- Title: Congo health authorities stumble with first coronavirus case confusion
- Date: 14th March 2020
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Lingala) PATIENT WHO WAS DUE TO HAVE AN OPERATION AT AMITIE HOSPITAL, EMMANUEL AKANGWA, SAYING: "I had an operation on my intestines because I got typhoid but the operation didn't work so the doctors organised for me to have a second operation. On the same day and then at the same place I was due to have my operation, the first case of coronavirus was transferred here. So the doctors said they would not work because they were scared. Look for yourself how I walk with my intestines hanging out. We don't know how it will all end with this story of the virus, we don't understand." KINSHASA, DRC (MARCH 12, 2020) (REUTERS) RADIO JOURNALIST, EDMON IZUBA, LOOKING AT SOCIAL MEDIA ON HIS MOBILE PHONE IZUBA'S PHONE SHOWING A VIDEO THAT WAS UPLOADED ON SOCIAL MEDIA SAID TO BE OF FILMED BY THE FIRST CONFIRMED CASE OF CORONAVIRUS PATIENT SHOWING WHERE HE WAS STAYING (SOUNDBITE) (French) EDMON IZUBA RADIO JOURNALIST SAYING: "Today everyone in Kinshasa knows that the patient is not well fed, that he is not well taken care of, everyone knows the patient's hospital, everyone calls him because he has his mobile phone with him and the patient himself filmed the place where he is, I would say in inverted commas, "held up". That is not serious, it clearly shows the government is taking this epidemic very lightly despite the government telling us they had taken all the measures well before the first case." IZUBA LOOKING AT THE PHONE VIDEO ON THE PHONE SHOWING VIDEO UPLOADED BY KINSHASA PROVINCIAL POLICE GOING IN FRONT OF BELLE VIE HOTEL WHERE THE FIRST CORONAVIRUS PATIENT WAS STAYING BEFORE HE WAS CONFIRMED POSITIVE / AUDIO COMMENTARY FROM THE POLICE, SAYING (French): "We are at the hotel Belle Vie, Hotel Belle Vie where the first case of coronavirus was detected in Democratic Republic of Congo." (SOUNDBITE) (French) RADIO JOURNALIST, EDMON IZUBA RADIO, SAYING: "A serious government should be more reassuring because until now we just have rumours. I even listened to Doctor Muyembe (leading the Ebola response team) who talks as if we hadn't confirmed the very first case. The minister is trying to make this epidemic a private issue so much so that he is hiding certain details." TRAFFIC IN THE STREET MINIBUS WITH PASSENGERS DRIVING PAST WOMEN CROSSING THE ROAD PEOPLE AT BUS STOP AND TRAFFIC
- Keywords: Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo coronavirus doctors first case first patient hospitals masks
- Reuters ID: LVA003C50WTAF
- Location: KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
- City: KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
- Country: Congo, Democratic Republic of the
- Duration: 00:02:42
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
When Congo announced its first coronavirus case, all the details from the health ministry about the patient were wrong, drawing a rebuke from the president and highlighting the challenges the huge African country will face if the virus spreads.
A health ministry spokeswoman initially told reporters on Tuesday that the patient was Belgian, had been detected at the airport and was in quarantine in Kinshasa's Kinkole suburb.
The patient was, in fact, a Congolese citizen returning from France, had contacted the health services two days after his arrival in Congo and was quarantined in the N'djili neighbourhood, the ministry later said.
Concern over the virus caused doctors and patients at the hospital where the patient was quarantined to leave the facility.
Emmanuel Akangwa had an operation on his intestines and was scheduled for a second one at the hospital, but was told the doctors "would not work because they were scared."
"Look for yourself how I walk with my intestines hanging out.... we don't know how it will all end with this story of virus," he said.
Concerns about Africaâ€™s ability to cope with an outbreak which has spread across on the continent are magnified in a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a creaking health system, a deficit of trust in public institutions, decades of poor governance, corruption and conflict can offer fertile ground for rumour and speculation.
At a cabinet meeting on Friday, President Felix Tshisekedi said the health ministry had acted in an "appalling and mediocre" way, according to three ministers speaking on condition of anonymity.
Health Minister Eteni Longondo deplored "the panic that overcame the population following an inappropriate communication" but insisted authorities were ready to handle the outbreak, according to a summary of the meeting.
The ministry did not respond to a request for further comment.
(Production: Benoit Nyemba, Yvonne Bell, Fintan McDonnell)
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