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06 Apr 2020 | 07:45 AM UTC

Côte d’Ivoire: Residents destroy COVID-19 testing center in Abidjan April 5

Residents destroy coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center in Yopoungon district (Abidjan) on April 5; similar incidents possible in the near term

health
security
CIV

Event

According to police and health ministry sources, local residents destroyed a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center, which was under construction in the Yopoungon district of Abidjan, on Sunday, April 5. Local residents were reportedly protesting the fact that the center was located in close proximity to their homes.

This is the first security incident related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

A heightened security presence is expected in the around other coronavirus testing centers in Abidjan. Similar incidents are possible nationwide.

As of Monday, April 6, there are 261 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three associated deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected.

Context

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.

Advice

Individuals in Cote d'Ivoire, and Abidjan especially, are advised to keep abreast of the situation, remain vigilant, avoid all gatherings due to the risk of violence, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home government.

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 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.