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Rwanda issues travel alert for DR Congo over Ebola case

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Rwanda’s health ministry on Monday urged citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after a case of Ebola was discovered in a city straddling its border.

The case was detected in Goma, a city of around one million that is separated by a border crossing from the town of Gisenyi, in western Rwanda.

Goma is the biggest urban hub to have been affected by Ebola since an outbreak that has killed more than 1,600 people began in DR Congo’s North Kivu province last August.

The crossing between Goma and Gisenyi is one of the most traversed in the region, with thousands making the journey back and forth each day.

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The health ministry said while no cases of Ebola had been detected in Rwanda, it was vital citizens played their part in helping prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

“The ministry of health reminds citizens and residents not to make unnecessary border crossings and travels to areas in neighbouring countries where Ebola has been reported,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We also advise that citizens and residents should not provide unnecessary accommodation to travellers who are coming from areas of neighbouring countries where Ebola has been reported.”

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Health Minister Diane Gashumba, who visited towns along Rwanda’s western frontier on Monday, said the government “would not close the border” but would bolster monitoring of those coming in and out of DR Congo.

Almost all the victims in this outbreak — the second-worst in Ebola’s history — were from DR Congo.

Two people who crossed from DR Congo into Uganda also died in June, but that country has now declared itself Ebola-free.

Experts fret when a contagious disease occurs in a city, where contact, mobility and anonymity make it far harder to contain an outbreak than in the countryside.

The Goma patient was described as a pastor who had been on a trip to Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak in North Kivu.

There, he preached at seven churches and regularly touched worshippers, “including the sick,” the country’s health ministry said.

His symptoms first surfaced last Tuesday, it said.

Ebola spreads when humans touch the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids.

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Inside China’s sure-fire strategy of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic » Capital News

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Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in late 2019, China has gone all out to fight the disease. The speed, intensity and coverage of China’s response have been unprecedented in the world.

Since January 2020, infection figures of the disease within China have reduced drastically, with almost no deaths being reported currently. Almost all cases detected in the country today are imported.

Indeed, effectively curbing the disease did not happen by chance. China’s Government, led by President Xi Jinping, came up with, and implemented a series of measures to great effect.

The first strategy was setting up a unified principle and leadership. To fight such serious and massive pandemic, leadership and command are most important. From the beginning, China’s central government established the guiding principle as, “place people’s life, security and health above anything else”.

An Inter-agency Prevention and Central task force was set up, working efficiently to ensure all urgent issues were quickly resolved.

Secondly, China’s government mobilised what it called a “People’s War”. The entire nation was mobilised. All the 31 provinces in China’s mainland were activated to first-level public health emergency response, taking the most comprehensive and rigorous measures possible.

Various teams including experts, medical teams, engineers and construction workers were deployed to the worst-hit areas. The Chinese government allocated USD 9.4 billion for fighting the outbreak, with over 20 tons of medical supplies handled and delivered every hour. In addition, patient subsidy policies were implemented.

Both urban and rural citizens made joint efforts to prevent and contain the outbreak. Residents spontaneously formed patrol teams to supervise the work, with communities regularly sanitising compounds and making daily mandatory reports so as to cut off the transmission of the virus.

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For the Chinese, the Spring Festival is always a golden season for family reunions, visiting friends, traveling and shopping. However, due to the pandemic, the entire population readily subjected themselves to home quarantine.

Instead of complaining, the people commented jokingly that, “staying at home is contributing to our country”. Citizens also managed to entertain themselves creatively through holding “cloud parties” and playing “dinner table tennis”. This portrayed both a high sense of discipline and humour of the Chinese people.

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Thirdly, the Chinese decided to fight as one people. Hubei Province, and especially the Wuhan epicentre, was not left alone by the rest of the country. Over 23,000 medical staff were mobilised and deployed to Hubei to offer the much-needed support.

In a span of less than two weeks, two new specialised hospitals with over 2,600 beds for the new coronavirus treatment were constructed in Wuhan. A dozen of mobile cabin hospitals were also assembled to treat patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Both the Central and Local governments made an emergency allocation of about US$ 10 billion worth of reserve medical supplies for protective suits, masks and medicine to Wuhan and Hubei Province, and the country as a whole. Today, most factories nationwide have resumed production of the medical supplies to relieve the shortage.

