July 4, 2020
COVID-19 updates: Containment Reality in Yaounde

From the article: "In nearly every taxi I took on the days following the Prime Minister’s announcement, “Corona Virus” was the hot topic. People were either talking about the effects of the illness around the world or the difficult applicability of the safety measures in our African context.

While some people thought the government’s decision to close every school and university was an overreaction leading to uncertainty about the pupils’ future education, others thought that it was the right decision.

In one taxi I met a man arguing that because of the government the entire academic year will be cancelled, students will not have their national examinations and will decide to definitely quit from school (I am still to figure out how he came up with such a “brilliant” conclusion).

A woman retorted that his argument was absurd and that students will have their national exams since more than half percent of the academic programs has been covered. The man and woman kept arguing on corona virus related issues and granted the other passengers of some silence only when the woman got out of the taxi. On that day I asked myself, why are they all talking about it and at the same time being negligent about social distancing? It is during such conversations in public transport that you discover how superficial some people’s knowledge of the subject is.

The ignorant people will often argue that the corona virus cannot kill “us” black men and that due to high temperatures in Africa it cannot survive. Others will tell you that every bitter traditional drink can kill the virus and will keep quite when you ask for proofs.

On the other hand, you find during such conversations some people listen to the news every day. One will talk to you of the international travellers kept under quarantine in hotels for 14 days because that’s how long the virus can take to incubate itself in human bodies, others when seeing you wearing a medical mask immediately tell you that masks are for medical health staff and patients and that the safest attitude is staying home, washing your hands with running water and soap often and avoiding hand contact with the face because the nose, mouth and eyes are the main entrance for the virus.

The recurrence of COVID-19 conversations in public transport tells how preoccupied or affected the people are. Nevertheless, we notice that the crowd in market places is as affluent as before the outbreak of the virus. Could we be so carefree as to not change our behaviours in order to save our lives?"