Somalia's surge in Covid-19 cases raises alarm

A man wears a mask as a protective measure to curb Covid-19 while bathing at Lido beach in Mogadishu, Somalia on April 4, 2020. PHOTO | ABDIRAZAK HUSSEIN FARAH | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Authorities in Somalia were now scrambling to prevent spread beyond the capital Mogadishu.
  • Somalia, which is already buckling under the pressure of fighting Al-Shabaab, may find itself in a deeper crisis should it spread beyond the city.

Somalia’s Covid-19 cases have soared to 135, five times the number at the start of last week in what is turning out to be a frightening tally for the Horn of Africa country.

The Federal Ministry of Health on Saturday night issued a statement outlining that the number of individuals found positive in Somalia had gone up by 19.

Health Minister Dr fawzia Abikar Nur said that cases had risen from 116 on Friday, with the trend standing at at least 15 people per day since Tuesday last week.

“Today we tested 25 persons, resulting in 19 positives,” said Dr Nur.

On Thursday, the positive cases stood at 80 and increased to 116 when 36 tested positive on Friday.

The numbers given are apparently shocking, considering that out of 47 tests on Friday 36 were found positive while 25 tests on Saturday gave 19 positives.

Authorities in Somalia were now scrambling to prevent spread beyond the capital Mogadishu.

Already, the government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the capital and banned public gatherings at mosques, beaches and restaurants in a bid to impose social distancing.

Somalia, which is already buckling under the pressure of fighting Al-Shabaab, may find itself in a deeper crisis should it spread beyond the city.

Nearly 75 percent of the estimated population of 15 million people are poor and mostly illiterate, giving authorities the challenge of communicating hygiene guidelines in the most basic language.

Only two people have fully recovered so far since the virus was first detected on March 16.

Seven others have since succumbed to the disease.

The government announced it had dedicated $5 million to cushion against further transmission of the virus.

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