The African continent has not been spared from the COVID-19 disease which was declared a pandemic after cross-continents infections on 11th March, 2020. Initially, fake news which has added more harm in containing the virus was spread across the continent claiming that Africans are immune to the disease.
The African continent has for a long time been associated with weak health systems coupled with poverty and political instability; all which present a steep slippery climb scenario in containing any epidemic. For a fact, most Africans survive on hand to mouth basis in informal employments something that makes declaration of lock downs almost unbearable.
Currently, Africa is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic as the total number of infections creeps to over 2400 and at least 60 confirmed deaths. In order to contain the spread, many countries are imposing stricter policies such as curfews, close of businesses and limiting public transport.
In the Northern Africa country of Egypt, over 440 infections have been confirmed as at 25th March; at least 21 deaths registered and 93 people have recovered. In an effort to safeguard the health of its citizens, Egypt has imposed a 15 day dusk-to-dawn curfew. Additionally, with exceptions of supermarkets, grocery shops and pharmacies, other shops will be expected to be shut between 5.00 p.m and 6.00 a.m. Restaurants, cafes and entertainment joints have been completely shut down.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation burdened by civil wars and high poverty levels has declared a state of emergency. The country has so far registered at least 48 cases of COVID-19 infections with one person recovering. DRC has since closed its land, sea and air borders. Only emergency transportation will be allowed after an effective screening of the people involved.
In South Africa, president Cyril Ramaphosa has imposed a 21 day lockdown effective midnight Thursday. Ramaphosa described the coronavirus menace as a ‘human catastrophe of enormous proportions’ as the country’s cases jumped to 709 from 554 on Tuesday.
In East Africa, Uganda has so far registered 14 cases while Kenya’s latest statistics indicate that 28 people have been infected while one person has recovered.
In a press conference at 6 p.m today, Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta said that the country will begin a dusk-to-dawn curfew effective Friday, 27th March. Only health workers, critical and essential service providers will be allowed to operate. In order to cushion Kenyans from the economic hard times occasioned by the virus, Uhuru waived taxes for persons earning kshs 24000 and below and reduced the Value Addition Tax (VAT) from 16% to 14%.
Across the globe, COVID-19 infections have risen to over 438 000 with at least 19000 deaths. The three most common symptoms at fever, dry cough and fatigue. Other symptoms are sore throat, runny nose and having muscle aches. As a prevention strategy, persons are encouraged to practice hand hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water or use of an alcohol based sanitizer to clean hands. Social distancing, avoiding touching the eyes and nose and staying away from crowded areas are other prevention strategies.