The coronavirus outbreak is no longer a threat for Africa, it is now a reality as more and more countries on the continent have cases.
East Africa is the last region to confirm infections: Sudan confirmed that a 50-year-old man has died and Ethiopia said a Japanese man who recently travelled to the country tested positive to Covid-19.
News at the weekend that a Kenyan woman, who travelled from the U.S. via London, had the virus sparked panic buying in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning that the window of opportunity to prepare is closing and that critical gaps remain.
“Every country can still change the course of this pandemic by scaling up their emergency preparedness or response,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.
The inter-governmental organisation says it has now shifted from “readiness” to “response” mode on the continent.
Most of the confirmed cases involve people arriving from Europe and North America. The WHO said while local transmission – that is people with no travel history – remains low, containment is the most appropriate strategy. That means detecting cases quickly, isolating them to minimise transmission, treating them and tracing their contacts.
Yet the relatively low numbers in Africa have baffled experts.
Some suggest the tropical climate is less favourable to the new virus.
John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Prevention and Control, says no data is available to support that theory.
One thing that put Africa a step ahead of the rest of the world was its early screening at airports and other ports of entry.
SOURCE: The Nation