By Neville Mesumbe & Sharon Techu
Bamenda, Cameroon – Anxiety has gripped the population of Northwest Regional capital Bamenda after news broke that 12 students have tested positive for COVID-19.
According to reports, six cases were confirmed at Our Lady of Lourdes College and five at Sacred Heart College Mankon.
According to a release from the Communication Office of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, signed by the Director of Communication, Fr Humphrey Tatah Mbuy, the first case involved a student from Our Lady of Lourdes College, who was tested positive of the novel coronavirus on Friday, June 26, at Mankon General Hospital.
According to him, the school authorities and some officials of the Regional Delegation of Health carried out massive testing in the college.
The release further stated that six cases were confirmed positive after the testing exercise at Our Lady of Lourdes College and another five at Sacred Heart College Mankon.
Fr. Humphrey said the students were immediately rushed to the treatment centre at Azam Hotel and their parents duly informed. “Any parent who has not been informed about his child should therefore not worry because it means that the child was tested negative,” the Communication Director of the Bamenda Archdiocese said.
The priest furthered that the students are not the only people in the treatment Centre. “There are other people there including one of our priests. A good number of people quarantined in Azam Hotel are responding positively,” he said.
He frowned at misleading reports circulating on social media that about “50 kids” have been “collected” from Catholic boarding schools in Mankon and are been “administered some strange medication in a sachet with Chinese writing” without the concern of their parents.
According to the religious official, the author of the social media write-up called on the population to move to Azam Hotel to rescue their kids from being used as guinea pigs and for them to charge the Catholic Education authorities and the Archbishop of Bamenda to explain their “misdeeds.”
The priest blamed such unprofessionalism on the rise of citizen journalists. “We are aware that that citizen journalism is very much on the rise and many people in our society think that they too can provide news online…let us always verify facts before we post them on the public square.” As of June 30, 497 persons have been diagnosed of COVID-19 in the Northwest Region.
So far statistics of July 1st show that Cameroon has recorded more than 13 000 cases of COVID-19, with over 11 000 recovered cases.