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Lock Down Now, Don’t Waste Time
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus as a pandemic. The infections are now increasing at an exponential rate as shown by the figure below (developed by the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC)), which compares the situation in Africa and that in Europe. Addressing a pandemic such as the coronavirus requires prompt, swift and decisive action. The action that China took by imposing a lock down was instrumental in reducing the infections rate in the country. This can be compared to the approach in other countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and the US where decisive actions were delayed – an approach which, unfortunately, is being followed by some African countries now.
Africa must not make the same mistake as the European countries and the United States of America which have seen their health services overwhelmed by the severe and critical cases with a high number of deaths. The current trend in the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa (after 35 days) unfortunately seems to follow the same trend as in Europe. It is therefore time for strong measures, the most important of which is a lock-down. Given its weak and fragile health care systems, Africa cannot waste any more time.
The Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa (SDGC/A) supports the call for a lock-down as a number of African countries have initiated. The SDGC/A reiterates the following:Lock-down now: Don’t waste time. Initiate a stay-home campaign. The cost of inaction can be overwhelming.
- Develop preventive measures including installing washing- hands facilities at all public places that must remain open to meet the daily needs of the people such as pharmacies, hospitals, restaurants, shops and other public buildings
- Establish an inter-ministerial structure to manage the process on real-time basis.
- Be transparent in communicating the evolution of the disease in the country.
- Use the social media (print media, TV) to inform the general public including providing messages in local languages.
- Design and implement as quickly as possible a relief response system.
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