Pan Africa General Update (20/08)
Please find the latest report from PERC here, covering 28 July – 10 August.
Key findings in the report include:
The direction of PHSM implementation across Africa was mixed, with some countries loosening to allow the return to school and places of worship, while others tightening to combat growing caseloads.
Schools partially reopened in Benin, Cameroon, the DRC, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Places of worship partially reopened in Algeria, Ghana and Rwanda.
Morocco and Egypt both tightened PHSMs to combat the growing number of cases, and mobility fell 23% below pre-COVID-19 mobility for both countries.
Botswana imposed a lock-down in the Greater Gaborone region and Malawi prohibited gatherings of more than 10. Average mobility in Botswana, which was near pre-COVID-19 mobility on 27 July, fell to 30% below pre-COVID-19 mobility by 7 August.
Routine infant/child vaccination campaigns continue to be disrupted by COVID-19 across Africa, and particularly so in Central Africa. Reasons for this include lack of access to PPE for essential healthcare workers, making mass vaccination campaigns (against cholera and polio) a challenge.
Traditional and social media users are criticising governments across the continent for implementing PHSMs through force and imposing seemingly harsh punishments for violators. Governments should strengthen evidence-based risk communication and engage community leaders and trusted people to encourage the importance of PHSM adherence and dispel misinformation regularly.
Although lauded for their public health success, media highlighted that violators of PHSMs are forced to attend lengthy COVID-19 awareness-raising programs in Rwanda and police are forcefully imposing PHSMs in Uganda. The low number of cases in Uganda has also decreased risk perception and fuelled ongoing rumours that the virus is not real.
On 27 July, the DRC announced that people not wearing face masks would be arrested, to the dismay of many on social media. In the Republic of Congo, social media users reported cases of police brutality when enforcing the nightly curfew.
In Egypt, health care workers were reportedly jailed over criticism of working conditions and lack of government support.
Social media users criticised mandatory mask-wearing policies in Egypt and Morocco.