LAGOS | deserted Streets and the silence almost deafening : Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria’s usually bubbly, woke up Tuesday morning under containment, at a time when Africa is intensifying its efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
In the districts visited by the AFP, all the shops were closed, the markets abandoned and the streets almost deserted apart from a few rare cars braving the “check-points” of the security forces deployed along the main roads.
The president Muhammadu Buhari has decreed the prohibition of “any movement” from Monday night, and for at least 14 days, in the States of Lagos and Abuja, which recorded the vast majority of the hundreds of infections officially registered in the country – 135 cases and 2 deaths.
A bet as ambitious as risky in the most populous country in Africa, but who seemed, from the first hours, applied to the letter in a large part of the sprawling megalopolis of 20 million inhabitants of the south.
“It’s like putting people in jail,” said Mutiu Adisa, a driver of mini-bus being idle. “I don’t know how people are going to be able to survive two weeks without work to earn the money “.
Moreover, this is the question that everyone asks : how do I apply these extreme measures, in particular in the slums of overcrowded, where the vast majority of the inhabitants live below the poverty line and do not have savings ?
“We know that we need to stop the movement to reduce the number of infections,” admits an engineer, aged about sixty years, Ogun Nubi Victor.
“But there was no money for the citizens, the people will just stay home without anything to eat “.
The State of Lagos has announced the installation of local markets in the neighborhoods, as well as the distribution of food to over 200 000 households are deemed particularly vulnerable, but that is a drop of water on the scale of 20 million inhabitants.
The restrictions vary from country to country in the african continent, where more than 5300 cases and 170 deaths (including Tanzania, which said Tuesday its first death from coronavirus) have been identified officially, according to a count by the AFP.
Nigeria joins South Africa, or Tunisia and Rwanda in the radical application of the containment.
Uganda is also entered in the containment Tuesday morning, the president Yoweri Museveni who declared on the eve in an immediate stoppage of traffic of any vehicles, and a night-time curfew.
Others, such as Kenya, Senegal and the Ivory Coast have opted for measures which are less stringent, a state of emergency and curfew.
In Congo-Brazzaville (five million inhabitants) which prepares him also to the containment from 20 h, the inhabitants of the capital flocked to supermarkets and bakeries to make provisions, but also to the bus stations to reach their villages.
Result : a ticket for Gamboma 325 km north of Brazzavile is increased from 6000 CFA to 15,000 CFA (14 – $ 26), noted a correspondent of the AFP.
The application of such measures is at times accompanied by police violence, as in South Africa, where the minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has “condemned” Monday “abuse” committed against civilians by soldiers, as revealed by the videos circulating on the social networks.
Some 3,000 military personnel have been deployed to enforce in the country the total containment which has the highest reported number of infections with the coronavirus.
The south african president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday the deployment in the country of 10 000 persons identify persons who exhibit symptoms of the disease.
“The people who have symptoms will be sent in clinic” to be tested, he explained.
The progression of the virus is still certainly slower in Africa than in the rest of the world, and, on Monday, the continent was still six countries officially spared on 54 – South Sudan, Burundi, Sao Tomé and Principe, Malawi, Lesotho and Comoros.
But experts have repeatedly warned against the vulnerability of Africa that are already facing many conflicts, weak health care systems, hospitals under-equipped and overcrowded slums as a potential time bomb.