By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Cameroon has recorded its first dead due to the coronavirus that is sweeping across various countries across the globe, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health Dr Manaouda Malachie has said.
“This is patient 3 who came to us from Italy already very affected by the disease. Sincere condolences to his family, and courage to our health professional,” the Minister said in a tweet.
This number is expected to go up as the days go by. By March 21, the number of cases in Cameroon were at 40.
Cameroon has recorded the most cases of the virus so far in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, the number of confirmed cases have jump by 128 to 554 and counting. Egypt has recorded 402 cases, Burkina Faso has 114 cases, Nigeria is at 46 cases.
Dr Manaouda Malachie has continued to urge the population to honour the measures put in place by the government to prevent the spread of the virus. He said: “I would like to call again for a sacred union around measures to combat the coronavirus. It is together, in discipline, solidarity, and in all responsibility that we will overcome.”
There is however is debate ongoing whether this confirmed dead was the second or the first case as said by authorities in Cameroon. Earlier, former Cameroonian footballer Patrick Mboma posted on his Twitter account that he had lost his uncle Achille Essome Moukouri due to the coronavirus.
“Bad News! A call from my mum at 5am this Monday informed me of the death of my uncle. To all Cameroonians who think the virus is an illusion, I am advising you guys to stay at home. This is the only way out,” Mboma wrote on Twitter.
The government has dispelled that saying the death was not as a result of the virus. Officials of the Laquintini hospital in Douala acknowledge reports of the death but denied reports it was due to the coronavirus.
The Director of the Hospital Dr Njock Louis Richard is on record to have told CRTVWeb that Achille was a diabetic and had cardiac problems which are that likely cause of his death. However, the Director has denied that he granted an interview to the national station disproving saying the death was not due to the coronavirus. According to him, Achille Essome did indeed die of covid-19.
This incident has caused mixed feelings amongst the Cameroonian population who continue to accuse the government of wanting to cover the supposed death case at the Laquintini hospital in Douala.
The coronavirus has since been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, WHO with medical personnel urgently seeking for a vaccine for the virus.
Some 19,752 people have died so far from the coronavirus outbreak as of March 25. There are currently 440,318 confirmed cases in 196 countries and territories. The fatality rate is still being assessed.
Amid the growing number of confirmed cases, another figure is equally staggering — the number of those who have recovered from the virus. More than 82,000 people and counting have so far recovered from the coronavirus.