How are African countries opening up after managing the coronavirus?

Nii Ntreh Sep 7, 2020 at 04:30pm

September 07, 2020 at 04:30 pm | News, Opinions & Features

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

September 07, 2020 at 04:30 pm | News, Opinions & Features

Like a few other countries in the region, Ghana has reopened its international airport in the capital Accra. Photo Credit: Jetsanza.com

Africa’s story of the coronavirus has resembled nothing like what many experts predicted but that is also far from a confirmation that the region is out of the woods

The continent of more than 1.2 billion has the most favorable rate of cases per capita than any other although the worst national rate, South Africa’s, puts the country up as one of the worst affected by the coronavirus in the world.

In all, some 31,082 have died on the continent as of September 6. According to the African Union’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,293,048 have been infected but 1,031,905 people have since recovered.

The low number of infections and deaths on the continent have triggered questions from public health experts and other stakeholders. Recently, the curiosity for these answers got the BBC into trouble after the news service suggested in a headline that Africa’s low death rate could be as a result of poverty on the continent.

In January, Face2face Africa tried to analyze Africa’s capacity to deal with the issues on the magnitude of what the coronavirus was shaping up to be. The continent’s management of Ebola outbreaks provided some insight.

Now, as countries try to go through what has become the new normal, we take a look at how some of the continent’s most influential countries are living with COVID-19.

Kenya

Kenya announced in July that international air transport will resume on August 1 as part of a phased reopening. The country’s economy was severely dented by four months of low productivity occasioned by restrictive policies such as a lockdown in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Pressure was piled on the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta to meet struggling Kenyans halfway even as the country tried to keep infection rate as low as it could be. Authorities yielded and now, Kenyans in small and medium scale businesses can resume their businesses provided they observe safety protocols.

However, Kenyan schools with the exception of universities, will reopen in January and every student is expected to repeat their class.

Ghana

Ghana’s schools non-tertiary schools are also expected to open in January. University students have been allowed to go back to school to complete terms that were derailed midway in March.

With the exception of nightclubs and cinemas, most of Ghana’s entertainment and public centers have now opened under strict COVID-19 protocols. Offices that sent home their workers to work are also increasingly returning to running fully-staffed workspaces.

While Ghana’s only international airport is opened, its land borders with Burkina Faso, Togo, and Cote d’Ivoire remain closed.

South Africa

In South Africa, the coronavirus revealed the underbelly of sub-Sahara Africa’s best economy. South Africa, one of the world’s most unequal countries, has struggled to offer its poor the opportunities to live through the pandemic with dignity.

But under a four-part reopening scheme, the country has looked to increase productivity as restrictions are lessened and testing for the virus intensifies.

The government now says: “Restaurants, take-aways, and food establishments are allowed to open for delivery and collection of food. Sit-down meals are allowed with strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures. All restaurants must adhere to the curfew of 22:00. Alcohol sales is permitted in line with stipulated legislation.”

Many offices in commercial centers are back at work while the government remains cautious about international flights coming into the country.

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