Mali lifts night-time virus curfew

AFP , Saturday 9 May 2020

Mali's government said on Saturday it had lifted its nationwide curfew designed to stem coronavirus, while making mask wearing compulsory in public places in the West African state.

In a televised speech, Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cisse warned that the virus was now present "in practically all our administrative regions" and that more testing was needed.

He added that the "evil is raging among us" and that the capital Bamako had become the centre of the epidemic.

Malian authorities have recorded 668 cases of coronavirus to date, with 35 fatalities.

The number of official infections is low compared to virus-stricken Europe and the United States.

Still, there are fears that Mali is particularly at risk from a large outbreak because of endemic poverty and a conflict which has been raging for eight years in the country.

On Saturday, Cisse said that the government was lifting a night-time curfew declared at the end of March in order to curb the virus.

Schools will stay shut until June 2, he added, and the wearing of masks will be compulsory in public places.

The country's borders will remain shut, however, the prime minister said.

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