Niger reopens land borders as COVID 'under control'

Niger has been relatively unaffected by the epidemic, reporting 5,457 cases including 193 deaths, according to official figures.

FILE: Picture: Supplied.

NIAMEY, NIGER - The West African state of Niger said it had reopened land borders that had been closed since March 2020 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Road crossings on the the landlocked state's borders were reopened on Thursday after COVID trends showed "the situation is still under control," the government said.

Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, took drastic measures to stop the spread of coronavirus after the first cases emerged in March 2020.

The authorities ordered border closures, a state of emergency with a curfew, the closure of places of worship and schools, and the isolation of the capital Niamey from the rest of the country.

Most of these measures were eased over time, the chief exception being the closure of land borders.

Travellers arriving in Niger must present a negative test result for coronavirus or face being send back, a health ministry official told AFP.

People leaving the country will also have to present a negative test no more than five days old, he said.

The cost of the test is 5,000 CFA francs ($9 / 7.6 euros) for people crossing by road, and 25,000 francs for air travellers, a rate set by all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Niger has been relatively unaffected by the epidemic, reporting 5,457 cases including 193 deaths, according to official figures.

The health ministry on Tuesday launched a "mass vaccination campaign" against Covid-19, seeking to reach as many people as possible among those still reluctant to be vaccinated.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.