The Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Nuno Nabiam, alongside three members of his cabinet have tested positive for coronavirus.
The country’s minister of health, Antonia Deuno, on Wednesday said Mr Nabiam; the Interior Minister, Botche Cande; Secretary of State for Public Order, Mario Fambe; and Secretary for State for Regional Integration Monica Boiro were diagnosed on Tuesday and have since been quarantined at a hotel in the capital, Bissau.
“I have tested positive for the new coronavirus; I am at home and I feel good. The virus exists and spreads easily. Stay at home and take all measures to save your life and that of your family.”
A policeman attached to the interior ministry anonymously told AFP “we are all afraid, because in our ministry, despite the barrier measures, we meet very frequently, we sometimes talk to each other without wearing masks.”
A source told the news agency that tests are also underway at a Navy unit where the police chief had paid a visit shortly before his death.
The National Police Commissioner for national order, Biom Nantchongo, died on Sunday at Simao Mendes National Hospital. His death is the first in Guinea Bissau.
The country of about 1.8 million residents has made efforts to raise awareness but still some citizens are in doubt when it comes to the existence of the virus.
“I wear a mask to protect myself from the dust, not the virus! I don’t believe in it. I’m using it as I’m also going to visit someone who’s sick in the hospital,” Udé Djassi, a shopper admitted to Africanews.
On the other hand, Aissatu Candé, a vegetable seller, said she does not wear a mask because of an existing health problem “I don’t use a mask because I have a heart palpitation problem. That’s why.”
Guinea Bissau has 205 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 19 recoveries, and one death.
Meanwhile, Ghana has recorded more than 1,000 additional cases of coronavirus since the country lifted its lockdown.
Last week, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo lifted a three-week lockdown on the basis of “improved coronavirus testing”.
The Ghanaian president had said non-essential businesses in Accra and Kumasi could reopen but under guidelines of social distancing.
He said Ghanaians should make use of face masks in public places.
“In view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact of infected persons, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres, our better understanding of the dynamism of the virus, the ramping up our domestic capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment, sanitisers and medicines, the modest successes chalked at containing the spread of the virus in Accra and Kumasi, and the severe impact of the poor and vulnerable, I have taken the decision to lift the three-week-old restriction on movements in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and the contiguous districts, with effect from 1am on Monday, 20th April,” he had said.
As of April 19 when the lockdown was lifted, the country had recorded 1,042 cases, and 99 recoveries.
However, figures from the Ghana’s ministry of health on Thursday showed that the country currently has 2,074 confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of which 212 recoveries and 17 deaths have been recorded.
This implies an increase of 1,032 cases since the lockdown was lifted.
Ghana is the first country in the West African region to lift the restriction on movement.
Similarly, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari had announced the partial reopening of the country’s economy after five weeks of lockdown.
A nationwide curfew is expected to commence on May 4, while a ban on school activities and religious gatherings will remain.