After infecting Africa, Europe shuts its borders to the continent

The European Union has released a list of 14 countries whose nationals are allowed to travel on its territory. Four out of the fifty-four African countries on the continent are on this list. Citizens of the fifty other African countries are therefore undesirable and unwanted in Europe, which considers them to be at risk. All this, while it is Europe that has contaminated Africa. Enough to open your eyes to the leaders of the continent.

“You have to live a long time to see one thing and its opposite,” says African wisdom. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it possible to see this adage come true before our eyes, in a very short space of time.

We didn’t have to wait long to see that. Indeed, at the end of 2019, the new coronavirus vector of a new highly contagious disease, Covid-19, burst into the world, spreading panic everywhere. Starting in China, the disease spread rapidly to other countries, but with Europe as its new home base.

Countries such as Italy, Spain, and then France were hit hard, and soon the dead began to pile up, dropping by the hundreds every day. The health systems of these countries, which were considered to be the best prepared to deal with the risk of epidemics, were put to the test. Hospitals were overwhelmed, and health professionals were overwhelmed. It was a bloodbath. Until then, Europe had not closed its borders…

Meanwhile, Africa, for which the WHO planned an apocalyptic scheme, was well sheltered, calm, with no case of anyone infected with the Coronavirus identified on its soil; until February 14, when the disease entered the continent through Egypt.

The patient came from Europe. Then Algeria, then Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and gradually all the countries of the continent. The countries of origin of these Coronavirus carriers who peddled this dangerous virus on the African continent were mainly Italy and France, in short European countries. Contrary to fears, it was not through China that the Covid-19 touched Africa, but rather through Europe.

Meanwhile, what were African leaders doing? As usual, they were waiting, procrastinating, hesitating to take the courageous decision to close the borders of their countries to those European countries that had become a hotbed for the spread of Covid-19. It was only in Morocco that the decision to cut air and sea links with France and other European countries that had become outbreaks of the epidemic was taken in mid-March. But here again, the damage had already been done.

A lesson for African leaders

Ironically, now that Europe, after three-month confinement, has managed to reduce the demographic bleeding to some extent, it is declaring African countries unsafe for their citizens to enter its soil. The latest list of the 14 countries whose nationals are allowed to travel to Europe includes only four African states: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Rwanda. But here again, Belgium does not align itself with the European Union’s decision, since it believes that these countries still present health risks.

While it is true that the number of cases has been increasing at a rapid rate in recent weeks in Africa, the record of Covid-19 cases on this continent is still a long way from the disaster that took place before our eyes in Europe.

As of July 9, 2020, the African continent had 523,806 cases of infected persons, almost half of whom, or 255,016, have been cured, while 12,229 have died. Meanwhile, Europe, as of July 8, 2020, has already buried 200,288 dead of the Coronavirus out of a total of 2,684,001 cases of infection and recorded 1,599,649 recoveries. This does not prevent the European Union from being wary of Africa after having contaminated it.

This decision by Europe aroused indignation in countries like Senegal and Gabon. They hastened to put forward the reciprocity rule to, in turn, prohibit the entry of European nationals on their territory. If African leaders could learn all the lessons from this irony, and dare to take courageous decisions when necessary, the continent will only be better for it.

By Serge Ouitona, Afrik
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