Senegalese President Macky Sall on Friday threatened to close the borders and re-impose a state of emergency after the country reported a new record number of daily COVID-19 cases for the third time in a week, reported KFGO News.
The Senegalese health ministry reported 738 new cases on Friday, more than the previous records of 733 on Wednesday and 529 on Sunday.
“I would like to say very clearly that if the numbers continue to rise, I will take all necessary measures including if it means returning to a state of emergency or closing the borders or banning movements,” Sall said in a televised address.
There have been 49,008 infections and 1,209 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Senegal since the pandemic began. While the country has registered relatively few coronavirus cases and deaths so far, it does not have enough doses to vaccinate widely as it experiences a third wave of the virus.
On Thursday, the Senegalese health authorities appealed to the people to avoid travel during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. Eid al-Adha, also known as Tabaski in Senegal, is celebrated on July 21 and sees thousands of people come together for large family gatherings.
Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr urged the people to wear masks, avoid mass gatherings, and get them vaccinated against the coronavirus. The minister also recommended working from home whenever possible and reducing staff elsewhere.
According to Souleymane Mboup, the Director of the Institute for Health Research, Epidemiological Surveillance, and Training, about 30% of the new infections in Senegal are linked to the highly contagious delta variant.
The country has a limited supply of vaccines and is waiting for Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to arrive. The Senegalese government is expecting to receive some 500,000 vaccine doses before the end of the month.
Only about 600,000 people of the country’s population of more than 16 million have been vaccinated so far.