Africa under lockdown

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A close look at how African countries are handling the coronavirus.

 

By Asenathi Ntamo

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.

 

On Thursday, 30 April 2020, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa were reported at 34 610 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1 517 deaths and 11 180 recoveries. While a few countries seem to be easing up on restrictions, others have implemented more stringent measures on their citizens and have called for international aid.

 

Somalia seems to be the struggling the most under the combined, simultaneous threats of the Covid-19 pandemic, locust swarms and flooding. The “Save the Children” charity organisation has stated that more than five million children, younger than five years old, were already malnourished and the spread of Covid-19 has particularly affected their health. The Red Cross organisation claims that there might be more than the reported 582 people suffering from the virus and have appealed for humanitarian relief, as hospitals lack equipment and electricity supplies. Prevention is a challenge, especially in the overcrowded camps that many citizens live in, where problems like water shortages only add to the crisis.

 

Ghana’s Disease Surveillance Department confirmed 1 042 cases and nine deaths on Monday, April 20th. President Nana Akufo-Addo has lifted the nation’s three-week lockdown in the two major cities of Accra and Kumasi, due to the economic impact on the country’s most vulnerable people. Social gatherings aren’t allowed and schools aren’t open yet and citizens are being urged to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

 

Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that there will be a gradual ease on lockdown restrictions from Monday, 4th of May in the main cities of Lagos and Abuja. With this ease on the lockdown, movement is prohibited between 8pm and 6am, and non-essential interstate travel is banned until further notice. Health Minister Osagie Ehanire, has asked property owners to loan vacant buildings to house patients who’ve tested positive for Covid-19, citing a shortage of bed spaces in certain areas, Lagos being the biggest challenge. On Thursday, 30 April, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported 1 728 cases, 307 recoveries and 51 recorded deaths. Domestic violence experts reported an increase in the number of victims and measures were taken to remove the victims from those environments.

 

The Republic of South Africa has the highest number of confirmed cases on the continent, with 6 783 infections as of Sunday, 3rd May. Africa’s case numbers stand at 42 769.

 

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