Three more succumb to COVID-19 in Somalia as infections spike to 80
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The death toll from Coronavirus reached five in Somalia on Wednesday, health minister Dr. Fawziya Abikar said after three victims passed on in a Mogadishu hospital on Wednesday.
And this becomes the single highest deaths in a day recorded in the Horn of Africa nation, which has since embarked on mass testing across the states, following the delivery of medical supplies including test kits from friendly agencies.
In a statement, Dr. Abikar said the three succumbed to Martini Hospital where they had been fighting for their lives in the past one week. The victims, she said, were admitted at different times after showing signs of the deadly disease.
"We had three patients who have since passed on. It's indeed unprecedented but we shall continue pushing for proper treatment to save our people," said the minister, adding that "we shall overcome".
The health chief also recorded 20 new infections within Somalia, taking the total tally to 80. The first positive case for COVID-19 was first detected in Somalia three weeks ago and it involved a Somali citizen who had visited China.
Sadly, only two people have recovered from the disease in Somalia. This comes amid claims that the three deaths were occasioned by lack of ventilators within Somalia, which recently received a consignment from well-wishers.
A top editor affiliated to GoobJoog Media was arrested on Tuesday after sensationally claiming that Villa Somalia, the official residence of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, had taken a number of ventilators. He did not, however, provide evidence.
Early this week, a regional state minister for Justice from HirShabelle succumbed to the coronavirus. The first death related to COVID-19 was of a 58-year-old Mogadishu resident who never had travel history, authorities said.
So far, close to 2.1 million people have contracted the virus worldwide. Of that number, 515,000 have recovered while 135,000 have since died. The US, Spain, Italy, UK, and China have recorded the highest cases, statistics from WHO indicate.
To curb the further spread, FGS has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Mogadishu, the epicenter of the disease. Only a few essential service providers are allowed to work past time, Villa Somalia said in a statement.
"To all our Somali journalists; our nation values you and your noble service to the people. As such, you are exempted from curfew restrictions as we seek to contain and combat COVID19," read the statement. "The media remains classified as essential service and we also count on you to help us Conquer COVID19 "
But despite the spiking infections, Somalia is receiving help from well-wishers, among them the AU Mission in Somalia, the UNSOM and over partners, a move which will significantly help it in containing the pandemic.
The United Arab Emirates, which had been in loggerheads with Somalia, donated a medical equipment to Somalia this week, further supplementing those delivered by Alibaba Group boss Jack Ma.
"The needed COVID 19 supply from UAE is timely brotherly support for all Somalis in general and our frontline heroes of the medical staff in particular. Always the time tells who are the genuine friends and brothers," Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a former president said.
Other measures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the disease include suspension of domestic and international flights, learning activities and banning of mass gatherings and meetings, officials added.