Somalilandsun: Fl ydubai delivers First consignment of donated Corona virus kits to the country while media houses warned against fake coronavirus related information and government starts preparing for national food security through purchase of local agricultural produce
There is a major flaw in the strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Advanced economies are unveiling unprecedented economic stimulus packages. African countries, by contrast, lack the wherewithal to make similarly meaningful interventions. Yet if the virus is not defeated in Africa, it will only bounce back to the rest of the world.
This was stated by the Prime minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed in article published by the financial time titled “If Covid-19 is not beaten in Africa it will return to haunt us all” in which the Nobel prize winner argues that Only a global victory can end this pandemic, not a temporary rich countries’ win
His country with a population of over 100m people has so far confirmed 16 cases of Corona virus while Kenya has 31, Somalia 4 while Djibouti has 11 all these country neighbour Somaliland which is yet to report any infection.
Africa—with dense megacities and poor health infrastructure with over 400 confirmed cases remains a growing coronavirus [COVID-19] concern, even as African governments respond aggressively to the public health threat.
East Africa, especially, is at risk because the coronavirus pandemic coincides with the arrival of locust swarms disrupting agriculture and the economy thence the precarious situation that Somaliland which is yet to be recognized internationally as sovereign nation three decades after withdrawing from its voluntary later turned fateful union with Somalia.
So with the COVID-19 pandemic visiting all countries neighbouring it what measures has Somaliland taken to avert a disaster from the virus that is compounding major economic powers of the world.
First were the establishment of a national Covid-19 task force by President Muse Bihi Abdi tasked with coordinating, nationwide all preventive and management of the virus if it attacked the country.
The Somaliland national Coronavirus Prophylactic Committee is composed of Minister of interior, Minister of information, Culture & national Guidance, Minister of Religious Affairs and Minister Education and Science and chaired by the minister of health
The inter-ministerial task force has so far issued guidelines that are currently under implementation namely,
• Closing all educational institutions in the country
• Banning all social gatherings like sports, Workshops, Weddings etc.
• Mosques time limitations
• Banning flights from all infected countries.
• Launched a COVID-19 awareness campaigned transmitted electronically through Radio, TV and Mobile phones.
• Placed all private medical facilities including hospitals and laboratories under directives from the ministry of health
• Established a hotline number 988
With educational institutions now in the second week of closure, the first to implement the guidelines, religious leaders have also not been left behind as sermons at Friday Jamaa prayers have since concentrated on raising awareness as mosques also observe the order to restrict prayers to not more than 25 minutes, open all windows, close ablution taps and toilets.
These earlier guidelines have been enhanced with extra ones like the three weeks closure of all borders that restrict movement of people but allow passage of essential goods foods, fuel and medical equipment and drugs. The country shares borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Similarly all seaports apart from Berbera have been closed for the same three weeks period. Those affected include Las qoray, myadh and his ports in the east as well as Sayla in the west. The exception qualification of Berbera port is similar to that of land based entry points thus no movement of people but goods only.
While flights from infected countries had earlier on been banned the Somaliland national Coronavirus Prophylactic Committee, new regulations put all incoming passengers in a fortnight quarantine at a task force designated place and at their own costs while testing is free.
In pursuit of enhancing COVID-19 preventive measures through social distancing the national task force has issued orders banning the chewing of Khat, a stimulant herb much in use at public places
Other measures include Work from home guidelines for non-essential services civil servants nationwide for a period of three weeks apart from those from the ministry of health, ministry of information, ministry of finance, Egal international airport, port of Berbera, Central bank, Local governments and workers at the Erigavo Burao road construction.
At the same time media houses have been warned against fake information concerning Corona virus either in relation to Somaliland, neighbouring countries or worldwide as well.
According to the minister of interior Mohamed Kahin who is a member of the national Coronavirus Prophylactic Committee all security agencies have been ordered to ensure observance to the guidelines all over Somaliland while offenders will be arrested and arraigned in court.
On the other hand the judiciary has also chipped in to the national anti-corona virus prevention activities by suspending hearings of all civil cases until further notice.
This was informed by the Chief justice Adam Haji Ali Ahmed through a circular addressed to all regional and district’s court’s as well as that of appeal.
And while the country awaits its share of the COVID-19 kits donated to Africa by Jack Ma, Chinese tech billionaire and co-founder of the Alibaba online shopping platform others have responded with quick action.
The United Arab Emirates owned Flydubai donated an assortment of Corona virus items that were delivered to the country by the airliner last Thursday, in response to the national efforts to Coronavirus combat efforts, flew in, Thursday, a planeload of basic medical supplies to Somaliland
The supplies which included hand sanitizers and face masks – supplies which had been shipped off to neighboring Djibouti before the country fully woke up to the inescapable realities of the marauding pandemic.
Omar Saeed Duale, GST and the CEO of FlyDubai ground operations in Somaliland, said the airline’s humanitarian flight was a gesture partly interpreting the deep ties the Emirates had forged with Somaliland.
Another salient measure from the state is the unprecedented purchase of local agricultural produce by the government that go towards national food security as the country which relies mostly on imports for most essentials braces for the economic difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic