Cameroon Free From New COVID-19 Strain – Minister

The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon is now under control and the country is for now free from the new coronavirus strain that has been detected in Britain and other European countries, the Cameroon government said.

Dr Malaouda Malachie, the country’s Minister of Public Health, in a statement on Tuesday, said though the spread of the virus has currently levelled, the authorities are still fearful of a resurgence because of the laxity of the population in respecting the anti-coronavirus restrictions put in place.

“Within the context of the surveillance of the mutant strain of covid, we have sent 216 samples collected between March and December 2020, to a reference laboratory for sequencing,” Malachie said.

The result is that the United Kingdom strain which appeared in December 2020 is not yet in circulation in Cameroon, the minister assured.

In the meantime, the initial COVID-19 which first appeared in China continues to circulate in Cameroon.

According to figures given by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as of  Monday, January 11, 2021, Cameroon is the seventh African country most affected by the coronavirus with 26,848 positive cases and 448 deaths so far registered.

“With the lackadaisical way the national community has been treating the coronavirus pandemic of late by flouting the restrictive measures put in place by the government, the big fear now is that should the new strain, which is reputed to spread more rapidly, hit the shores of Cameroon, the devastation it would cause by way of infections and deaths will be historic,” Hyginus Egbe, a civil society activist told HumAngle in Limbe Tuesday.

“The big problem here now is that the government has only just been condemning the lax attitude of the national community towards respecting the anti-coronavirus measures prescribed since the beginning of the pandemic,” said another civil society activist who elected for anonymity.

“The government is doing nothing to ensure the respect of the measures. Even security officials who were originally making sure the population respects the measures no longer respect them too. One hardly sees a policeman or gendarme wearing face masks these days. Even nurses in hospitals hardly respect the measures again.”

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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