In the Central African Republic, the fight against the coronavirus continues. 671 cases have tested positive in Bangui and now many cities in the country are affected by the epidemic. Many cases are imported via Cameroon, border of CAR.
Paoua, one of the northern cities, close to the Cameroonian and Chadian border, has confirmed several cases. This city and its region are a risk zone for the development of Covid-19. On the spot, measures are taken – not always respected – and the means are lacking.
Five barriers surround the city of Paoua. Here, internal security forces monitor and register people entering the city. Bonaventure transports goods on his motorbike for a trader: “ I come from Bilakaré, 88 kilometers. There are controls. We found a lot of controls on the way. It doesn’t bother us, it’s for our health. “
A local Red Cross volunteer is on the scene. Without mask, without thermometer, he is visibly distraught. ” In Bossangoa or Bouar, people help volunteers from the Central African Red Cross. But here in Paoua, we have no help. There is no equipment to work. We only have flashlights, buckets and soap. Today we don’t work “. No sickness on Sunday? ” It’s a chef’s decision “, He specifies.
In the city, on the market, buckets have been put in place by NGOs. Local pharmacies sell a few masks like Marcel’s: ” 500 francs ! It’s locally made here. As you know, it is in relation to the disease. Yes, that worries us a little. People buy a lot. It’s to protect yourself. Yes, there are hand washing products, we bought from Bangui to sell here. “
But habits are difficult to change. Especially in places of worship. A circular prohibits gatherings of more than 15 people. But in the mosques and churches of Paoua, collective prayers continue. Local authorities such as Mayor Bernadette Moye are continuing to raise awareness. ” We thought a lot, she explains. Myself this morning, I went to raise awareness in the neighborhoods. No one in CAR has died of this disease yet, so people don’t believe it. But if it happens here, there is a risk of many deaths because in the Central African Republic, the bodies of the deceased are touched and mourned. We talk a lot to people about this disease. “
At the hospital, the chief doctor installed a small isolation ward. But there too, the challenges are numerous: lack of qualified personnel and protective equipment.