WHO urges Africa to prepare for COVID-19 as 2nd case confirmed

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO, Regional Director for Africa, has urged all countries in the region to prepare for Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the second case has been confirmed.

Moeti who made the call in her twitter handle @Moeti Tshidi said Algeria had just announced the first case of COVID-19.

This follows Africa’s first COVID-19 case which was reported earlier in February in Egypt.

Algeria is one of the 47 countries in the WHO African region.

Algeria’s health ministry reported the country’s first case of the virus after tests indicated that an Italian man who arrived in the country on Feb. 17 had tested positive.

“The window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for the coronavirus is closing. All countries must ramp up their preparedness activities.”

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Meanwhile, at an emergency meeting on Saturday with African health ministers at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, WHO pledged to support Africa in its response plan.

It pledged to support Africa on joint coronavirus disease preparedness and response strategies as the threat loom over the continent.

However, WHO had conducted a survey with countries to assess their overall readiness for COVID-19 and found Africa readiness level was estimated at 66 per cent.

Moeti said there was still a gap to be filled in the continent level of readiness.

“We need urgently to prioritise strengthening the capacities for countries to investigate alerts, treat patients in isolation facilities and improve infection, prevention and control in health facilities and in communities,’’ she said.

Coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019 and has spread to more than 30 other countries, including the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

In China, the death toll from the outbreak reached 2,663 on Tuesday, with nearly 76,700 confirmed cases as health experts scramble to find a cure.


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