Cameroon government under fire as COVID-19 tally rises~NEWSEXTRA - News Extra Online




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Thursday, 4 June 2020

Cameroon government under fire as COVID-19 tally rises~NEWSEXTRA

Cameroon’s government faces mounting accusations that foot-dragging and incompetence have helped coronavirus disease (COVID-19) gain a deadly grip.

In less than three months, the official case tally has risen to nearly 6,600, including 200 deaths — the third-highest number of infections of any country south of the Sahara.

Compared with Europe and America, this total is low, but experts warn of COVID-19’s ability to spread like wildfire in countries where health systems are weak and testing is poor.

Despite forecasts that cases would peak in June, schools and universities were suddenly told to reopen this week, prompting teachers and parents to warn that safety preparedness was nowhere near ready.

Cameroon on March 5 became the first central African country to register a case of COVID-19 — a 58-year-old French national who had arrived in the capital Yaounde in February.

But it was not until two weeks later that the authorities set down restrictions for the country’s 25 million people.

The opposition has repeatedly criticised what it says is the government’s failure to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously, as many other African countries imposed radical containment measures early on.

Albert Ze, an economist specialising in health issues, told AFP that management of the epidemic had been “disastrous.”

“We missed the opportunity to contain the virus at the very beginning,” he said.

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