On Thursday, April 9, authorities announced that the use of protective face masks will be made mandatory in all public spaces nationwide as of Monday, April 13, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. Anyone not complying with the new measure is liable to be sanctioned by authorities.
Previously, the Cameroonian government announced on Tuesday, March 31, that current measures in effect to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be extended for another 15 days. All land, air, and sea borders remain closed and passenger flights from abroad are suspended. Only cargo ships and flights bringing food and essential items will be allowed to enter the country. Authorities have also suspended issuing entry visas at airports. Government and public workers are also prohibited from traveling abroad.
School and university classes are suspended nationwide, along with sporting events. All bars, restaurants, and similar establishments must close by 18:00 (local time). Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited and meetings of more than ten people are discouraged. Bus, taxi, and mototaxi drivers are being advised to avoid overloading their vehicles. Authorities are also asking the public to avoid intercity travel unless absolutely necessary.
As of Wednesday, April 10, there are 803 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12 related deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.