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In Africa, stigma surrounding coronavirus hinders response

In this April 30, 2020, file photo, mourners gather to bury an elderly man believed to have died of the coronavirus but whose family asked not to be named because of the social stigma, in Mogadishu, Somalia. A dangerous stigma has sprung up around the coronavirus in Africa — fueled, in part, by severe quarantine rules in some countries as well as insufficient information about the virus. (AP Photo/File)
Photo Credit: AP Photo/File

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — After 23 days in quarantine in Uganda — far longer than required — Jimmy Spire Ssentongo walked free in part because of a cartoon he drew. It showed a bound prisoner begging for liberation after multiple negative tests, while a health minister demanded to know where he was hiding the virus.

“The impression was that we were a dangerous group and that what was necessary was to protect the rest of society from us,” said Ssentongo, a cartoonist for Uganda’s Observer newspaper who was put in quarantine when he returned from Britain in March.

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