CoronaVirus In Africa: Lessons From Singapore

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The Corona Virus (Covid-19) is raging like a wildfire and it needs to be contained before more havoc is recorded. Currently, the worldwide confirmed cases have surpassed 220,000 cases and more than 9,000 deaths. The confirmed cases have cut across race, geographical location, gender, demographic. No one is invincible, businesses both small and big corporations are being affected greatly. The global stock value has been badly hit to the time of 20 trillion U.S dollars.

Africa countries have recently experienced a surge in the confirmed new cases and it is worrisome how several African countries that once suffered greatly from the Ebola outbreak will be able to contain the Covid-19 virus. 33 countries in Africa had recorded more than 600 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths according to the World Health Organization.

There are literally no or little sophisticated health care systems in several African countries and there is concern that this pandemic may overpower and cripple the health care system in the continent. However there a few countries across the world that have successfully contained the spread of the Coronavirus. Countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore just to mention a few. There are a few lessons that several African countries can learn from

For instance, Singapore has been able to contain the spread by being proactive and been ahead of the virus through extensive and sophisticated contact tracking strategy. This strategy involves identifying and isolating the chain of people that may have been in contact with the. With this strategy, they are able to prevent further spread of the virus.

There is a dedicated team of people whose responsibility is to interview patients once it is confirmed that they have the virus. The patients are asked several questions such as which places they have visited, people have been in contact with within a 2 meters space and more than 30 minutes. Immediately those who have had close contact with the person infected are found, they are served with a 14-day quarantine order. Anyone who breaks this quarantine order faces a fine of 6,900 USD or faces 6 months in jail or both in some cases.

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Steps by steps of the Singaporean contact tracking system

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Countries in Africa can adopt and adapt this strategy to combat the pandemic before it becomes a major threat to lives and prosperity. However, this strategy can only work if the right facilities are available, which is lacking in several African countries. 

Recommendation

The primary health centers should be converted to drive-in test centers. This will enable people in the rural and remote areas to get tested without migrating beyond their geographical setting. This will prevent and contain the spread of the virus. This will also reduce both the stress and the number of hours required to get to the test centers and required to get tested.

The confirmed cases should be moved to specialized and teaching hospitals, controlled and supervised by the governments. This will enable limited resources such as beds, medical personnel’s to be adequately allocated, supervised and utilized.

Measures such as encouraging people to work from home, schools remaining shut down and social distancing. There should thermal imaging cameras in front of landmarks buildings, and provisions of hand sanitizers available in strategic locations.

In addition, the governments should put in place an enforcement team consisting of personnel from the paramilitary to enforce preventive directives.

Author 

Adetunji Bolorunduro has expertise in Business Strategy, Business Development and Chinese Investments in Africa. He writes regularly for Opera News, Richtopia (London), Africa Business Chamber of Commerce among others.

Adetunji Bolorunduro can be reached via adetunjibolorunduro@gmail.com

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