My continent, this virus, and some thoughts.

Fake news..

‘Unreported cases only can only exist in Africa’

Deadly predictions

Concerns as to why we aren’t hit the most..

I’ve heard it all… and boy am I tired. 

I’ve taken quite a few social media breaks to fully grasp my head around this pandemic, especially as a journalist who has predominantly been working in African news for the last year plus. 

People I know personally have been forwarding me voice notes from the most shittiest sources forgetting what I do for a living. And it’s jarring! I don’t know what’s aggravating me the most; the misinformation, or the ignorance about a continent which has been through so much for centuries.

I’ll break it down into three main points: 

  1. Headlines, ignorance and representation

I’ve been seeing examples like the above quite a lot. Health experts were initially perplexed as to why more Western parts of the world like Italy, were suffering more than an entire continent.

All lives are valid, but the fact that we’ve become so used to seeing Black African lives to suffer the most, is really disturbing, and shows the damaging affect many media outlets can have on humans, or are humans to blame for their assumptions too?

2. Diseases

As a continent, we are STILL dealing with:

  • AIDS
  • Cholera
  • Ebola (began in 2014, last discharged patient from DRC in 2020)
  • Lassa fever
  • Dengue fever
  • HIV
  • Malaria
  • Polio

..and a few more.

The diseases and outbreaks the continent has faced over several years doesn’t offer a licence to assume Africa ‘is meant to’ have more illnesses and diseases.  

My friend and blogger My Breaking Views mentioned something very poignant in a conversation we were having about this:

‘I’ve not seen any pictures of those who died from COVID-19 (most victims were Asian/white), but when Ebola happened in Africa, you’ll see hundreds of photos of dead Black bodies shared online.. even today’

3. Preparedness 

Now this is what I’m not seeing spoken about more.. the order being implemented across the continent to stop the virus spreading.. I wonder why!!

Country leaders have made active decisions immediately to try and curb the outbreak:

Ethiopia: passengers travelling to Ethiopia quarantined for 14 days in 8 selected hotels selected by authorities except citizens who can’t afford to pay for whom the government will cover their expenses.

Gambia: no talks of a lockdown yet, but thorough checks and searches at airports from travellers coming from high case countries

Ghana: an initial 2 week border closure, with new arrivals to immediately go into quarantine for two weeks

Ivory Coast: all flights suspended and a curfew for residents imposed. 

Nigeria: closure of main airports receiving international flights – for 1 month. 2 week lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun.

Sierra Leone: all flights in and out of the country to be suspended for 90 days.

Somaliland: have shut down the borders with all of its neighbours 

South Africa: during the 3 week lockdown, people won’t be allowed out for jogs or even walks. Only shops selling food and medicine will be open.

..and this is just a fraction of how leaders across the continent have been stepping up. Surprised? You might be?

Meanwhile, in the UK:

And the US?

I guess it shows how ignorant the world is in actually reading and understanding a little more, and putting pride aside to realise that, at this present time in this pandemic, it’s YOUR Western country that actually needs more help, than ours in Africa.

In several parts of Europe, make shift hospitals and mortuaries are being built, lockdown has been imposed in the UK and some parts of the US, yet international flights are still landing there?!

As a British citizen, I found it super frustrating and disappointing to learn that there were zero security or health checks during this pandemic. Zero.

Why won’t the UK close the borders?

A friend of mine working for the government responded this to me:

‘They all want British nationals to get back

..and they have announced keeping routes open for time being just now

So many are abroad it wouldn’t make sense to close borders just yet..’

It wouldn’t make sense to close borders just yet?! When THOUSANDS in the UK already have died from this virus?!

I’ll leave this one with this quote:

Ignorance deprives people of freedom because they do not know what alternatives there are. It is impossible to choose to do what one has never heard of. Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignoranceIgnorance is always afraid of change.

Stay safe all! Praying this all passes. Praying for all affected. Praying for our health workers. Praying for the world leaders. Praying for better days.

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