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Covid-19 Disrupts Goods at the Chad-Cameroon Border

Traders and truck drivers in Cameroon and Chad held a nine-minute protest Wednesday on the N’Gueli bridge that crosses the border, with each minute symbolizing one month since cross-border traffic was restricted in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The group that organized the protest, the Association of Truck Drivers in Chad and Cameroon, called for an immediate reopening of the border. Cameroon authorities say before March 5, when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, at least 1,200 people crossed the bridge each day. Since traffic was restricted, they say, the daily number crossing the bridge is less than 200. Cameroon and Chad sealed their shared border in March to stop the spread of COVID-19, after both countries recorded cases. Landlocked Chad, which relies on Cameroon for 80 percent of its imports, agreed to allow goods from its neighbor, but only if they were trucked from the seaside town of Douala direct to N’Djamena and if the drivers tested negative. But after COVID-19 spread further in May, both countries resealed the border. Cameroon imports food staples such as sorghum, onions and groundnuts from Chad during lean seasons.