Cameroon’s 87-year-old President Paul Biya has addressed the nation for the first time since coronavirus spread to Cameroon on March 6.
Biya urged people in Cameroon to remain calm, trust the government and join the fight against the disease, in a broadcast on state TV.
He also cancelled this year’s National Day celebrations because of a ban on gatherings.
“Like most countries in the world Cameroon is suffering from COVID-19,” Biya said Tuesday night on state channel CRTV.
“The number of people infected rises day after day, bringing proof that the fight against the pandemic is complex and difficult.”
Biya urged people to respect “measures taken by the government, such as the obligatory wearing of masks”.
He also asked them “not to give in to panic and not to believe false information put out on social networks”.
The president praised health workers for their efforts in containing the spread of coronavirus.
He warned of economic challenges following the decline in commodity prices and trade.
Since the disease spread to Cameroon, there had been concerns about president Biya’s whereabouts.
He had only appeared in two still photos and it was the Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute and Health Minister Malachie Manaouda who had been leading government communication on the crisis.
They announced lockdown and later the easing of measures, amid rumours of President Biya’s failing health.
Cameroon has recorded 3,529 coronavirus cases including 140 deaths.