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COVID-19 Spread Sparks Anti-Foreigner and Anti-Diaspora Sentiment in Cameroon

Officials in Cameroon are calling on citizens to stop attacks on foreigners and visitors from the diaspora who are being blamed for an increase in coronavirus cases.  The attacks began after some passengers on an Air France flight that landed in Cameroon last week ignored a quarantine order.  Forty-three-year-old businessman Ferdinand Muffo Che says he has been victim of regular attacks and harassment since he returned to Yaounde from Milan, Italy through France on March 17.  He says residents of Ekounou, the neighborhood where he lives, accuse him of being a healthy carrier infecting people with COVID-19. “I do not see why my own country where I was born will reject me because I have been out. The coronavirus is a problem that concerns the whole world,” he said. Instead, many of them escaped to their homes, provoking the anger of some Cameroonians. Cameroon health minister Manaouda Malachie has called on the population to stop the attacks.   He adds that everyone should respect measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. He says people who came in from Europe, China and America before Cameroon closed its borders should not be stigmatized, but that they as well as any other Cameroonian who has cold, severe respiratory syndrome, runny nose, cough, sore throat and tiredness, should contact the nearest hospital.