As Africa braces for the coronavirus pandemic, several leaders are spearheading efforts in telling their population how to stay healthy and avoid the illness.
Guinean President Alpha Conde made a public appearance in the capital, Conakry, on Thursday, to advise citizens to wash their hands regularly and stay away from large gatherings. Those who can afford to buy menthol should put it in their nostrils and drink hot water often, he said. The appearance was widely seen as a bid to dispel persistent rumours the 82-year-old was about to be evacuated after contracting the disease.
On the other side of the continent, in the East African nation of Uganda, a video of President Yoweri Museveni exercising in his expansive, red-carpeted office went viral. The 75-year-old leader is seen running barefoot across the room and performing a series of push-ups on a towel. “It’s good to go outdoors when there’s no problem,” a panting Museveni tells viewers. “But when there’s a need you can go indoors.”
In Liberia, President George Weah, a former soccer professional who won the World Player of the Year award, opted for music to spread awareness about the virus. He released a song on his Facebook account explaining that droplets from coughing can be contagious. “It could be your mama, your papa, brother and sister,” he sings. “Let’s stand together to fight this deadly disease now.” Liberia was among the countries hit hardest by the worst-ever Ebola epidemic that began in 2014 and killed more than 11 000 people in West Africa.
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