Two days of riots in Senegal have influenced the government to ease COVID-19 state of emergency measures.
Rabat – Senegal is reeling under the ongoing restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. After nearly three months of living under a dawn-to-dusk curfew and bans on regional travel, demonstrations of unrest led the government to announce on Thursday it will ease lockdown restrictions.
Two days of riots in Dakar and Touba were marked by crowds of people torching security force vehicles, looting office buildings, and throwing rocks.
Officials say that the southern Kaolack region, as well as cities near the Gambian border, have also seen unrest as tensions mount over the long-lasting state of emergency.
Security forces arrested more than 70 people on June 3 as protesters broke the nationwide curfew.
Fears that the economic impact may be too heavy of a burden to bear have led to the government easing restrictions.
“From today, transport restrictions across the country are being lifted, with the curfew being maintained from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.,” Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye said in a state television announcement on Thursday.
Although the number of COVID-19 cases in Senegal continues to grow, the country has maintained relatively low figures. Nearing 4,000 confirmed current cases, the country has seen 45 fatalities. Many have praised Senegal’s response and its ability to maintain a low death toll, though some question the possibility of case underreporting.
Like most countries around the world, the global pandemic has rattled Senegal’s economy and millions of people risk losing their livelihoods as authorities enforce measures to protect citizens’ health.
With markets closed and borders shut, produce has been rotting and a food crisis looms as many struggle to make ends meet.