Senegal lifts COVID-19 state of emergency to protect economy

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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.

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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.

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