Several African countries announced new cases of coronavirus over the weekend. African governments reacted with measures to keep the infection from spreading. But some African countries are ill-equipped for a pandemic.
Tanzania and Somalia confirmed their first cases of the coronavirus, while Rwanda registered seven new infections raising the number of African countries affected to 30 out of 54. Cameroon announced on Tuesday a 10th case, only a few hours after stating that two patients who initially contracted the virus were ”cured”.
Several countries on the continent already took drastic measures to slow down the spread of the virus. Authorities shut down borders, canceled flights and imposed strict entry and quarantine regulations. On Monday morning, the toll in Africa stood at 373 cases and eight deaths. The regulations are aimed foremost at travelers from countries such as Italy, Germany, China and the United States, among those most severely hit by COVID-19.
In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster. He also warned against a possible negative impact of the epidemic on the country’s struggling economy. The country recorded 61 cases so far. To keep the numbers from rising, foreigners who have been to high-risk countries in the last 20 days will be denied visas, while South Africans returning home will be tested and quarantined. The government said on Monday that it will revoke 10,000 visas issued to people from China and Iran. It will also introduce visas for hard-hit countries like Italy and the US.
Kenya blocked entry into the country from all except citizens and residents. The ban, to be put into effect within 48 hours, will last for at least 30 days. The Kenyan government also shut down schools and universities. Authorities are encouraging citizens not to handle actual banknotes and coins — a possible source of contamination — and make all their transactions cashless. Kenya has recorded three cases, but there are fears of a rapid spread if strict measures are not taken right away. Neighboring Tanzania, which has one confirmed case, canceled flights to India.