The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Cameroon reached 509 after 203 people tested positive on Friday.

Public Health Minister Manaouda Malachie said eight people have died from the virus and 17 have recovered.

The central African country counted 306 confirmed cases a day earlier.

The new confirmed cases were part of a “large-scale sampling and testing” that involved some 800 people who were suspected and their samples taken during the week, the minister explained saying the new cases, “although asymptomatic, have a high potential for contamination.”

Dr Malachie said the government has revised its strategy to fight against the deadly pandemic in the phase of the growing numbers of new cases.

The revised approach he said includes the active search for cases, in particular through massive testing of populations, the optimal management of confirmed positive cases, from the point of view of protocols, hospital care and equipment supply.

It also comprises of a social regulation, the objective of which is to limit community contamination, notably through awareness raising and regulation of the flow of people in crowded areas and governance and accountability, with an aim to ensure efficient management of human resources and guarantee transparency in the management of resources made available.

A massive testing campaign began in the country’s economic hub, Douala, with community health workers going round the neighbourhoods to get potentially positive cases.

“Similarly, there is a large order for respiratory assistance equipment through the central procurement office of the United Nations Development Programme,” the minister said as part of efforts to contain the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the government extended by 15 days, some restrictive measures put in place to curb spread of the disease.

The semi-lockdown measures include shutting of schools and borders, banning of gatherings of more than 50 people, and encouraging people to follow hygiene rules.

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