Coronavirus: Will Africa Shut Down Movie Theaters?

In the wake of what could be the world’s deadliest pandemic, Africa has suffered its first loss to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) causing an uneasy stir stretching even to the entertainment industry if eventually push gets to shove.

As the Coronavirus is spreading and taking its toll on cities, governments, health institutions and the people, there are rising concerns globally as to closing large gatherings such as worship centres, big shows, entertainment hubs including movie theatres as the disease outbreak continues to spread and pose deadlier.

The numbers are not looking good in every affected country of the world. As of March 10, Woldometer recorded 114,422 cases, 4,027 deaths and 64,081 recovered cases – a worrisome statistics that is sending chills on all fronts around the globe.

Iran has reported 43 in the past 24 hours, as authorities are bent on limiting the Covid-19 spread by closing schools and urging people not to travel. Italy also has suspended every sporting activity throughout the country and put over 16million people on quarantine.

Already, global stocks have plummeted, same for oil prices, social activities and businesses.  With the increasing number of those diseased, affected countries all over the globe are taking huge steps in reducing clusters of people to prevent the uncontrollable prevalence of the coronavirus Covid-19.

As reported by Quartz Africa, the 60-year-old male German tourist who arrived in Egypt became Africa’s first Covid-19 fatality. The tourist tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, March 5 and died on March 8 after refusing to be moved to an isolation unit which saw his condition worsen with breathing complications. With his death, the confirmed cases seems to have shot up over the weekend as 45 infected people aboard a cruise ship landed in Egypt’s coastal city in southern Egypt, Luxor.

Coronavirus: Will Africa Shut Down Movie Theaters?
Health Workers in Italy Spraying Sanitizers on Stadium Seats

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More and more infections are being confirmed on a daily basis across the rest of the continent. Algeria saw a spike last week after nine new cases. As for Sub Saharan Africa, they have recorded more cases too in Cameroun, Togo and South Africa as they have all confirmed index cases over the past four days. Nigeria has also confirmed a second case which was linked to the index case.

North Africa, Due to North Africa’s proximity to Europe and ties through tourism, migration, and trade the region may be particularly at risk of the outbreak, as their high number of cases show already.

Nigerian public health officials say there could be more to come as they are finding it challenging in tracking down people who had contact with the index case.

Coronavirus: Will Africa Shut Down Movie Theaters?
Snippet showing top 8 worst-hit countries on March 10. Source Woldometer

Though the spate of the outbreak in Africa is very low compared with Asia and Europe, there is still significant worry if there will be a full-blown outbreak of the coronavirus across the continent.

While some public health experts have attributed the slow spread of the disease in the dark continent to proactive measures taken by African governments with the devastating Ebola disease, there is much room for concern regardless especially with its weaker and underfunded public health systems and infrastructure.

So, will Africa take that bold step to shut down movie theatres as well as large gatherings as the rising concerns continue to mount?

Even now, the release of 6 top Hollywood box office movies according to Business Insider; Mulan, Black Widow, Fast & Furious 9, No Time to Die (James Bond), Mission Impossible 7 and Bloodshot are already being impacted by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) as their dates are either being moved forward or production dates halted. As for China where the Covid-19 originated, it has since shut its 70,000 theatres since January when the numbers got to uncontrollable state.


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