The first case of coronavirus in Somalia was confirmed on 16th March 2020, in Mogadishu. According to the Ministry of Health, it was a student who had just returned from China.
Many residents of Mogadishu are not aware of the virus’ existence. There are people dying there every day. Some others don’t even believe the virus exists. It is the rainy season and they think they are coughing because the weather has made them catch a cold. The Somali medical community declared that the pandemic could kill more people there than in any other country, if containment measures weren’t urgently adopted.
The Somali government announced measures to lessen the spread of the virus. The prime minister announced that schools and universities were to close and public gatherings forbidden. However, the government faces many challenges in many parts of the country, and had to ban citizens from coming to the centre of the country. Large outlying areas are in the hands of a militant organisation with close ties to Al Qaida, called Al Shaabab, which suppresses all information regarding the transmission of coronavirus. The heavily charged relationship between central government and federal states makes the situation worse. Unfortunately, the government is very limited in what it is able to do.
At the time of writing, Somalia had 928 cases of coronavirus and 44 deaths. 106 people have recovered. Follow healthcare advice and save yourself, your family and your community!