Gabon Closes Land Borders Following Increase In COVID-19 Cases

The government of Gabon on Saturday announced the closure of its land borders following a marked increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The move follows on the heels of the Friday, Jan. 22, announcement of the tightening of the anti-coronavirus measures already in place.

Making the announcement, the Assistant Secretary-General in the Ministry of Defence, Col. Felicien Koya, said the “measure is taken as a precaution and will be applicable till further notice except in cases of a special authorisation to go out or enter delivered by the relevant authorities.”

The government said the measure followed “a particularly important increase in the COVID-19 pandemic cases.” 

The government added, “the Ministry of National Defence informs the populations that the land borders have been closed as from this day, Saturday, Jan. 30, since 18 hours.”

As of Saturday, Gabon had 420 active COVID-19 cases with 34 hospitalisations and reanimation and 68 deaths.

However, the border closure without prior notice to the road users has been condemned by a large segment of the national community.

“People who have to travel by road to neighbouring countries are now stranded in Gabon. 

“Why could the government not give some days to enable those who are out of the country to return and those in the country to go back to their countries?” asked a concerned citizen in Libreville, the national capital.

“They should rather have closed but the air corridors with western countries instead of the land borders. 

“We all know that most of the virus comes from western countries but they are doing nothing and instead, closing our land borders,”  another Libreville resident, who gave his name as Rodrigue Makounzou, 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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