The proposal to close the border with France was studied and rejected, this Thursday, March 12, 2020, by the Council of Ministers. For the time being, Madagascar wants to strengthen preventive health measures. Spraying disinfectant on passengers is one of the strategies.

This Thursday, March 12, 2020 at the end of the day, the Council of Ministers of Madagascar studied and rejected the closure of the borders with France. The coronavirus epidemic is spreading in France and to a lesser extent in Reunion. The Big Island has historical, economic and emotional ties with France. The former colony, which became truly independent in 1972, has always maintained privileged relationships. How many Malagasy live in France or in our Reunion? How many people have both nationalities?

Reinforced controls in ports and airports

Not impossible, but difficult, to cut this umbilical cord. Depending on the evolution of the pandemic, this decision could be reassessed. Initially, the authorities decided to tighten the controls on passengers arriving from Orly or Roissy. The number of personnel will be increased in order to avoid that a traveler “escapes the health controls in the ports as in the airports”, writes Madagascar-Tribune.
An aircraft from France carries 200 passengers on average during this low season. Air France flies three times a week.

Close borders with Europe?

The Minister of Transport and Tourism, Joël Randriamandranto, defended the decision not to close Madagascar’s borders with Europe: “The countries with strong economies which have decided to close their borders will be able to quickly rebuild their economy after the end of the pandemic. But as far as Madagascar is concerned, we must think carefully before making decisions with serious consequences.”
The Minister of Health, Professor Ahmad Ahmad, said: “the $ 3.7 million offered by the World Bank will be used to strengthen health surveillance in all ports and airports”.

For the record, Thursday March 12, 2020, the coronavirus affects 113 countries. WHO counts 124,101 confirmed cases and 4,566 deaths.

[Source: FranceTV info of March 13, 2020]