Corona outbreak in Africa growing

The news was as thin as a camel thorn in the desert. A few days ago, the Egyptian Ministry of Health said that the first case of a man infected with the corona virus had been confirmed in Cairo: The “foreigner”, who had shown no symptoms of the virus, had been sent to an isolation center, which the World Health Organization (WHO) had instructed properly Service. It was later revealed that the man was a Chinese man and the isolation ward was a hospital in Matrouh, a good 400 km west of Cairo. The Egyptian government was apparently not worth more than that the man was the first confirmed corona case on African soil.

Experts have been warning about this incision for weeks. “If this disease comes to Africa, it will be even more dramatic than in China,” Bill Gates said at a conference of the “American Association for the Advancement of Science” at the weekend in Seattle, USA: On the weak continent, the virus could “ten.” Millions of people fall victim, “said the philanthropic Microsoft founder.

Nevertheless, the alarm bells were not triggered by the Cairo case – which is probably due to the fact that Egypt does not belong to Africa in the public consciousness. Health care in the border country between the Arab and African world is far superior to most of the countries south of the Sahara. In fact, it is the inadequate health systems that cause the greatest concerns for experts when it comes to the arrival of the virus in Africa.

Experts are surprised that the epidemic has still not reached Africa is – despite the close links that the continent maintains with the Middle Kingdom. Two million Chinese currently live in Africa, and hundreds of thousands of African students and business people are in China. So far, the two regions of the world have been directly connected by eight flights a day.

The wildest theses are being disseminated on social networks regarding the virus's supposed inability to settle in Africa. It is said that the pathogen is too hot there. Or also: Africans are immune to the virus. “Nonsense,” says corona expert Paul Hunter, who teaches medicine at the University of East Anglia in England. Who knows if the virus has not already arrived in Africa?

“We live in a prison”

will be at all international airports on the continent the body temperature of the passengers measured. However, since the virus can be transmitted before its forced host shows any symptoms, this precaution is at least inadequate. In the worst case, the virus is only discovered many days after arriving in a remote African country – after the patient has already infected hundreds.

Many Africans already suffer from the officially named “Covid – 19” virus, even if the pathogen has not yet arrived. South Africa's lobster fishermen can no longer send their catch to China – and so far they have 90 sent their prey to the Middle Kingdom. The tourism authorities are also complaining about a wave of cancellations – and that where South Africa will see the number of its Chinese visitors in the next ten years from 100. 000 wanted to increase to two million. Not a good start.

The worst lot, however, was drawn by the roughly 5000 young Africans who study in the Wuhan epidemic center: They have been sitting in their apartments for weeks, from the outside world cut off. “We live in a prison,” complains the South African businessman Pieter Viljoen on the phone of the Johannesburg weekly newspaper “Mail & Guardian”: “We feel left alone.” Many countries have long since evacuated their citizens living in the crisis region. Even the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria and Egypt have flown out of China.

The government of Senegal, on the other hand, is too expensive for an evacuation flight. And South Africa's government does not want to have heard of the poor condition of the people. “We have no idea who came up with the idea of ​​the desperate people who want to come back to South Africa,” said Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor on the radio on the weekend have to look. In the Mail & Guardian newspaper, teacher François Daneel, who teaches in Wuhan, is quoted as saying: “Things are getting worse and worse. We are alone in our crates. ”Many African students are already running out of money for food, the price of which has increased tenfold in recent weeks. The African Center for Disease Control has now appealed to the governments of the continent to bring their countrymen out of Wuhan.