The fourth line of attack involved fighting using scientific measures. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and other medical research institutes both at home and abroad managed to separate the virus, and are currently identifying a seed strain. Subsequently, China managed to develop detection devices and reagents to manage the virus nationwide.

Today, the best Chinese experts around the world are racing against time to develop treatment methods and prevention measures. China is also working closely with the World Health Organisation in undertaking relevant research, and develop new drugs and vaccines against the virus.

Prevention and control measures are continuously being improved and strengthened. In the last several weeks, patients have been diagnosed, reported, isolated, and treated within a very short time. People who have had close contact with patients are under close medical observation. All these are aimed at preventing further spread of the disease.

Most critical is the fifth strategy, which has involved Chinese authorities acting with utmost openness, promptness, and transparency. The Chinese government is working closely with the WHO in fighting the pandemic.

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The Chinese authorities continue to update the data and status report on a daily basis, including sharing best practices with the international community. In Kenya, the Chinese Embassy has kept close touch with the government, particularly the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, and Transport in coordinating prevention and control efforts.

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Cameroon turns stadium into isolation centre as virus cases hit 650

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NDI EUGENE NDI

By NDI EUGENE NDI
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Yaounde. Cameroon has turned a football stadium in the country into an accommodation centre for coronavirus patients as authorities grapple with lack of space to lodge and treat the growing number of people testing positive for the virus.

Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie, said on Saturday that the Yaounde military stadium will now serve as one of the large capacity centres in the capital expected to increase the country’s management capacity to more than 3,000 beds.

He had earlier accompanied the Secretary General of the Cameroon Presidency, Mr Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, for an inspection of the stadium.

Authorities are also using some newly constructed social housing apartments in the country as accommodation centres.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Central African country have hit 650 as it recorded nine deaths and 17 recoveries.

The country was the fifth on the continent with the highest number of confirmed cases after South Africa, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco as at Saturday.

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According to the Public Health Minister, the growing number of identified cases of the virus is thanks to a revised government strategy which includes mass generalised testing.

A mass testing campaign began in the country’s economic hub, Douala, with community health workers going round neighbourhoods to find potential positive cases.

“Similarly, there is a large order for respiratory assistance equipment through the central procurement office of the United Nations Development Programme,” the minister said.

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Woman begs CS Kagwe to release her from extended quarantine – Nairobi News

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A woman placed under mandatory quarantine has captured the attention of Kenyans with her passionate appeal to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

The young woman penned an emotional open letter to the Health CS asking him to reconsider the 14-day extension of their isolation.

Kagwe on Saturday announced that those who have been in quarantine centres will have to extend their stay their by a fortnight.

This is after it emerged that some of those quarantined were sneaking out to go partying, a move that could further spread Covid-19.

In the letter written from quarantine at Pride Inn Azure hotel in Nairobi, the woman lamented that it wasd unfair for individuals who have been adhering to the government’s orders in quarantine to be punished for the sins of those who have been flouting the rules.

“We continue observing quarantine rules even though the rest of us tested negative. We wear masks every time we step out of our rooms. Sir, we are not party to the cases you cited in your press briefing. We therefore PLEAD with you to INTERVENE in our case, and authorise our release after our 14 days quarantine are over. Some of us are due to check out of the hotel on Monday the 6th of April,” read part of the letter.

In a separate video recording, the young woman experiences an emotional breakdowns as she narrates her experience in isolation.

She said she arrived in the country on March 23, and was taken to the hotel for quarantine, a stay she lamented has been unpleasant.

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The woman narrated how she had suffered four panic attacks while some of her fellow students quarantined at the same hotel often break down in tears.

“My greetings to everyone watching this video, I arrived in Kenya on the 23rd of March after I flew in from Canada. We were taken to a hotel where we were told we should quarantine and I complied. Now what happens on the 12th day we are told that we have to stay for 14 more days after our period is over. Considering we had followed all the government had said.

“So many of us are university students in the hotel, there is a pregnant mother who needs prenatal care and she is not getting that. So many of us are travelling from abroad and it is like our mental health has not been put into consideration at all. All this is taking a toll on our mental health if we won’t be affected by the virus for sure we will get so many panic attacks.”

I have had four panic attacks in the last two hours. The government has not taken into consideration the mental health of all the people quarantined,” complain the University student.

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