Lockdown, state of emergency, health measures or simple recommendations… African governments are adopting a variety of strategies to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic.
State of emergency
Many States have decreed a state of emergency, a mechanism that makes it possible to govern by decrees or simple administrative measures, and therefore deal quickly with any danger.
Senegal, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and also Guinea and Niger have taken this route. It makes it possible to adopt measures that temporarily reduce individual freedoms, including curfews that prohibit movement or trade at night.
Dakar and Niamey are now under curfew as are Abidjan and Bouaké in Côte d’Ivoire. Similar measures have been decided in Mauritania, Egypt, and Gabon.
Guinea, like many other countries, has decided to close restaurants, bars, schools, universities, churches and mosques for two weeks. Similar measures are taken in Togo.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) warned that measures being taken in Asia, Europe and North America such as social distancing and regular hand washing will be a particular challenge for countries with limited internet connectivity, dense populations, unequal access to water and limited social safety nets.
Besides, beyond the loss in lives, the pandemic will have a devastating fallout on African countries’ economies as international and regional organizations predict the loss of nearly half of jobs in the continent due to coronavirus.
The ECA said the continent will be hit harder with a heavy and durable economic toll, which will threaten progress and prospects, widen inequalities between and within countries, and worsen current fragilities.
African countries need support in preparing for the health crisis, and for the economic fallout. ECA said.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on its part issued this Monday a call to action from the international community to assist developing countries with the enormous fallout they are expected to face due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The UNDP, which said in a statement that the crisis in developing countries threatens to devastate economies and increase inequality, warned that nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost, and noted that income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries.
“Without support from the international community, we risk a massive reversal of gains made over the last two decades, and an entire generation lost, if not in lives then in rights, opportunities, and dignity,” Achim Steiner, administrator of the UNDP said in a statement.