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Dr Sylvie Nantcha, chairman of TANG, left, launches the face masks produced by the group, in partnership with African associations in Germany, on Thursday /Photo: TANG

Coronavirus: Don’t lower your guard, TANG appeals to Africans in Germany

TANG, a network of hundreds of African organisations in Germany, has called on Africans in the country to continue to be vigilant as lockdown measures are being relaxed and active social life begins again

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As the gradual phasing out of the country’s lockdown measures takes off, Dr Sylvie Nantcha, chairman of The African Network of Germany (TANG), has called on Africans not to lower their guard as the new coronavirus is still very much there.

Dr Sylvie Nantcha, chairman of The African Network of Germany (TANG), opening the video conference on Thursday/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

 

Addressing the 6th TANG video conference on the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, Ms Nantcha gave an overview of the situation in Germany, pointing out that the easing of restrictions on social life called for renewed vigilance on the part of residents. “A care-free attitude could cause a resurgence of infection rates in the country and undo what we have achieved so far,” she added.

Nantcha talked about the decision of German states to make the wearing of face masks obligatory in the public to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Mask use will be compulsory on public transport throughout Germany as from Monday, 27 April, and nearly all states will also make mouth-and-nose coverings mandatory when shopping.

TANG is partnering with its member associations to produce masks with African textile material and has begun distributing them to members of the group and partner organisations.

Screenshots of the video conference, attended also by journalists from Ghana/Photo: TANG

 

Nantcha revealed at the conference, attended by regional executives of TANG and guests from Ghana, that government had authorized the first clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine, developed by cancer researcher and immunologist Ugur Sahin and his team at pharmaceutical company BioNTech. Other pharmaceutical companies are also developing vaccines against the novel coronavirus in Europe, China and the United States, she added.

Nantcha however explained that, in the view of experts, a vaccine was most likely not going to be available this year as they must be tested in several processes before being licensed for use.

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This realisation, she continued, means that residents of the country would have to continue to observe the government’s recommended A-H-A (Abstand+Hygiene+Alltagsmaske) formula – social distancing, washing of hands and wearing of face masks in crowded places where the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 m cannot be maintained between people, such as on public transport and while shopping.

As Muslims in Germany join their co-religionists around the world to commence fasting on Friday, Nantcha reminded the conference that gathering in churches and mosques in Germany was still prohibited, advising Muslims to have their prayers and meals individually or with their families at home.

She pointed out that Ramadan communal rituals and traditions, such as group meals and congregational prayers, have been suspended by Islamic authorities all over the world.

READ ALSO TANG renews call to Africans in Germany over coronavirus

As of Friday morning, Germany has recorded 153,215 cases while 106,800 have recovered. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed 5,575 people in the country so far.

The government recommends the A-H-A (Abstand+Hygiene+Alltagsmaske) formula – social distancing, washing of hands and wearing of face masks in crowded places where the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 m cannot be maintained between people, such as on public transport and while shopping – to protect ourselves and others going forward

 

Last week, Germany extended until 3 May most of the restrictions it had imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, though some shops have reopened, and older school children will be allowed to return to class. The measures have thus far contributed to Germany being able to avoid overwhelming its health care system with COVID-19 patients.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on residents of the country to exercise patience and discipline. Disciple now would result in a quicker return to normal economic activity and social life, she said.

TANG, a network of more than 700 African associations and individual members in Germany, is currently carrying out an awareness and sensitisation campaign in the African community on the coronavirus epidemic.

The action tagged Coronavirus TANG #Telefonaktion, which kicked off on 17 March, mobilises community associations to inform their members properly about the disease and the efforts of the government to curtail it.

Femi Awoniyi

More about The African Network in Germany (TANG) at http://tang-ev.de/

 

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