Somalilandsun: Despite the Corona Virus pandemic Somaliland as opposed to most other countries continue to trudge without any virus spread restrictions.
Now the ministry of health which chairs the inter-ministerial national Corona Virus Prophylactic Committee, has raised caution among the citizenry over the Resurgence of Covid-19 infection cases in the country.
The concern was raised by Somaliland Minister of Health of Omar Ali Abdillahi Badde,in the Awdal regional capital of Borame while laying a foundation stone for a new health centre which is part of the planned health services improvement plans in all regions of the country to be followed with more medically upscale Mother and Child Health Centres.
According to the minister “It us the grace of Allah that has protected our country from severe virus prevalence and subsequent difficulties but that aside there is a noticeable resurge if new cases thus the imperatives of strict pursuit and practice of guidelines”
In the meantime the government has also denied rumours that some schools shall be closed as a result of confirmed Corona Virus infections within learning institutions.
“The Ministry of Education would like to inform the public that there is nothing in the rumours circulating that some schools in parts of the Republic of Somaliland will be closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” State the ministry’s Director General Ahmed Abokor
The education DG who was reacting to recent rumours circulating with Social media platforms went on to inform that as if now there are no health risks be it virus related or other that would necessitate putting off education activities.
With the ministry of health urging citizens to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines the ministry of education has urged the same on “School and educational authorities”
While the government is quick in its rebuttal the fact is nobody in Somaliland observes any Covid-19 prevention related guidelines unless it is during a public function in which the dignitaries are seen wearing masks.
This has been the norm since the government rescinded all restrictions measures that had seen Cessation of educational functions through closure, international flights banned, borders with the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti closed while non essential staff in all Government institutions were ordered to work from home.
This arrangement that existed for over months came to an abrupt end in late June 2020 when the administration of president Muse Bihi announced that all restrictions previously imposed to prevent the intensity and spread of the pandemic have been categorically lifted.
This meant the reopening of airspace and sea routes passenger flights can resume activity to and from Hargeisa while sea vessels arriving at Berbera Port which was previously limited to seafaring ships, boats and dhows bringing essential, life-saving commodities will also be allowed to operate.
The rescinded restriction also saw to it that public gatherings and social events are also allowed, meaning conference and dining and wedding halls are, again, open for business.
Similarly All learning institutions reopened without any guidelines while also waiving restrictions on passenger capacity on public transport are waived.
The government, which also, lifted the ban on inland travel across the borders with neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti put in place a few conditions on those travelling from abroad that is ,Incoming passengers and travellers crossing over to the Republic of Somaliland will have to produce a valid, COVID-free certificate that is not older than four days.
By then the 26th June 2020 Somaliland has recorded 681, 28 deaths and 147 recoveries as per then regular updates by the ministry of health chaired national prevention committee.
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Somaliland in March 2020. As of 8 October 2020, there are 1008 cases and 32 deaths. 11250 tests have been conducted.
Seven months ago Health officials in the capital, Hargeisa, said samples taken from two individuals — a local man who visited Britain and a Chinese man — had tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities were trying to track down people the men had contact with.
With the pandemic hype gripping all corners of the world the news updated citizens of Somaliland raised their concerns especially in social media platforms thus driving the government into high gear that saw establishment of an inter-ministerial National
In a 3rd March presidential decree # JSL / XM / G / 083-488 / 032020 president Muse Bihi announced establishment of an inter-ministerial national Corona Virus Prophylactic Committee, composed of
1. Ministry of health, Chair
2. Ministry of interior
3. Ministry of information, Culture & national Guidance
4. Ministry of Religious Affairs and
5. Ministry of Education and Science
Informing that the committee shall have relevant ministers active participation at it secretariat the president said “As you know, we had in the past taken national steps to prevent the outbreak of then Coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic with preventive steps taken being stringent investigations and inspections at all airports, ports and ports of entry undertaken by staff of the ministry of health, adding that
“However, with the virus now termed pandemic following its spread worldwide more and coordinated effort is required as pertains prevention and preparation for any eventualities to this effect , I hereby appointed you members of the National Coronavirus (Covid-19) Prophylactic Committees tasked with Coordinating all national activities related to Prevention of virus prevalence, its Spread, Containment, and subsequent management “
The vice president Abdirahman Sayli was later included to the committee thus becoming it chair to-date
With almost non-existent primary health services and with few labs to test potential coronavirus samples, Somaliland officials have launched public awareness campaigns to confront the deadly pandemic though nobody adheres to them and no authority seems to notice.
Now the irony is while the government is very fast in denial of any information, rumours, emanating from members of the public who have empirical knowledge as a matter of fact, regular updates are a thing of the past.
The committee seems to have become inactive after accusations of funds Maladministration emerged forcing the secretariat to issue a statement detailing amount of money availed and subsequent expenditure, though not very convincing.
Apart from accusations the committee’s secretariat which is led by a presidential appointed secretary other activities very much unrelated to the fight over Covid-19 are now the norm.
In this context local media houses regularly publish articles praising the president after every speech at whatever function. This praise articles are the work of the secretary to the inter-ministerial national Corona Virus prophylactic committee instead of updates on the pandemic status.
Thence we have the health minister warning of a resurgence while the education ministry denies alleged rumours of schools closure though without given any relevant information of virus status and the national prevention secretariat turns into a praise body.