Somalia has recorded a rise in coronavirus cases in the past week, with the majority of those affected reportedly young people. So far there have been 237 confirmed cases and eight deaths in the country. A member of parliament and a state minister are among those who have died. “The sharp increase is due to the fact that we are testing patients with all symptoms, not necessarily contact tracing,” said Dr Mohamed M Ali Fuje, the government’s newly appointed chief medical officer. Ninety per cent of the confirmed cases are in the capital, Mogadishu, and although the government has introduced measures to contain the virus, widespread behavioural change is proving difficult. People continue to congregate in mosques, and gather in groups at teashops and restaurants, increasing the risk of infections. What is more concerning to authorities are the dangerous rumours about coronavirus that have taken hold. These myths include the theory that the virus does not affect Muslims or is a punishment for non-believers for oppressing Muslims. The militant group al-Shabaab, who control large swathes of south and central Somalia, has shared similar messages.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN