Several African nations have imposed travel restrictions from high-risk western countries to combat COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
COVID-19 has killed over 6000 people worldwide and infected more than 162,000 others, according to virus tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins, prompting several African nations to act fast even though there were still less than 300 confirmed cases on Sunday evening.
Ghana and Kenya were the first two African nations to announce new measures prohibiting travelers from countries affected by Covid-19.
The Democratic Republic of Congo imposed quarantine measures on travelers from Italy, France, China and Germany.
Several reports said after restricting travelers from high-risk countries to quarantine, Mauritania deported 15 Italian tourists and Tunisia deported 30 other Italians for violating theirs.
“Rwanda, Uganda, Mali, and others have imposed similar quarantine measure for European travelers, while across the continent, passengers are screened for their temperature at international airports. A Cameroonian news outlet reported higher arrivals from Italy due to people trying escape their coronavirus-infected country,” The Intercept reported.
In Nigeria, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar called on Africa’s most populous country to impose travel restrictions and President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a task force to combat the virus though he has resisted call for a travel restriction or ban.
In a long statement on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared a national state of disaster using the Disaster Management Act.
“This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism that will focus on preventing and reducing the outbreak of this virus. We will also be able to set up emergency, rapid and effective response systems to mitigate the severity of its impact,” he said.
Many domestic measures are also being put in place. For instance, Ghana, Senegal and Kenya have announced school closures.