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West African Ministers Plot Reopening Of Region’s Borders

A security guard pours hand sanitising gel into a shopper’s hands as he enters the Tejuoso shopping complex at the Yaba market, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Lagos, Nigeria March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

West African governments have proposed a gradual re-opening the region’s borders in July as the world continues to seek ways of emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.

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In the proposal, ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) want the region to allow travel between their countries to resume in the first half of July and allow travel from other countries with low or controlled COVID-19 levels by the end of July.

The West African region has reported more than 50,000 COVID-19 infections and over 900 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a bid to curb further spread of the disease, governments in the region earlier this year imposed travel restrictions alongside other measures.

The ECOWAS ministers want the opening up of domestic air and land transport to be implemented this month. Many governments in the region have already begun to do so.

A second phase of reopening will involve the reopening of land and maritime borders within the region by July 15.

A third phase will allow the resumption of air and land travel to and from “countries with low and controlled levels of COVID-19 contamination rates.” This should happen by July 31 depending on the situation at the time.

The recommendations will be presented to ECOWAS heads of state at a forthcoming summit.

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Written by PH

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