Cameroon President Biya breaks two-month silence on virus

In Summary

• The 87-year-old 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.

President Paul Biya of Cameroon.
President Paul Biya of Cameroon.
Image: FILE

Cameroon's President Paul Biya has addressed the nation for the first time since coronavirus spread to Cameroon on 6 March.

Biya urged people in Cameroon to remain calm, trust the government and join the fight against the disease.

During his broadcast on state TV he also cancelled this year's National Day celebrations, marked on 20 May, because of a ban on gatherings.

The 87-year-old 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 Mr 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 communications on the crisis.

They announced a lockdown and later the easing of measures, amid rumours of Biya’s failing health.

Apart for a few seconds at the start of the broadcast when his head trembled and his voice shook, his 18-minute broadcast seemed like his other broadcasts.

Cameroon has recorded 3,529 coronavirus cases including 140 deaths.