Enhancing Peace and Security in the Eastern Africa Region

Timely Response to Covid-19

Since the Covid-19 emerged in December 2019, numerous nations have taken various measures to combat the virus. Some countries have implemented total shutdown while others locked specific zones or areas especially where there’s high infectious rate and confirmed positive cases.

Eastern Africa Standby Force region is one of the regions reported lower fatality to Covid-19 and also the positive cases of the infection still remain relatively low, this is due to timely measures taken by governments in the region like tracking, tracing, mass testing, and restricting the movement in and outside of the countries. EASF region has taken a very decent technique to respond to this health crisis and tackled the disease from spreading. Uganda is a good example to benchmark. as up to 24th August, it has confirmed only two deaths until now related to Covid-19 and 2,362 positive cases. The government of Uganda was the first nation in EASF region which imposed total lockdown and movement restriction On March 25, 2020, the government banned public transport and nonfood markets prior to that it had closed bars and impose mandatory quarantine to the arrivals particularly those from the countries with high rates of infection.

Seychelles is another member state of EASF, which has successful story of handling the Covid-19 with zero deaths recorded till now. The first two cases of infection were reported on March 14, 2020 and reached its peak on April 6, 2020 The public health team reacted promptly and effectively to establish emergency protocols with the directions of the WHO, to respond to the covid-19 crisis to treat the active cases and curb the spreading of the Covid-19 virus within its population. Provision for quarantine facilities and an immediate rapid response team was created from the time WHO had declared Covid-19 a pandemic in mid-January.

On 20 March, the government of Rwanda imposed a nationwide lockdown and it has also put in place a very comprehensive public health system which is robust and rapid on 14 March. Once cases emerged, systematic tracing began, with assistance from security organizations and the office of the president. This resulted into a low fatality rate due to Covid-19. As of 24th August, Rwanda reported only 12 deaths cases while positive cases are around 3,089. Another move was massive financial support to protect small business and to sustain non-governmental staff in the payroll as the central bank of Rwanda ordered to the private banks to ease the access of the loans with almost low or no interest rate, this has prevented many companies from total collapse.

Ethiopia never imposed a local lockdown in the country but instead it has taken other measures to tackle the infection from spreading. The government’s rapid initial response was crucial. In January, it introduced strict passenger-screening protocols at Addis Ababa’s International Airport, East Africa’s largest aviation hub. The Ministry of Health and local and regional governments jointly conducted house-to-house screenings of more than 11 million households containing 40 million people in the capital and provinces. And diagnostic testing was scaled up from zero in early March to over 5,000 tests per day by May, though it continues to be a major challenge. Despite being the most populated country in EASF region, Ethiopia has recorded 678 deaths and 40,671 cases with high recovery rate of Covid-19.

According to recent figures from the African Center for Disease Control, the total cases of death related to Covid in Africa is around 18,160. Fortunately, the chaos that many health experts were repeatedly echoing about Corona virus and how it will devastate the continent have not come to fruition.

 

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