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Background: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has registered more than 16 million cases and has been declared a global pandemic. Social distancing measures have been recommended as part of health policies aimed at reducing the transmission of the disease. These have resulted in adverse social and economic implications; many countries are therefore discussing exit strategies for the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
Aim: To explore the COVID-19 management policies and their outcomes among 9 African countries in order to guide the upcoming and ongoing relaxation of containment and mitigation measures.
Methods: Daily COVID-19 statistics were obtained from the World Health Organization between12th March 2020 and 17th July 2020). Data on government policies was obtained from the Human Data Exchange Program between 20th January 2020 and 24th July 2020, a service operated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Data analysis was conducted using the Python (version 3) programming language modules: Pandas, NumPy, Matplotlib, Seaborn and SciPy.
Results: The most common containment and mitigation measures were under the categories of; health systems strengthening, enhanced detection measures, implementation of quarantine measures, movement restrictions and social distancing. Countries with low cases and low deaths prioritised social distancing and movement restriction policies, while countries with high cases and high deaths focused on quarantines, closures of public places and borders and public communication. High cases with low death areas implemented health systems strengthening, social distancing, detection and logistics/ security improvement. Low cases with high death countries focused on public communication and improved detection measures.
Conclusion: The current study found that social distancing measures remain an effective method of controlling COVID-19. However, coordination between government and organisations to develop social distancing protocols within businesses and specialist organisations such as the military, prisons, educational facilities and the transport industry was observed in countries with better control of the disease