The mayor of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, says the city has recorded about 500 deaths over the past two weeks which he suspects are as a result of Covid-19.
The federal government has so far confirmed 44 deaths from the pandemic out of 928 known coronavirus cases, but Mayor Omar Filish told the BBC that the numbers are likely to be much higher.
“We worked on counting the number of bodies that have been taken to graves in Banaadir region. We have been doing this since the middle of last month and today alone we have recorded 33 deaths. The highest number we had in a day was 49 and the lowest was 22,” he said.
Workers at the Mogadishu cemetery said they have noticed an increase in the number of burials, digging about 20 graves each day.
Health workers share the mayor’s concern. The Somali Medical Association has warned more people will die from Covid-19 if a lockdown is not implemented and health workers don’t get more support.
Somalia has one of the weakest health systems in the world following decades of civil war. It has less than 20 intensive care beds available and only one public hospital ready to deal with coronavirus patients.