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Fri, 31 Jan 2020 11:45 - Updated Fri, 31 Jan 2020 11:45

Angola mobilizes to stop coronavirus

Luanda - The authorities of the provinces of Lunda Norte, Cunene, Moxico and Cuando Cubango have reinforced, in the last hours, the medical teams in hospitals, to deal with any suspected cases of coronavirus.

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An identical scenario has already been recorded in the country's capital (Luanda), where the first suspected case involving a Chinese citizen was recorded on 26 January.

To this end, technical means at border posts (main points of entry for foreigners and national passengers from other parts of the world) in these three provinces were strengthened, for proper tracking of suspected cases.

ANGOP found that in local hospitals specific conditions and rooms were created to care for patients suspected of having such virus infection.

In Lunda Norte, country’s northeas, sixteen teams were created and deployed across the borders of Nachiri, Chissanda, Furi 3, Kamaquenzo airport and at the inter-provincial taxi stops.

The teams, according to the head of the Department of Public Health and Major Endemics, Filomena Simão, are made up of five to seven technicians each.

Some teams were also created to raise awareness and advise the populations in the communities, informing citizens about preventive measures, and symptoms of the disease, which is primarily having greater incidence in China.

In the southern province of Cunene, according to the head of the Department of Public Health and Endemics Control, Félix Belarmino Satoyamba, said two teams were created, at the border post of Santa-Clara and at 11 de Novembro Airport, in the city of Ondjiva, Cunene's capital.

Félix Belarmino Satoyamba informed that the Ministry of Health was asked for personal protective equipment, with a forecast of arriving in Cunene next Saturday, with a view to strengthening prevention measures.

The same scenario is registered in the south-eastern Cuando Cubango Province, where it is being planned the creation of awareness teams at the Comandante Kwenha airport, at the border post between Katuitui and Namibia, at public transport stops, military units, centres and trade sites and elsewhere.

The programme includes the creation of a ward at the General Hospital of Cuando Cubango, to attend possible suspected cases, and to form the clinical staff.

Technicians in the health sector will also work with the traditional local authorities, an action that will be generalized at municipal headquarters, to pass on information on the prevention of coronavirus.

In Moxico, country’s east, several technical teams with biosafety materials and thermometers for tracking were created in the border municipalities (Luau and Alto Zambeze).

The social mobilizer of the Department of Public Health, Ermelinda Cambango, without mentioning the number of members, explained that the fixed teams will track, above all, foreigners who immigrate to this province.

He pointed out that in the host city (Moxico) the focus will be on the train station, Comandante Dangereux airport and the border with the neighbouring province of Lunda Sul.

In the municipalities of Luau and Alto Zambeze, teams are concentrated at border posts with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

The supervisor of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Provincial Health Office of Moxico, Madureira Moutinho, said that community agents, traditional authorities and heads of families were also sensitized to take measures against coronavirus together with their communities.

In addition to the four border provinces (Lunda Norte, Moxico, Cunene and Cuando Cubango) and Luanda, precautionary measures are being taken in the other 15 provinces of the country.

In Huambo, in the central of Angola, for example, health authorities began to intensify lectures on primary health care, where they address questions about symptoms and simple preventive methods against coronavirus before medical consultations at the hospital in the municipality of Caála, the largest health unit from the region, which has also been assisting patients in the provinces of Benguela and Huila.

The Angolan Government announced last Saturday a contingency plan to prevent possible cases of contamination by coronavirus in the country.

The plan includes installing thermometers at 4 de Fevereiro International Airport and implementing preventive measures at ports, land borders and stops with a large flow of people.

Coronavirus is part of a vast family of viruses that includes those that cause the common flu, but also Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The first symptoms are high fevers and cough, which can worsen to cause pneumonia.

The epicentre of this virus is the city of Wuhan, China, where it has caused several deaths.

So far, 132 people have died of this disease and 5,974 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, according to the latest reports published this Wednesday by the WHO.

In addition to China, cases of coronavirus infection have also been reported in Macau, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, France, Germany, Australia and Canada.

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