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Cameroonian Ministry of Public Health stops daily Covid-19 reports

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The Cameroonian Ministry of Public Health has stopped its daily reports on the epidemiological situation of the coronavirus in the country for the past five days.

On 9 April 2020, the head of the department, Manaouda Malachie, speaking on social media about the new direction that the public wanted to give to his communication on the subject, announced that he was now going to “simply publish only information on the evolution of his strategy, serious cases, cured cases, deaths and barrier measures.”

The following day, however, the Ministry, in its final bulletin, reported a national situation of eight-hundred and twenty positive cases, including seventeen new cases, seven-hundred and ten active cases, ninety-eight recoveries, and twelve deaths. Since then, the member of the government has only talked about his exchanges with media professionals in charge of health issues or reminded the public of the obligation to wear masks in public places.

On the evening of  Tuesday, 14 April 2020, however, he reported “about thirty people on oxygen in the health facilities, while there are more than one-hundred and sixty-five recoveries and seventeen deaths. He stressed: “The government continues to make every effort to control the pandemic. We must also do our part!”

While Ministry declined to comment on the issue, a source close to the competent services, speaking anonymously, after putting forward one-thousand one-hundred and fifteen cases as of 14 April 2020, said the decision to stop communicating on the evolution of the pandemic in Cameroon “came from the top of the state, anxious not to panic the population.”

“It is a government ploy, which I can explain by the concern to ‘maintain order.’ We must never forget that the software of this government is always to make sure that no one wants to start an uprising,” said Haman Mana, the editor of the privately-owned daily Le Jour.

Clément Tayo, a specialist in information and communication sciences, believes that the government’s stance is aimed at hiding the catastrophic results of the retaliation against Covid-19: “It is clear that the figures put forward so far are being manipulated, and I wondered whether they would be able to count up to one-thousand cases.”

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