As of Oct. 15, authorities in Senegal are maintaining several of the country's restrictions and measures introduced as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Land and sea borders remain closed to international travel. However, freight transport via land and sea routes is likely to continue but will be subject to increased screening. International air travel resumed July 15, but authorities have stated that travelers from countries with entry restrictions in place for Senegalese nationals will be denied entry. Exemptions include travelers from West African Economic and Monetary Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) states, foreign travelers with a residence permit, and travelers on essential business.
Travelers who are allowed into Senegal must present a negative test certificate taken up to seven days before arrival. Travelers transiting Senegal must also provide a certificate for transits longer than 24 hours. Travelers without this documentation will be screened at the port of entry and will be tested at their expense if deemed necessary. Travelers who test positive will likely be quarantined at a government facility. Travelers must also complete a passenger location form. From Nov. 1, travelers will not be allowed to board flights to Senegal as testing on arrival will no longer be available.
Domestic travel measures, including restrictions on public transport, inter-regional travel, and domestic flights, were eased earlier in June. Domestic maritime travel resumed Sept. 22. Authorities also lifted a state of emergency June 30; however, the use of facemasks in public places remains compulsory, and markets must be closed for one day a week for cleaning. A ban on gatherings at beaches, sport venues, and other public spaces remains in place. There is also a ban on gatherings such as marriages, baptisms, and funeral ceremonies. All demonstrations have also been restricted. Violations of these measures are punishable by law.
Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government follow increasing pressure from many aspects of Senegalese society for a return to normalcy despite the continued spread of the disease. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.