By Boris Esono Nwenfor
203 new cases have been confirmed in Cameroon, as the total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus reaches 509. This information was released by Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health in his daily briefing as the figure for April 3, breaking April 4.
This is the highest number of cases the country has had since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus was detected in the country. Eight people have died from the virus in Cameroon while 17 have recovered.
It is reported that the number of cases will sour if the social distancing measures, basic hygiene and other measures are not scrupulously respected by the population.
Minister Manaouda Malachie said: “The new confirmed cases were part of a large-scale sampling and testing that involved some 800 people who were suspected and their samples taken during the week,” while adding that the new cases “although asymptomatic have a high potential for contamination.”
The hot bed for the coronavirus remains Cameroon’s political capital Yaounde with over 240 cases recorded. Douala follows suit with some 51 cases while the South West Region has recorded two cases this far, one in Buea who died and the other in Limbe.
As part of containment efforts, Minister Manaouda Malachie has said that “Similarly, there is a large order for respiratory assistance equipment through the central procurement office of the United Nations Development Programme.”
The government is equally reorienting its strategy is it struggles to bring to an end the coronavirus in the country. The strategy involves massive and generalized testing, placement in immediate treatment of cases, active surveillance of suspected cases, awareness of the population (hygiene, distance), border control, and development of reliable local expertise for the response.
“My dear brothers and sisters, the coronavirus is a reality that should not be ignored. Let us protect our loved ones, protect ourselves. We should respect basic hygiene rules, and stay at home as much as possible,” the Minister of Public Health stressed.
The government has extended by 15 days some restrictive measures put in place to reduce the spread of the virus. The measures put in place include the shutting down of schools, borders, banning of gathering of more than fifty people, and encouraging people to follow hygiene rules.
Some of these rules have however not been fully respected across the national territory prompting Governors and Divisional Officers in some locality to close down the businesses for violating the laid rules. Security personnel have also been dispatched to the field to enforce the measures.
In the late hours of April 3, security officers were seen at Bonduma, a neighbourhood in Buea, South West Region checking and making sure that taxi drivers do not overload. The taxi drivers have been told to carry not more than three persons, two behind and one in front including the driver.
The Governor of the South West region Bernard Okalia Bilai has in a latest communiqué banned drinking spots in the Region, while eateries have also been told to close. Bars, night clubs are also not left out.