the presidency said on Thursday.

Senegal has registered four cases of COVID-19 since the virus first emerged in China in December and has since infected more than 90 000 people and killed over 3 000 worldwide.

Sall has “decided to reduce to a strict minimum public officials travel overseas” and has asked ministers not to undertake missions outside the country, the presidential communique said.

The Senegalese leader has also decided to cancel all official government events outside of Dakar, such as a planned cabinet meeting, and also recommended suspending gatherings such as a women’s day celebration on Sunday.

The presidency did not mention religious festivals that will be celebrated in the coming weeks across the country.

The government has approved just over 2 million euros ($2.2 million to help combat the spread of the virus.

Of the four cases detected in Senegal, three are French nationals who travelled to the country and the fourth is a British woman who arrived from London.

In sub-Saharan Africa, only Nigeria has registered another case, an Italian national who arrived in Lagos from Milan.

Senegal orders cabinet to stay in country over virus risks