Somalia races to prevent spread COVID-19amid calls for vigilance

Monday, April 13th, 2020 01:42 |
A Somali man is seen wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against COVID-19, along the streets of Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, April 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Hassan Bashi)


The Ministry of Health of Somalia has called on citizens to remain vigilant and follow health guidelines as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Horn of Africa nation.

Fawziya Abikar, the Health Minister cautioned that the deadly virus was gradually spreading within the population with individuals without recent travel history and contact with some of the confirmed cases, signaling cases of community transmission.

"I stress the importance to observe health guidelines, which include staying at home, observing social distance by keeping a distance of at least two meters from others, maintaining hand hygiene and avoiding handshakes," Abikar told journalist on Saturday evening.

The Horn of African nation which has so far confirmed 21 cases, one recovery and one death has instituted measures to contain the possible spread of COVID-19 including closing schools, banning large gatherings and suspending international and domestic passenger flights.

The minister who briefed the nation on the latest COVID-19 epidemic and the preventive measures the government is taking to contain the spread of the virus said two COVID-19 patients are in a critical state and as a result would need further medical care to save their lives.

She encouraged the public to provide special care for the elderly and persons with underlying health conditions.

Abikar reiterated a call to people with suspected COVID-19 symptoms to swiftly dial a toll-free number, which has been set up for the public to seek advice and report suspected cases across the country.

She said the government is committed to containing the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus infection in the country and would continue with its efforts to enforce preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, religious scholars and government officials on Sunday discussed the best ways to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country.

During the meeting convened by the minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Nur Mohamed Hassan, the religious scholars resolved to play a more active role in raising awareness on COVID-19 in the communities.

"The religious scholars agreed to establish a committee to assist the most vulnerable people in the community, especially those whose livelihoods will be most affected by the spread of the coronavirus as we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan," they said in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

They also agreed to establish a committee made up of government officials, health experts, and religious leaders who will decide on closure of mosques during Friday prayers "based on evidence." (Xinhua)

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