The Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Nuno Gomes Nabiam, announced on Wednesday that he had been contaminated by the new coronavirus, and, according to the Minister of Health, three other members of the government are also infected.
“I have tested positive for the new coronavirus, I am at home and I feel good,” Mr. Nabiam said on his Facebook page. Nabiam.
The virus “exists and spreads easily. Stay at home and take all measures to save your life and that of your family,” he implored.
A “good part” of the members of the inter-ministerial commission to combat the coronavirus “have been contaminated,” Mr Nabiam continued, stressing that this was one of the risks involved in being “at the forefront” of the fight against the disease.
Health Minister Antonio Deuna said that other members of the government also declared positive are Interior Minister Botche Candé, Secretary of State for Public Order Mario Fambe, and Secretary of State for Regional Integration Monica Boiro.
After the death, announced on Sunday, of the chief police commissioner, Biom Nantchongo – the only one officially linked to the new coronavirus in the country – “some agents of the Interior Ministry and other members of the government who had had contact with him were tested,” Deuna said.
“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 policeman assigned to the interior ministry who asked for anonymity, told AFP.
Tests are also under way at a Navy unit where the police chief had paid a visit shortly before his death, according to a source close to the inter-ministerial commission.
Guinea-Bissau, a small, poor and chronically unstable West African country of 1.8 million people, has officially registered 73 cases of coronavirus. A state of emergency was declared on 28 March.
The authorities fear an increase in so-called “community” cases, i.e. cases with no established link to cases already registered, in a country lacking adequate health infrastructure.
“There are still some stubborn people who refuse to respect barrier gestures, defy the police in the neighbourhoods or travel to the interior of the country,” said Manuel Fereira, a nurse in the southern region of Tombali.