Cameroon: COVID 19 Emergency Situation Report No. 05 – As of 30 July 2020

HIGHLIGHTS
• As of 28 July, 17,255 coronavirus cases have been registered in Cameroon making the country the 7th most affected in Africa after South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria and Morocco.
• The COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on small producers because of the closure of the national borders. In the tomato sector, a significant decline of income has been reported by producers.
• Despite the progression of the pandemic, the Government of Cameroon is considering the reopening of its national borders – land, maritime and air – as a measure to ease the COVID-19 related socio-economic pressure, especially on agriculture.
• The United Nations staff who tested negative for COVID-19 after two weeks of quarantine have resumed duty. Those still COVID-19 positive remain in quarantine and teleworking.
• The Isolation and Care Centre for COVID-19 patients in Douala was inaugurated on 16 July by the Minister of Public Health, Dr, Manaouda Malachie, at Laquintinie Hospital, with a capacity of 21 beds.
• 557,007 calls have been received at the 1510 number at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) since the start of the Incident Management System activation in March 2020.
• Primary and secondary schools’ pupils, as well as at technical institutions, began official examinations on 20 July.
• The Hajj pilgrimage was canceled for Cameroonian Muslims due to COVID-19
SITUATION OVERVIEW
Behaviour change, such as improved hand hygiene, physical distancing, disinfecting surfaces, wearing masks, or reaching out to the most exposed in remote areas, plays a key role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the reporting period, though, poor compliance by communities to the protective measures prescribed has continued. The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Manaouda Malachie, stated on 22 July on the national television channel CRTV that the country succeeded in stabilizing the epidemic curve, that the peak of the pandemic had been reached and that the epidemic curve will start to decrease. As there is a slow progression of positive cases of the pandemic across the territory, medical equipment like laboratory tests, remains unused. Asymptomatic cases do not ask to be tested anymore.
Following its three T Strategy (Track, Test and Treat), the Government announced the launch of a pilot phase of mobile caravans in private companies, schools, universities and markets in Yaoundé. The response strategy to the pandemic will be adjusted considering the results of the pilot and the caravans will be extended to the national level with community involvement.
Considering the above, the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) team is re-evaluating its strategy to increase respect of barrier measures in communities.
Regarding the phone watch, the PHEOC continuously receives COVID 19-related calls. However, there has been a decrease in the number of calls received from 13 July till 30 July. The 1510 number remains operational throughout the country. The PHEOC considers making the 1511 number operational in the coming weeks, dedicated to the psychological support of individuals directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding the gender impact of the pandemic, UNWOMEN, Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF) and the Central Bureau of the Census and Population Studies (BUCREP) reviewed their report on 15 June to show how the pandemic has negatively affected women, girls, men and boys as well as their relationship at home. As explained in the study, the answers of the 2,024 respondents reveal the following results:
• Gender is not a factor that discriminates access to information. Almost all the respondents (99.3% for men and 99,4% for women) had already heard of COVID-19, through classic media (radio, TV, newspapers.) at the time of the survey.
As compared to men, women respect the following three government measures more: i) restriction of mobility (76.4% against 62%); ii) the regular wearing of a mask outside the home (87.1% against 81.3%) and, iii) regular hand washing (83.3% and 79.6%). However, compliance with these measures has reduced since their lifting on 30 April .
• Government measures to fight COVID-19 have had a negative impact on the income of individuals, both for men and women (62.9%).
• Overall, respondents report an increase in domestic violence (35.8% of respondents).
The Government assessed the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic on the tomato sector during the weekly meeting of the inter-ministerial committee responsible of evaluating and monitoring the implementation of the Government’s response strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic, chaired by the Prime Minister. The closure of borders has led to a drop in tomato exports to neighboring countries. This caused not only cash flow tensions, but also large financial losses for economic operators in the sector. To save the industry, the Government announced the development of a production revival plan.
In the same vein, negotiations on the reopening of the airspace of Cameroon are underway with the European Union.
Access to Cameroon remains conditioned to the presentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test dating less than 72 hours.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs