Like elsewhere, Cameroonians at home and abroad are very worried over the novel coronavirus which has been rapidly spreading across the country.
By the close of April 7, Cameroon had registered 685 cases of Covid-19, with nine deaths, overtaking other countries to become the second hardest hit in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa. Cameroon now has over 15 times as many confirmed cases as any other country in the central African sub-region and one of the highest numbers of daily new cases on the continent. Like many other African countries, Cameroon is not well-equipped to handle a major outbreak of the disease.
But as Cameroonians grapple with the spread of Covid-19, they are also preoccupied with the absence of their leader. President Paul Biya, 87, who in 2018 secured another mandate to extend his 36-year rule to 2025, has not publicly addressed his compatriots since the country registered its first case on March 6. His next-door peer, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, with just 30 confirmed cases, has addressed his people on at least three occasions, despite still recuperating from a stroke.
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