Ladies and Gentlemen,
In December 2019, the coronavirus outbreak was declared in the Wuhan Province of the People’s Republic of China. Over time, it gradually spread to Asia, Europe and Africa, resulting in the death or quarantine of several people. A few days ago, the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus has gone from an epidemic to a pandemic, with over 170,000 cases in 146 countries, and about 6,500 deaths.
Cameroon, like many States in the world, is not spared by this pandemic. From the very first hours of its emergence, the Government implemented a prevention and response plan aimed at stemming the spread of this epidemic. To date, 10 people have been diagnosed with this virus in our country and are being treated by specialised services. It should be noted, however, that so far no local outbreaks of this epidemic have been recorded in Cameroon and the cases identified so far are persons who have recently been abroad or persons who have come in contact with them.
However, in the face of what now appears to be a global health crisis, the measures taken so far deserve to be strengthened to prevent the spread of this virus in our country.
Consequently, on the instructions of the Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, an inter-ministerial consultation was held this Tuesday, 17 March 2020, to assess the situation and identify appropriate actions to be implemented. At the end of this meeting, the President of the Republic instructed the following measures as from Wednesday 18 March 2020, till further notice:
- Cameroon’s land, air and sea borders will be closed: consequently, all passenger flights from abroad will be suspended, with the exception of cargo flights and vessels transporting consumer products and essential goods and materials, whose stopover times will be limited and supervised: Cameroonians who wish to come back home should contact our diplomatic representations.
- The issuance of entry visas to Cameroon at the various airports shall be suspended
- All public and private training establishments of the various levels of education, from nursery school to higher education, including vocational training centres and professional schools, will be closed;
- Gatherings of more than fifty (50) persons are prohibited throughout the national territory;
- School and university competitions, like the FENASSCO and University games are postponed;
- Under the supervision of administrative authorities, bars, restaurants and entertainment spots will be systematically closed from 6 p.m.;
- A system for regulating consumer flows will be set up in markets and shopping centres;
- Urban and inter-urban travel should only be undertaken in cases of extreme necessity;
- Drivers of buses, taxis and motorbikes are urged to avoid overloading: law enforcement officers will ensure they comply;
- Private health facilities, hotels and other lodging facilities, vehicles and specific equipment necessary for the implementation of the COVID-19 pandemic response plan in Cameroon may be requisitioned as required, by competent authorities;
- Public administrations shall give preference to electronic communications and digital tools for meetings likely to bring together more than ten (10) people;
- Missions abroad of members of Government and public and para-public sector employees are hereby suspended;
- The public is urged to strictly observe the hygiene measures recommended by the World Health Organization, including regular hand washing with soap, avoiding close contact such as shaking hands or hugging, and covering the mouth when sneezing.
These are difficult but necessary measures to ensure the protection of each and every one and to limit the spread of this pandemic.
In case of need, the public is invited to call the toll-free number 1510 set up for the mobilization of rescue teams.
The Government calls on the public not to panic, but to show discipline, solidarity and a sense of responsibility at a time when the whole world is going through difficult times.