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African nations heighten coronavirus checks at entry points


Countries across Africa are on high alert, undertaking multiple safety measures to keep out the coronavirus epidemic.

At an entry point into Uganda for example, health officials have started screening people following as the first cases announced on the continent.

Eyul James, an aviation and public health specialist told reporters: “They were coughing and sneezing and when we checked they had some cold symptoms. We didn’t take any chances, we got them to take blood samples to check for coronavirus.”

In Angola, the government is tightening restrictions on entry into its territory. Over in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, trained personnel and devices have been placed at airports and borders to detect potential cases of contamination.

Next door, in the Republic of Congo, the government intends to quarantine all passengers coming from countries classified as high risk and more exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Cases of the disease have been reported in six African countries: Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal.

African governments are looking to their experience with Ebola as they prepare their fragile public systems for outbreaks of the new virus.

In 2014, an Ebola outbreak stormed West Africa, leaving more than 11,000 dead mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and also reaching Nigeria and Mali.

World Health Organisation and its international partners will hold two simultaneous COVID-19 awareness meetings this week in Senegal and Kenya.