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16 décembre 2022
In Guinea, the first case of Covid-19 was declared in Conakry, the country’s capital, on 12 March 2020. The pandemic happened in a tense socio-political context due to the organisation of a referendum authorising the candidacy and re-election of the then President for a third successive term as the head of the country. The health measures were thus decried by part of the population, who perceived them as tools put in place by the authorities to prevent political demonstrations. In the early days of the pandemic, Covid-19 was seen as a disease affecting only the elite and international travellers. However, the infection is now getting widespread, affecting all segments of society. Seroprevalence studies indicate a general population infection rate of 60% (Soumah et al. 2022). Based on an ethnography study conducted in Conakry between June 2020 and September 2021, I describe how the living conditions, roles and social status of the population expose them to contamination. I also highlight the beliefs and perceptions associated with contamination and the impossibility of applying barrier measures that prioritise prevention against Covid-19, as well as the tension between protecting the human life and assuring its connections to the social life.
Conakry, Covid-19, viral contamination, social actors, ethnography