Cameroon has raised its alert level following the confirmation of a case of coronavirus (Covid-19) on 28 February in neighbouring Nigeria. "We have triggered our active surveillance in all 10 regions. On our border health posts, we have agents who are trained and supposed to fight against a possible importation of the virus," the Minister of Public Health, Manaouda Malachie, said on Monday.
He also explained that the country has increased its diagnostic capacity.
"Whenever a suspicious case is reported from Kousseri or Moloundou, we can deploy, within 24 or 48 hours, someone who will collect samples, bring them back to the Pasteur Centre in Yaounde and have the results. That way, appropriate measures can be taken," said the minister. In addition to the isolation centres for suspected cases of coronavirus in health facilities such as the Central Hospital (Yaounde) and Laquintinie Hospital (Douala), another centre will soon be set up within the precincts of Nsimalen International Airport, the main airport gateway to the capital.
In the meantime, passengers are screened on arrival by a thermoflash along with temperature measurement with a thermal camera. Some 6011 passengers who landed in Cameroon have been scanned since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic in China on 31 December. "We will receive 1000 test kits for coronavirus screening from the CDC (ed.note: Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta" in the United States, announced Manaouda Malachie. The official made the revelation during the 1 pm news edition of March 2, 2020, on Crtv.
Although spared by the disease, Cameroon remains on the alert because of the expansion of the new coronavirus in the world.
About 50 countries are now affected by Covid-19, including six in Africa (Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco). On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated the global and regional risk to "very high".
"It is an alarming situation, but one that continues to be observed with great attention," said Dr Phanuel Habimana, WHO representative in Cameroon. Health authorities are therefore calling for the respect of recommended hygiene rules.
A toll-free number (1510) is also open for any questions relating to this disease which has infected more than 80,000 people worldwide.