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Senegal opens Guinea border as Ebola recedes

A boy looks at a banner reading 'Guinea and ECOWAS hand in hand against Ebola fever', 'All together against Ebola fever!' prior to a football tournament gathering youth from Guinea near in Abidjan on August 10, 2014/AFP

A boy looks at a banner reading ‘Guinea and ECOWAS hand in hand against Ebola fever’, ‘All together against Ebola fever!’ prior to a football tournament gathering youth from Guinea near in Abidjan on August 10, 2014/AFP

DAKAR, Jan 26- Senegal reopened its land border with Guinea on Monday, pointing to the “significant efforts” of its neighbour in fighting an Ebola outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives.

People and goods can now “move freely by land between the two countries”, the interior ministry said in a statement cited by the state run Senegalese Press Agency.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been devastated by the outbreak, which began in December 2013, but all have seen recent signs that the virus is retreating, with the number of new cases dropping week by week.

Senegal said it would put in place measures at its land crossings to ensure people entering from Guinea were Ebola-free, the report said.

The country initially closed its land border with Guinea in March last year as the number of infections of the tropical virus were escalating at an alarming rate.

The order affected crossings in the south of Senegal which were heavily used by traders, particularly during a weekly market attended by thousands from neighbouring countries.

The border reopened in May but was closed again in August after an infected student crossed over from Guinea.

Senegal was declared Ebola free after the student recovered without spreading the virus, and air and sea crossings from the three other nations have been permitted since November.

The worst-ever outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever has officially killed nearly 9,000 in a year, although experts believe the real toll could be significantly higher.

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