The President of the Republic of Somaliland HE Muse Bihi Abdi spoke to the nation on COVID-19 and gave details on the numbers and what his government is doing about the fast spreading pandemic.

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The President spoke about testing and contact tracing and how it helps preventing the spread of COVID-19 and added that Djibouti is an excellent example for Africa and the Horn of Africa in how it has handled the spread of the disease.

President Bihi also spoke about testing even if one is not infected, although he did not mention how this would be possible since current testing capacity is very limited. He also spoke about the possible stigma that may come with being suspected of having COVID-19 as was the case with tuberculous or AIDS.

On social distancing, face masks and hand washing, the President said it is so far the only prevention method that is universally agreed on that helps the spread of the virus.

The President equated the disease to a disaster and such as war or a tornado and implored the public to take the direction of the healthcare professionals.

There has been confusing messaging about the status of mosques and if they should be shutdown to prevent the spread of the disease, so far that has not happen and President Bihi stated in his speech today that the religious scholars are meeting the COVID-19 committee today to discuss this further adding “It is puzzling why they are still gathering people in the mosques for traweeh prayers while the disease is spreading and those who are listening to them, do they not believe in science, do they not accept the facts, do they want to get folks sick, what are they thinking is the question”.

Finally, the President spoke about an inciden that occured yesterday where some private schools have called students to sit for an exam despite the direction of the Ministry of Education and Science that no exams will be conducted “Are they tring to educate the children or are they trying to kill them?” said the President about the owners of these private schools and added that no exams will occur until the healthcare professionals deem it safe and that unspecified legal steps will be taken against these violators.

At the end of his speech, the President called up on the nation to listen to the advice of the healthcare professionals.