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Durham University

IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Ebola virus closes West African borders

(15 September 2014)

The West African outbreak of the Ebola virus has caused multiple countries in the region to close their borders. Senegal has closed borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia have shut due to the virus as well, aside from a few border crossings where people are tested for the virus before crossing. South Africa, Kenya, and other countries in the region have limited travel from affected areas.

The outbreak has mainly affected people in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, but cases have been reported in Nigeria and Senegal as well. More than 2,400 of the 4,700 people diagnosed with the Ebola virus have died, and a separate outbreak of the virus has been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that the outbreak will take “several months” to address.

The WHO has been critical of travel bans. WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl told the BBC that regional borders were so porous that border closures would be “impossible to enforce.” The Health Minister of Senegal, Dr. Awa Marie Colle Seck, claimed that the border closures would not affect humanitarian flights travelling through Senegal’s capital of Dakar, and that Senegal had a duty to stop the spread of the virus.


Borders closing over Ebola fears, 22 August 2014, CNN,

Ebola crisis: Senegal defends Guinea border closure, 22 August 2014, BBC,

Ebola outbreak: Most border crossings to close in Liberia, 28 July 2014, BBC,

Ebola border controls hinder Ivory Coast cocoa farmers, 5 September 2014, BBC,

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