Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has announced the lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Friday, except in the economic capital, Abidjan which has the vast majority of the country’s cases.
The West African nation acted swiftly in enacting restrictions against the pandemic more than a month and a half ago, and it has so far only recorded 20 death.
“No positive case has been detected in the interior of the country since April 21,” Ouattara said on public television Thursday according to an AFP report.
In these interior areas almost all measures will be lifted from Friday, with curfews ended and schools, restaurants, bars and concert venues opened, he said.
However the coastal city of Abidjan, which has a population of five million, will remain isolated from the rest of the country, with measures staying in place there until at least May 15.
Ouattara said the city has registered 98 percent of the country’s 1,571 infections.
But Abidjan’s curfew will be shortened from 9am-5am to 11pm-4am during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The country’s borders will remain closed until further notice.
Ouattara praised the country’s “satisfactory results” so far in the fight against the virus, but warned that “we have not yet won the battle”.
“We must remain mobilised and show discipline and good citizenship,” he said, adding that measures could be reimposed if needed.
The announcement came just hours after the World Health Organisation warned that up to 190,000 people in Africa could die if containment measures fail.
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