Covid-19 In Africa


Nigeria reported its first case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) on February 25th, 2020. The patient was an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew to Lagos from Milan, a city badly hit by the outbreak after China. This is the first confirmed case in Sub-Sahara Africa. Authorities in Nigeria have confirmed that the patient is in stable condition with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos. The patient was screened upon arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. According to Health Minister Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, authorities in Nigeria have started tracking down people who were in contact with the patient. He further added that Nigeria is well prepared to deal with the outbreak, with four laboratories for testing and atleast 60 doctors who have been deployed to Lagos’s main airport to support the ongoing screening effort. Authorities in Nigeria are not planning to halt flights from affected countries nor planning to quarantine those travelling into the country.

Two South African nationals working in Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama Japan have also contracted the coronavirus, according to the country’s Health Minister. President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered the repatriation of some 132 citizens living in Wuhan. The government said 132 citizens out of the total 199 South Africans living in Yokohama, Japan had put in requests to be returned home. “None has been diagnosed with the virus or exhibited any symptoms of the disease, but they will be quarantined for 21 days upon arrival in South Africa as a precautionary measure,” read part of the statement issued by the President’s office.

A tweet by The Standard Digital @StandardKenya read that four Cabinet Secretaries were facing serious credibility questions after allowing an airline to fly in 239 passengers from China. The portfolios in question are those of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Foreign Affairs, Transport and Water Sanitation and Irrigation. Many Kenyans were infuriated by the decision to allow the landing of a Southern Airlines flight from China’s Guangzhou city to Kenya’s capital Nairobi. This sparked anger among many Kenyans who were not convinced and satisfied with the screening and clearing done to the 239 passengers; the assurance given did little to subdue the anxiety and anger of many who were worried about the spread of the virus and the country’s ability to contain it.

Below are measures on how to protect oneself from Covid-19, per the World Health Organization (WHO):

  1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. This kills viruses that may be on your hands;
  2. Maintain social distance of about 1 metre (3 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing and sneezing. Being too close to someone who is coughing or sneezing puts you at risk of contracting the virus. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus;
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses which can enter your body hence making you sick;
  4. Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose either using a tissue or with your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose off the tissue upon use. Doing so, will not only protect yourself but people around you from viruses such as cold, flue and COVID-19;
  5. Last but not least, if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care. Visit your nearest health facility for medical assistance. This will protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

 

Rachel Kaburi