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Coronavirus Testing Centre Targeted by Ivory Coast Protesters

Apr 07, 2020

Residents in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, have demolished a coronavirus testing centre. The centre was being built in the district of Yopougon, where residents complained it was being constructed too close to their homes.

Social media videos show people tearing the centre down with their bare hands, and destroying construction materials.

According to the health ministry the building was intended as a testing facility only, never as a treatment centre. Police said the hostility arose from a misunderstanding that patients with Covid-19 would be treated at the centre, and that people using the facility would spread the epidemic through the district.

Over 100 residents of Yopougon, started tearing apart the structure on Sunday, burning tyres nearby. Residents returned on Monday and at threw rocks at police who used tear gas to disperse them.

The centre is one of several being built in Abidjan, which is under lockdown. Authorities have closed schools, places of worship and most businesses and have and imposed a night-time curfew in the rest of the African state. The hostility shown in Abidjan is the first sign of community resistance to the coronavirus response in Ivory Coast.

There was a similar response during Ebola outbreaks in West and Central Africa where people attacked health workers, believing them to have brought disease to their communities, rather than offering vital medical care.

The Ivory Coast has registered 261 confirmed coronavirus cases and three deaths.

Umm Muhammed Umar    

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