Senegal cancels independence anniversary party to lead virus fight

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Senegal is working with a UK company to develop a quick and simple $1 (£0.80) test

 

Senegal has cancelled celebrations to mark its 60th anniversary of independence from France because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The West African nation has 140 active cases of Covid-19 – 66 people have recovered and one person has died over the last month.

Senegal has become one of the countries in Africa leading the fight against coronavirus.

It has declared a state of emergency, closed its land, air and sea borders to all but essential goods. It also banned public gatherings.

According to reports, it has mainly focused on tracking potential infections, such that anyone who had been in contact with an infected person had been put up in a hotel and quarantined for 14 days.

Senegal has been pioneering the use of an anti-malarial drug, ‘chloroquine’, to treat coronavirus patients.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says its effectiveness has not been proven.

Other respected medical institutions have also warned against the hype surrounding the drug.

But Senegal’s Culture Minister and government spokesman, Abdou Latif Coulibaly,  said that doctors in the country had seen what he described as “rapid improvement” in patients treated with chloroquine.

“The WHO is not going to tell us what to do,” he insisted.

“Our doctors can do what they want.”

Although with nearly 8,000 confirmed cases across the continent, Africa has not yet been hit as hard as other continents.

Senegal is working with a UK company to develop a quick and simple $1 (£0.80) test.

The test can be performed without electricity and this would be of particular use for Africa’s rural communities, which often do not have access to power.

 

Olajumoke Adeleke