Mali on Friday said it would close bars and restaurants for two weeks, close fairs and shutter schools until January 10 to fight the novel coronavirus.

Hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases in the vast Sahel country, torn by jihadist attacks and currently under a shaky caretaker government following an August coup.

The closure of bars and restaurants will start from midnight Saturday, government spokesman Hamadoun Toureh said after a cabinet meeting.

The cabinet also decided to declare a six-month health emergency, he said, adding that public gatherings would be limited to under 50 people until January 10.

Mali has so far officially recorded 6,049 Covid-19 cases of which 211 have been fatal in a country of 20 million. Daily cases this month have surpassed 150 and hospitals in the capital Bamako are struggling to cope with virus patients.

AFP

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