© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Of eight African nations yet to record any case of COVID-19, Burundi might be hiding skeleton in its cupboard
SINCE the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic which originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 that has rapidly spread across the globe and claimed the lives of over 24,903 persons worldwide, almost every country has recorded cases, but there remains eight countries on the African continent that has no single case recorded yet.
As at Saturday 28, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros, Lesotho, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Botswana, Swaziland are Coronavirus free.
However, according to reports obtained from a reliable source in Burundi by The ICIR, the Burundian government is accused of stifling reports of suspected cases in the country by stringently monitoring and controlling news reports about the virus in the country.
“One major private hospital that notified the government of suspected cases in its province is being persecuted for doing that. The Burundian government would rather maintain a façade than let the world in on the truth for whatever reasons, I do not know,” said the source.
In a letter made available to this reporter, evidence suggests that Burundi might soon be dealing with a health emergency that its already poor health system cannot manage as major hospitals report suspected cases of COVID-19.
“Mr Minister, speaking present, we have the honour to transmit this correspondence to you in order to solicit Reagents, for the screening of COVID-19 at Kira Hospital.
“In fact, Minister, for the past three weeks or so we have received very suspicious cases of COVID-19. In addition, no more than yesterday (March 26, 2020), three new truly suspicious cases.
“It is in this context that Kira Hospital, as an actor in the health sector at BURUNDI, equipped with a PCR machine and qualified personnel, introduced this urgent demand for COVID-19 desiring reagents,” read the letter in part.
Although the airport has shut down operations, The ICIR source said the news of government persecuting Dr Christophe Sahabo, the Director of Kira Hospital for reporting suspected cases have caused an atmosphere of panic among the citizens who doubt the preparedness of their government in the instance of an outbreak.
“The Health Minister claims they are prepared in an eventuality of an outbreak, unfortunately, evidence shows that this is not true.”
The ICIR could not get a comment from the Kira Hospital SA Swiss Clinic or its management at the time of publishing this report.
African nations have been accused of hiding the real figures of Coronavirus cases with over 550,000 confirmed cases recorded worldwide, experts nonetheless say that the continent might eventually record fewer cases within its regions if strict adherence to preventive measures by the World Health Organisation to curb the spread of the virus is kept.
Burundi is an East African landlocked country bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.
All the countries that border the east African state have recorded cases of Coronavirus.