Senegal’s government on Tuesday reopened the border with Guinea, which was closed after an outbreak of Ebola fever that claimed scores of lives in the neighbouring country.
“In view of the positive progress of this epidemic, the government of Senegal has decided to open anew” its borders from 8am (08:00 GMT) on Tuesday, said Interior Minister Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo.
“This reopening takes account of security requirements, but also of the longstanding ties that the Senegalese and Guinean peoples maintain, particularly in social and economic terms,” Diallo added.
The border was closed on March 30 to guarantee the safety of people in Senegal, the minister said.
He expressed “all solidarity” with Guinea, which is at the epicentre of west Africa’s first outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever, which has no cure.
No Ebola cases were reported in Senegal, but the highly contagious disease spread dangerously from Guinea’s southern forests to the capital city of Conakry.
Guinea has 127 confirmed Ebola cases, including 81 deaths, according to the latest government figures.
Ebola is one of a handful of similar fevers that cause vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain and in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable internal bleeding. It can be transmitted by blood and other bodily fluids, as well as the handling of contaminated corpses or infected animals, known to be vectors of the disease.
The latest outbreak, which began in January, also emerged in neighbouring Liberia.
The World Health Organisation has described the region’s first Ebola outbreak as one of the most challenging since the virus was first identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. – AFP