How Coronavirus Exposed Africa’s Poor Emergency Strategies


Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19 has taken the world by surprise. Unlike past epidemics, the virus has spread around the world in a short period and claims more lives daily.

Many critics argue that the epidemic is the greatest threat the world has ever faced since World War II, and fear things may never return to normal even after the virus is defeated.

Indeed, the world is at war and no one is safe. Scientists all over the world are battling to find a cure and vaccine for this deadly epidemic. Many countries have been forced to undertake emergency lockdowns to curb the spread.

Social distancing and isolation have been identified as a way to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

With more confirmed cases and deaths surfacing in cities across Africa, and this has forced leaders to announce lockdowns and border closures.

Although Covid-19 had a slow entrance into Africa, which many critics believe came as a big surprise to Europe, Asia and America; the epidemic has once again exposed Africa’s poor emergency plans.

While many African leaders have closed its borders and announced lockdowns, Africa’s poor level of preparedness for epidemics and emergencies has come under the spotlight.

One aspect that many African leaders failed in curbing the spread of the disease was in closing its borders to foreign nationals from countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19.

During the period when Ebola was active in Africa; Europe, Asia and America shut its doors to travellers from any country that has been highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to have cases of Ebola – and rightly so.

The decision to prevent travellers from such countries helped in curbing the spread of Ebola, especially in preventing it from getting out of Africa. Critics frowned at the nonchalant attitude of African leaders in taking the same step in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 was first identified in Nigeria after an Italian national who owns an industrial plant in the West African country returned.

Critics and citizens alike frowned at the decision by authorities to allow him and other travellers into the country especially as they were coming from a country like Italy which has a high number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Today, the Italian has been discharged from medical observation, after medical practitioners confirmed that he had recovered from Covid-19.

More confirmed cases have been identified in the country since then, and Nigeria now has 151 total confirmed cases, 140 active confirmed cases, 9 recoveries and 2 deaths.

Africans believe that if returning travellers from countries with Covid-19 cases were screened and quarantined like it was done during the period of Ebola, the pandemic could have been prevented in the continent.

Another area where African leaders have received hard knocks after announcing the lockdowns is its inability (and in some cases, indecision) to provide relief plans like prevention centres, food banks and stipends for the needy and elderly.

Sadly, many African leaders did not provide free facemasks and hand sanitizers to citizens – especially those in rural areas. These citizens are now faced with no option than to cope with the increased price of commodity and prevention materials.

Covid-19 is a war which must be fought and defeated collectively. Even developed countries with high numbers of quality health care and relief centres like America and the United Kingdom are suffering the heat of the epidemic.

However, African leaders must do more in providing health care and relief centres in case of future emergencies.


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