Primary and secondary schools across Cameroon were reopened on Monday, October 5, after having been closed for more than seven months due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Schools have been allowed to reopen for the new academic year with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place, including the use of hand sanitizer and hygiene and social distancing procedures, while class sizes have been limited to 50. Students will also be required to wear face masks while in school. Higher education institutions will be allowed to reopen from October 15.
Authorities have been easing COVID-19 restrictions in Cameroon since the beginning of June, allowing the reopening of most nonessential businesses and lifting of the previous curfews. However, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited and the use of face masks remains compulsory in public. Occupancy limits also continue to apply on public transport and people have been encouraged to limit nonessential inter-regional travel.
International travel restrictions have also been partially eased, and several airlines have been permitted to resume international flights to and from the country, although flight options remain limited. Those arriving in the country are required to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours prior to the flight.
As of October 5, authorities have confirmed 20,924 cases of COVID-19 in Cameroon, with 420 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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