Cameroonians especially those in the English- Speaking regions of the country have for the last three years managed to live through a war that has taken thousands of lives.
A situation one thought could not get worse, regular ghost towns, random lockdowns, arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and extra judicial killings were a few of the vices they managed to survive on a daily basis.
To Louis, a business man in Buea, the coronavirus outbreak adds salt to injury.
“We can no longer operate beyond 6PM and even during the day you don’t see people again. They are staying indoors because everyone wants to stay healthy.”
Asked why he does not stay home to reduce chances of contracting the virus, Louis asked “stay home and eat what?”
“I am a family man, my kids and their mother need to eat. We use water and lights and when it’s time for bills they will not ask who stayed home” he adds.
The regular ghost towns on Mondays Louis says only makes matters worse.
A taxi driver who chose to identify himself as Picolo shares a similar view. “When you transport the few people you see at the end of the day you make just enough money to buy fuel and settle the car owner. You save nothing and you eat nothing, you will still die of hunger.”
“This virus problem may be worse than the ghost town” he says, because “we are always told beforehand and we prepare. But no one knows when this one will end if government chooses to lockdown.”
Mildred, a student at the University of Buea’s Faculty of Health Sciences says “all I want is for this to go away.”
“It may not sound as terrifying as the gunshots by the military and those boys used to, but it will kill more than them if we are not careful.”
As a result of the virus, some separatist groups in the Anglophone regions have agreed to call for a ceasefire, but the Cameroon government has maintained its usual silence.
According to the Minister of public health, Cameroon has 193 positive cases of coronavirus as of today.