The Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Nuno Nabiam, alongside three members of his cabinet have tested positive for coronavirus.
The country’s minister of health, Antonia Deuno, on Wednesday said Mr Nabiam; the Interior Minister, Botche Cande; Secretary of State for Public Order, Mario Fambe; and Secretary for State for Regional Integration Monica Boiro were diagnosed on Tuesday and have since been quarantined at a hotel in the capital, Bissau.
“I have tested positive for the new coronavirus; I am at home and I feel good. The virus exists and spreads easily. Stay at home and take all measures to save your life and that of your family.”
A policeman attached to the interior ministry anonymously told AFP “we are all afraid, because in our ministry, despite the barrier measures, we meet very frequently, we sometimes talk to each other without wearing masks.”
A source told the news agency that tests are also underway at a Navy unit where the police chief had paid a visit shortly before his death.
The National Police Commissioner for national order, Biom Nantchongo, died on Sunday at Simao Mendes National Hospital. His death is the first in Guinea Bissau.
The country of about 1.8 million residents has made efforts to raise awareness but still some citizens are in doubt when it comes to the existence of the virus.
“I wear a mask to protect myself from the dust, not the virus! I don’t believe in it. I’m using it as I’m also going to visit someone who’s sick in the hospital,” Udé Djassi, a shopper admitted to Africanews.
On the other hand, Aissatu Candé, a vegetable seller, said she does not wear a mask because of an existing health problem “I don’t use a mask because I have a heart palpitation problem. That’s why.”
Guinea Bissau has 205 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 19 recoveries, and one death.