The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm, infecting more than 247,000 people in 160 countries and leading to more than 10,000 deaths.
The disease has infected more than 650 individuals across 33 African countries and has killed 16 people. Most infections are foreign imported.
In the last few days, The Gambia, Mauritius, and Zambia discovered their first confirmed cases.
Like the rest of the world, the priority of these African countries is to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
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Here are 10 ways that Africans are trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Supermarket chains in South Africa including Woolworths and Pick n Pay have introduced dedicated shopping hours in which only senior citizens are allowed to shop in the store, giving the most vulnerable population the freedom to shop in a safer environment before all other shoppers are permitted to enter the store, according to Businesstech.
In an effort to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading, some African countries have restricted travel from countries that have been heavily affected by the coronavirus, according to TheIntercept. South Africa has banned people from the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Spain, Germany, China, South Korea, and Iran from entering the country from March 18. Ghana has banned travel to Ghana from any country that has more than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19, PremiumTimes reports. Kenya has also imposed a blanket ban on travelers from countries that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus after discovering the East African country’s first confirmed case on March 14.
While Children appear to be less affected by COVID-19 in terms of getting sick, they can be infected and transmit the virus widely. This has led to school closures as a measure to stop the spread of the virus. African countries have been particularly good at be proactive and implementing preventative measures before many cases develop. In Tanzania, a day after the country’s first case was confirmed, all schools were closed across the country, according to Panapress. This has been a similar feature of South Africa, Namibia and Kenya’s response to the coronavirus. Other African countries have closed their universities as a way to curb the spread of the virus including Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, and Sudan.
Washing your hands and using sanitizers is an important way to limit the spread of the coronavirus but sanitizers are not always easily available. Ghanaian rap artist Criss Waddle is providing free hand sanitizers for residents in his city of Tema in Ghana to help prevent the spread of the virus, according to MuseAfrica.
Hand sanitizers dispensed on public transport are becoming the norm in many African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana, while public trains and buses are being sanitized and cleaned frequently in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing on public transport can be a challenge, so these extra measures are necessary.
The spread of the virus is enabled in some cases by fake and misleading information doing the rounds on social media. In Nigeria, Facebook is running a fact-checking pilot to try and stop the spread of fake news about the coronavirus, AfricaNews reports. In South Africa, spreading false information about the coronavirus has been outlawed and is punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine.
Gyms and sports arenas are no-go zones because of fears that the virus can spread easily in such environments and in light of social distancing. This means that many people are unable to get the exercise they usually would from classes and group sessions at the gym. Smart gym instructors in South Africa are using technology to remedy the situation, offering people their classes via streaming services that allow them to do the exercise or follow the class online from the comfort and safety of their homes.
In Ethiopia, concerns that the public may crowd in public transport and at hubs such as stations has led to the government providing additional buses free of charge to help control crowding. Special buses have also been commissioned to take public servants to work safely and away from large crowds, according to AfricaNews.
Few things bring large crowds together quite as effectively as sports events. When one considers that some stadiums can easily carry 50,000 fans, it makes sense that sporting events across Africa have been canceled or postponed. Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and many others have banned soccer matches from taking place during this time. Many other sports including rugby, cricket, athletics, swimming, and tennis in Africa have been impacted by cancelations and postponements related to COVID-19.
In a move to boost awareness, educate people on the risks and prevention tops and provide access to information, MultiChoice Group-owned pay-television service DStv is offering free access to its 24-hour news channels, including to non-subscribers in South Africa. Channels including BBC World, CNN, eNCA, SABC News, Newzroom Afrika and Euronews Now will be free to all viewers during the course of the outbreak, according to TechCentral.
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