Its a race against time, world wide, to slow down and eventually halt the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and put in its cross hairs tens of thousands of others. In Africa, the corona virus has spread to multiple countries within weeks. African Governments and health authorities across the continent are striving to limit widespread infections.
CGTN Africa today looks at the measures that Africa is putting in place so as not to become another hotbed of the dread corona virus.
Nigeria has a population of over 190 million, and it is Africa’s most populous country and if measures are not put in place the corona virus would run amok in this west African country, its with this knowledge that the Nigerian government moved swiftly to sensitize its citizens about the corona virus. The Nigerian authorities have embarked on a public awareness campaign on the dangers posed by the corona virus. Factual information on how to wash hands, use sanitizers and social distancing are being relied to the Nigerian public via various media platforms in the country, this is to make sure that Nigerians are more aware of how to cope during this wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it seems this information blitz is bearing fruit.
“Since the news broke out, we have sanitizers in the office, which we use regularly. As long as you are coming into the office, you are expected to use it. And once you step out and coming back into the office, you are expected to use it. So we use it almost every time. So a lot of things have changed, and people are now very careful about things that they do. People take a lot of precautionary measures like touching surfaces, coughing, sneezing and a lot of people use the nose masks around the office so as to prevent themselves from being exposed to the virus,” said Adesewa Odusoga a local journalist.
The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the west African nation on 28 January 2020.
In the DRC its no different, but to the citizens COVID-19 brings back bad memories. The country is still suffering after shocks of the Ebola outbreak of 2019. The death and destruction caused by Ebola is still fresh in the minds of the citizens and before they could recover, COVID-19 lands on their shores. Fear, panic and pandemonium have greeted the arrival of the virus. More than 40 cases have been reported in the central Africa country and this doesn’t seat well with one resident of Kinshasa
“This new disease with a strange name has really scared us because we lost relatives to Ebola. It has changed the way I live. We’ve been told to keep washing our hands all the time,” quips Stephanie Mastaki.
But to calm the nerves of Mastaki and millions of others the DRC government has also embarked on a media campaign to educate its citizens on how to combat the corona virus pandemic. In addition the Government has put other stringent measures in place such as suspension of flights from countries with many cases of Coronavirus, closure of schools, bars and other public places to limit the spread of Coronavirus.
A point to note is that the DRC are still using the same pre existing systems that the country used to curb the spread off Ebola to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Egyptian government has put down a string of measures to protect the country from the invading virus, at the Cairo airport for example, passengers arriving from destinations that the authorities in Egypt consider risk-prone are guided to a special facility, where the entire flight gets tested for COVID-19. Blood Samples are taken from all the passengers on that particular flight, and due to the rapid test kits Egypt acquired from China, the results are ready after just 15 minutes.
According to Hazem Hussein, A manager at Cairo Airport, “the rapid test kits made a big difference, because they’re more precise than measuring temperature. Recently we’ve detected many cases before people even displayed symptoms.”
Apart from that the Egyptian authorities have put up isolation facilities, medics and quarantine protocols in case anyone is found to have the corona virus symptoms.
Across the continent government are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and they have embarked on stringent measures to slow down the rate of transmission of the virus.
Since the start of the outbreak the World Health Organization (WHO) and other well wishers have been supporting African governments with early detection by providing thousands of COVID-19 testing kits to countries, training dozens of health workers and strengthening surveillance in communities. Forty-seven countries in the WHO African region can now test for COVID-19.