Covid-19 in Tindouf : Doctors contradict the Polisario’s reassuring version

The reassuring version of the Polisario leadership on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the Tindouf camps is denounced by Sahrawi doctors, who warned against the worrying spread of the virus in the camps.


Officially, no new coronavirus case has been recorded during the last couple of days in the Tindouf camps, the Polisario press agency reports. Speaking earlier this week, the spokesperson for the Covid-19 Protection Commission Mohamed Salem Cheikh said that «42 suspected coronavirus cases» were recorded in the camps.  


The numbers communicated by the official are however contradicted by Sahrawi doctors. In a statement sent to Yabiladi, they pointed out to the worrying situation in the camps amid the global health crisis. «We have no hydroalcoholic gel, no gloves, no protective masks to properly work», a Sahrawi doctor denounced. Due to a lack of sufficient resources, doctors are not immune to the spread of the deadly virus.


«We already mourn the loss of a colleague. His family has also been infected».


The same doctors revealed that several patients have died of the coronavirus. He referred to «three deaths, one from Bir El Guendouz, another from Mijek and the brother of a doctor».


The Polisario in denial


Another health professional, who requested anonymity, protested against the «reassuring messages» often voiced by the Polisario. «Do not listen to them, this is not just a passing fever, as they claim, people die on a daily basis» he said.


As aforementioned, the doctor denounced the difficult working conditions and the lack of masks, gels, and gloves. The two testimonies also denounce the absence of members of the Polisario leadership among the sick, as if to better ignore the extent of the pandemic in Tindouf.


Faced with voices contesting the official version of the leadership of the Polisario Front, the regional director of health at the «Smara camp» had to recognize the worrying spread of the coronavirus in his region. «There are positive cases and proven deaths from Covid-19», he said.


Its services have also «recorded deaths with a mysterious fever, without being able to determine whether it is the pandemic of the coronavirus or another disease». Yesterday, however, Doctor Salem Cheikh spoke of 52 PCR tests carried out on Sahrawis in all of the Tindouf camps. 


A recent report from the Algerian Ministry of Health reported 113 positive cases for the new coronavirus and only one death in the entire Wilaya of Tindouf. Nationally, Algeria had 33,055 cases and 1,261 deaths.