Corona Virus : Gov’t Gives Assurances About Control Mechanism

Barely a day after the official confirmation of two cases of COVID-19 on the Cameroonian territory, the government and its partners have all come together to halt the epidemic which has already caused havoc worldwide particularly in the Asian continent. During a joint press conference between three Ministers of Government, and national and international partners, the Minister of Public Health, Malachie Manaouda told the press that the government masters the situation on the ground for there was no room for panicking. 

At the moment, the Minister of Public Health reiterated that the government has moved from a situation of alert to that of controlling the epidemic which was first tested on a 58-year-old- French citizen who arrived in Cameroon on February 24, 2020 via Air France and later travelled to Mbangassina in the Ntui Subdivision of the Centre Region for a funeral. His situation was only alerted from March 5, 2020, when he felt sick and consulted at a clinic in Yaounde. The second case of COVID-19 involves a Cameroonian citizen, 30-year-old woman, who has been in close contact with the first confirmed case of COVID-19. Both cases have been isolated at the Yaounde Central Hospital Care Unit and are receiving adequate symptomatic treatment. The Public Health Minister said tracing and screening of contacts which are particularly at risk is effective and thanks to the strong surveillance system put in place now, health officials have been able to track some 140 persons who have been in contact with the first COVID-19 victim and some 30 other persons who have been in contact with the second COVID-19 patient. These people are closely being followed up for any eventual risk to COVID-19.

The Health Boss urges the population to be more vigilant and observe the recommended hygiene rules, especially washing hands with clean water and soap, cover nostrils when coughing, avoid close contact with people who present contacts, avoid hugs and kisses if possible and also call on those who have been in contact with the two cases of COVID-19 to immediately call the free line 1510 to receive appropriate care if need be. A particular invitation has been made to all those who travelled out of Cameroon or have been in contact with a traveler from countries affected by COVID-19 to immediately call 1510 for proper directives if need be. It was revealed that such people will be in close contact with medical teams through 14 days to wipe out any eventual infection. This is important as Malachie Manaouda said suspected cases of COVID-19 can only be taken to specialized centres that have been put in place.

Besides measures taken before the outbreak of the disease in Cameroon, Malachie Manaouda said a muti-sectoral committee of members from over six ministries have been put in place to effectively follow-up the epidemiology surveillance of the disease from all the borders into the country. In terms of diagnosis and management, Centre Pasteur Yaounde, has reinforced its capacity to receive many samples for testing within a short time (four hours). At the Cameroon Health Emergency Operations Centre, meetings are held twice each day to evaluate the situation of the epidemic. Over 45 investigative teams have been deployed throughout the country to track the path used by the COVID-19 victims as well as sensitize the population on proper hygiene method. 

The Minister of Communication, Emmanuel Rene Sadi said alongside the Ministry of Public Health, they are going to come up with a communication plan on COVID-19. He called on all media structures to be involved in a vast communication campaign to sensitize the population on the virus and various hygienic measures to follow. Emmanuel Rene Sadi said it is the responsibility of the media to inform and educate the public as soon as possible on COVID -19. On his part, the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Dr. Taiga said it was not time for people to shun the eating of bush meat but to effectively cook such meat before eating.

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