Mali disputes lack of ventilator reports

2020-03-23 21:00
Security guard at entrance 5 with mask sanitises people's hands during the media briefing to discuss the first case of Covid-19 at Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape.(Photo by Gallo Images/Misha Jordaan)

Security guard at entrance 5 with mask sanitises people's hands during the media briefing to discuss the first case of Covid-19 at Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape.(Photo by Gallo Images/Misha Jordaan)

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The Malian government on Monday said it had many times more ventilators available for dealing with coronavirus than an official document indicated.

An internal health ministry document entitled "Action Plan for Preventing and Responding to Covid-19," which AFP consulted in mid-March, suggested that there was just a single ventilator in the entire country.

READ | Mali panics over coronavirus

In a statement to AFP, the health ministry said 41 ventilators were available in public hospitals and 15 in private facilities in Bamako, and "all are operational."

The landlocked Sahel country has not recorded any case of the new virus, but its poverty, poor medical infrastructure and conflict are conditions that experts say badly heighten vulnerability to contagious disease.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse said "we are preparing for the worst" and cautioned, "the means at our disposal do not enable us to be behind every Malian."

Mali has already closed borders at airports, stepped up controls on land frontiers, shuttered schools and banned gatherings for more than 50 people.

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa  |  coronavirus
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