Madagascar has lifted a curfew imposed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
President Andry Rajoelina also announced that sporting activities would be allowed but with an audience of not more than 200 people.
Passengers boarding domestic flights will be required to take a coronavirus test 48 hours before departure and will only be allowed to board if the test is negative.
Only one airport was cleared for international flights beginning this month with strict guidelines in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Madagascar recorded a spike in virus cases in July forcing the government to reintroduce a lockdown in the capital, Antananarivo.
But the restrictions were relaxed on Monday following a fall in the rate of new infections in recent weeks.
Curfew restrictions had initially been introduced nationwide under the country’s state of health emergency in March before being partially eased in June, with the 22:00 to 04:00 curfew remaining in place in designated virus hotspots.
The lifting of the curfew means that targeted restrictions have been eased in areas with higher COVID-19 transmission rates, including the Analamanga, Alaotra Mangoro, Diana, Sava, and Vakinankaratra regions.
Schools, entertainment venues, and sports facilities have also been authorized to resume normal operations with appropriate hygiene and distancing measures in place.
However, the use of face masks remains compulsory in public places.
Despite the easing of restrictions, Madagascar’s state of health emergency has been extended by a further 15 days until October 18.
As of Tuesday, October 6, health authorities have reported 16,570 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Madagascar, with 233 associated deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
President Rajoelina had promoted a herbal tonic that he said cured Covid-19 but the World Health Organization has maintained that there is no cure for the disease.
The tonic is now being manufactured in tablets and continues to be distributed in the country.