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Travel restrictions imperative to combat the Coronavirus

Africa must isolate itself now! Africa must barricade itself! Africa must stop right now the contamination by imported cases!

As of March 26, 45 out of 54 countries in Africa have declared infections with the coronavirus. The available evidence overwhelming shows that most of the declared cases in Africa are from imported sources (foreign countries), mainly from foreign visitors and returning residents most of which entered the country almost exclusively through the airport. The unchecked number of imported cases has led to two other forms of contamination: local and community.  Thirteen countries have already reported local communication.  Community contamination is not far away.  Contamination from imported cases must be stopped because Africa cannot afford to be on several fronts at the same time. Continuing to allow imported cases to enter is not the right way to efficiently manage the scarce financial, human and logistical resources available in the continent. By March 26, about half of African countries have closed their borders completely or partially.

In view of the challenges of fighting at different fronts and the weak and fragile health systems in Africa, The SDGC/A strongly supports the following actions.

  1. As the 14-days quarantine on arrival is proving to be insufficient and becoming difficult to manage, suspend now and for the necessary time to control the virus, the free movement of people between countries. Every country has become a country at risk. This entails suspending all arrivals of people by air, land and sea.
  2. Maintain the movement of cargos, goods and services but impose stringent monitoring of the personnel involved in the transportation.
  3. Setup community surveillance on the point of entry involving the local communities to enforce the border closure. While the formal borders are guarded by the security officials, the unofficial and fraudulent points of entry (PoE) need the collaboration of the local community to help the health authorities to detect, quarantine and manage the suspected cases.
  4. Invest more resources on combatting local and community contamination by avoiding the opportunity cost of leaving the official borders and airports opened for the movement of persons.
  5. Public transport must be banned during lock-down because the conditions for making it safe in terms of health security are complex and difficult to scrupulously respect
  6. City taxis can continue to circulate with at most one person seated in the seats behind the driver. The seats must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use. The reasons for the circulation of city taxis must be limited to shopping, banking, and visiting health facilities.
  7. Moto taxis must be banned for personal transport as the 1m distance cannot be kept and helmets are the potential transmission chain. However, moto taxis should be kept for the transport of good from shopping to home.

 

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