AFRICA/NIGER - Concerns about the collapse of healthcare facilities after the first case of COVID-19

Saturday, 21 March 2020 coronavirus   missionaries  

Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "Yesterday evening a big rain came to 'wash' the dreaded virus that officially contaminated a person who traveled through various Countries", reports to Fides Fr. Mauro Armanino, missionary of the Society of African Missions (SMA) from the capital of Niger, Niamey.
According to local authorities, we are talking about a Nigerian truck driver who left from Lomé (Togo), arrived in Niger, passing through Accra (Ghana), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
Fr. Mauro describes the current situation in Niger, one of the poorest Countries in Africa and in the world: "Here too, in Niger, as elsewhere, measures have been taken to close all schools, international meetings, workshops, mosques and churches... There is some fear, especially on behalf of the authorities, because health facilities are collapsing given the lack of medical equipment". The land and air borders have also been closed.
"People are invited to pay attention to the symptoms, to wash their hands more often and avoid large gatherings (baptisms, weddings and funerals ...)", continues the missionary. "It is certainly not easy given the social proximity, for example to the market, which is daily".
"Above all, it is hoped that the heat and sand will 'save' Niger", concludes the missionary.
Niger is the 36th out of 54 African Countries to register at least one case of coronavirus infection. According to data from the WHO (World Health Organization) in Africa there are over 700 cases registered so far with at least 17 victims. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fide, 21/3/2020)