Minister for Health holds press conference

On Wednesday 1st April, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Salomón Nguema Owono, gave a press conference with national media to respond to various questions regarding the Coronavirus.

The first question referred to the operations at the Sampaka Laboratory, as on social media its competence had been questioned. The Minister replied that the laboratory met WHO international standards, and added, “I ask you not to listen to everything people say on social media; it is the best in the subregion”.

In the second question, the journalists wanted to know about the measures introduced in Bata, due to cases of local contagion. Nguema Owono said that the Ministry for the Interior and the President of the Committee against the Coronavirus, Doctor Justino, were in Bata, in addition to the Regional Health Delegate, Doctor Hilario, who “are the ones working in the field for all the districts in the Continental Region. Not only is the city of Bata in isolation, but the whole of the Continental Region”.

The press also wanted to know the reason why, since 13th March, when the first case of Coronavirus was made public, and despite all the preventive measures put in place, the cases were continuing to rise.

The Minister for Health replied that the measures had not been late, “The fact is that this pandemic is difficult to control, but the Government did the impossible in closing the borders and international flights from the 15th”. Nguema Owono also referred to the positive cases discovered in the country on 11th and 13th March.

Another question mentioned the protocol or agreement through which the names of those infected may not be named. The Minister confirmed that, without the authorisation of the patient, their name cannot be released.

Salomón Nguema Owono also responded to rumours on social media regarding the patient who was discharged, and confirmed that the patient was tested twice before being quarantined and tested positive in the two.

In relation to whether there is any special treatment to cure COVID-19, the Minister replied that there was no specific treatment, but a treatment of the symptoms. “We are using WHO protocols”, he affirmed.

Another question referred to whether there was any drug that could form part of the prevention. “For the moment, there is no other prevention that the preventive measures we are speaking about”, replied the head of Health.

Finally, he was asked what lessons had been learned from COVID-19. The Minister replied that the lesson was “that now, with this experience, we are going to improve national health greatly”.

The Minister sent a message to the population to have confidence in the doctors and laboratory specialists, “We are doing the impossible to prevent the tragedy that exists in many countries, we are working day and night to help our people. For that reason we need your collaboration so that everything goes well”.

Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office

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