Senegal sees dramatic COVID-19 surge as major holiday looms

by Msnbctv news staff

BARGNY, Senegal (AP) — Adama Ndiaye obtained up earlier than daybreak to journey about 25 miles (40 kilometers), hoping that she would be capable to get a sheep for the celebration subsequent week of the Muslim vacation of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha.

On account of the pandemic, promoting ice cream now not offers sufficient cash for the 63-year-old to assist her 4 youngsters nonetheless at house, particularly not to have the ability to purchase a sheep that prices about $140 to rejoice Tabaski, because the festivity is known as in Senegal.

As quickly as she heard that an Islamic charity could be donating sheep to the poor, Ndiaye registered to get one.

“I’ve prayed lots and I used to be not anticipating to have a sheep.” she mentioned. “God is aware of how I respect this.”

After getting her sheep, Ndiaye and different girls from her neighborhood piled right into a taxi with the animal and left. They’ll wait till Wednesday to slaughter the sheep and use it to organize a feast to be shared with household and associates.

As thousands and thousands in Senegal put together for Tabaski, well being officers warn that COVID-19 instances are dramatically surging within the West African nation. In simply weeks, new confirmed instances have risen from dozens a day to a report of 738 on Friday after which almost doubled in a single day to 1,366 on Saturday, based on the Ministry of Well being.

Almost 36% of three,815 assessments carried out prior to now 24 hours got here again constructive, the well being ministry mentioned Saturday. Senegal has reported 50,374 instances and 1,214 deaths for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

Confronted with the dramatic improve, President Macky Sall and his Cupboard are limiting public gatherings and journey and urging the general public to proceed carrying masks and regularly sanitize their fingers. On Friday, Sall threatened to shut borders and impose a state of emergency once more if numbers proceed to rise.

Many in Senegal have relaxed their use of masks and different precautions after the nation’s early surges weren’t as extreme because the outbreaks in different international locations.

Tabaski, which can be celebrated on July 21 in Senegal, sees hundreds of individuals come collectively in giant household gatherings. Many well being officers are fearful as a result of within the run-up to the vacation, individuals throng marketplaces and collect to purchase sheep.

Solely about 600,000 individuals of Senegal’s inhabitants of greater than 16 million have been vaccinated. The nation has a restricted provide of vaccines and is awaiting additional deliveries of Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson.

About 30% of the brand new coronavirus infections in Senegal are from the delta variant, based on Souleymane Mboup, the director of the Institute for Well being Analysis, Epidemiological Surveillance and Coaching, one in all Senegal’s testing labs.

“We face a way more contagious virus,” Mboup mentioned.

The rise in instances is “unprecedented,” well being ministry spokesman Mamadou Ndiaye mentioned.

“The pandemic has impacted particularly essentially the most susceptible segments of the inhabitants,” mentioned Anne Catherine Dupre, mission coordinator in Senegal for the group Secours Islamique France.

Since final 12 months, 30% of the hundreds of individuals supported by the group have been pressured to cut back their consumption of meals on account of the pandemic, she mentioned.

“We’re already coping with populations which might be very susceptible, so actually, for them to cut back it, means they’re solely going to eat as soon as a day” she added.

Secours Islamique France has been working in Senegal since 2008 and has distributed meals and sheep throughout Ramadan and Tabaski. This 12 months they needed to improve their donations due to the rise in susceptible individuals due to the pandemic.

“It’s necessary for them to rejoice Tabaski. It’s crucial celebration in a rustic the place greater than 80% of the inhabitants are Muslims,” she added.

The group additionally distributes meals and cash, helps schooling and coaching for unemployed individuals. It plans to distribute about 2,000 sheep within the better Dakar space.

In the meantime, Ndiaye and others hope the pandemic ends quickly so issues can return to regular.

“I pray for the COVID to cease,” she mentioned. “If there may be good well being, we are able to all work.”

AP reporter Babacar Dione in Dakar contributed to this report.

This story has been corrected to indicate that the title of the group is Secours Islamique France, not Islamic Reduction France.

Observe all AP tales on the worldwide pandemic at

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