Covid-19 & Closing Civic Space in West Africa
The new Corona Virus (Covid-19) is exacting a terrible toll on every society. It is disrupting the public health of countries, economies, social networks and livelihoods, and many other aspects of society. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China in November 2019, it has raged rapidly across the world with now over 10 million confirmed cases and a staggering number of deaths. In West Africa, the pandemic started slowly with the first case reported in Nigeria on 28 February and eventually spread to all ECOWAS Member States. As of 1 July, the West Africa Health Organisation reported a total of 76,357 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 1,327 deaths, and 42,313 recoveries across the region, with the hardest hit been Nigeria (25,694 confirmed cases) and Ghana (17,741 confirmed cases). Compared to other parts of the world, mainly Europe and North America, however, the numbers in West Africa are still low. Nonetheless, as the number of confirmed cases shows no signs of abating, coupled with the historically poor health systems in the region, it rarely goes without mention that Covid-19 could have a devastating toll on the region if robust mechanisms are not put in place to mitigate the virus and its associated impacts on society.
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