BANJUL, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Gambia's government announced on Saturday night it will close borders with Senegal and suspend all flights from Monday in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"President Adama Barrow has approved the closure of the border between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal, effective midnight, on Monday,"said a statement from the presidency.
The border closure, for a period of 21 days, was based on an agreement with Senegal, expert advice and the regional and global developments of the COVID-19 situation, said the statement, citing the continuous movement of people as a "high risk of contracting the disease."
Meanwhile, the western African country said the decision will not affect essential services, such as movement of security personnel, food supplies, and healthcare services and the related activities.
The Gambian government has also declared the closure of the airspace to all flights except for medical and cargo flights, beginning Monday for 21 days as well.
Gambia, with its land territory almost completely surrounded by Senegal, has so far confirmed one case involving a 28-year-old woman who returned from Britain on Sunday. And Senegal has reported 56 cases.