#COVID19: Gabon Lifts Restrictive Measures As Cases Drop

The suspension of COVID-19 restrictions in Gabon has been linked to a similar action by France, five days prior to Gabon’s announcement.

President Ali Bongo of Gabon has announced “the lifting of all the restrictive measures put in place to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.”

While announcing the removal of the measures on Wednesday, March 9, the Gabonese President said with a drastic drop in positive cases, there was no further justification for leaving the restrictive measures in place.

The measures lifted include the obligation of carrying a COVID-19 vaccination card while travelling, presentation of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, mandatory wearing of face masks, distancing, and a dusk to dawn curfew.

The decision comes as cases have dropped to 10 per day with about 25 per cent of the population having received their complete doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.

But the president did not state whether foreigners arriving in the country would still have to be quarantined and if citizens in the urban centres would still be required to carry special authorisations to travel to the hinterlands.

Coming five days after the announcement of similar measures by French President Emmanuel Macron, some segment of Gabonese national opinion holds that President Bongo was in a hurry to copy from the French as usual, without putting in place the necessary machinery to ensure a smooth return to normalcy in the nation.

President Bongo insisted on the necessity for citizens to get themselves vaccinated and called on all those who have not gotten the jab to do so immediately.

“Vaccination is the only efficacious way to keep the pandemic under control and guarantee an irreversible return to normal life,” he said. 

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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