Cameroon is heading towards a new aerial lockdown of its national territory as the country registers a steep increase in COVID-19 cases during the last two months, a government official said.
“Flights from outside the country would no longer be systematically authorised. There are commercial flights which would not be allowed to land except on special authorisation,” said Mbarga Nguele Nguele, the Delegate General for National Security announced.
Nguele was speaking in Yaounde, the country’s capital on Monday during a special briefing along with Rene Sadi, the Minister of Communication, to alert Cameroonians on the new jump in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Cameroon first banned international flights on March 17, 2020, following the outbreak of the virus in the country. The country’s aviation and other economic sectors recorded a huge loss during the ban.
When the government relaxed the ban, the aviation sector was the first to benefit as international flights resumed immediately.
However, since Jan., Cameroon has registered 10,000 new infections. During this period, 105 Cameroonians have died from the pandemic, which is one-fifth of the total number of deaths since March 2020.
Cameroonians blame enforcement authorities in the country for relaxing in enforcing the restrictive measures put in place to combat the pandemic.
“Even the police and other security forces who were expected to enforce the restrictive measures were themselves not respecting them,” said Agbor Rufus, a civil society activist in Limbe.
“Masks had all disappeared and even the vendors selling them had abandoned the trade so even those who felt obliged to wear the masks found it difficult to locate sales points.”
“Worst of all, even medical personnel in the various health facilities had also abandoned wearing masks and hardly enforced distancing and washing of hands in the hospitals. It was just a matter of time for us to arrive where we are today with massive new infections reported throughout the national territory.”
As of Tuesday, March 2, Cameroon has recorded 35,714 COVID-19 cases with 32,594 patients successfully treated and discharged from hospitals while 551 Cameroonians have so far died from the virus.