Coronavirus: Africa on Alert, Cases Rising

  • The vast majority are so-called "imported" cases— people who have traveled between Africa and contaminated areas.
  • According to the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso, the plan to combat the epidemic is estimated at more than €13 million.
  • Currently, all African airlines, except one, have suspended their flights to China, and this has had a negative impact on their turnover.

While Covid-19 puts Italy under the bell, Africa continues to slowly calculate proven cases on its territory. After the latest Coronavirus case in Kinshasa, a Congolese resident from France, the number of patients with coronavirus on the continent has reached 111, according to the news sources.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

The vast majority are so-called “imported” cases— people who have traveled between Africa and contaminated areas. This is the situation in Morocco, where the authorities confirmed two new cases on 11 March— in this case, the wife and daughter of a French tourist already hospitalized in Marrakech. Also, in Burkina Faso, the first two cases of a married couple who returned from France in late February were confirmed by the Minister of Health, Claudine Louge.

According to the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso, the plan to combat the epidemic is estimated at more than 9 billion CFA francs, or €13 million. This is a major effort in response to concerns expressed by the World Health Organization since the beginning of the epidemic against Africa.

“In most countries, health systems are weaker than elsewhere in the world,” said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. However, he praised the “significant improvement in diagnostic capacity” on the continent and said over 40 countries now have the capacity to test for the virus.

In addition to health measures, African governments have also decided to cancel many activities, again to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Those affected included the CEO Forum in Abidjan, a major meeting place for investors, and the Sable Marathon in Morocco, among other events.

A pandemic is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic.

On Tuesday 10 March, the Tanzanian government announced the cancellation of a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The meetings and negotiations will be held via videoconference, scheduled for 16 and 17 March.

With the threat of large-scale contamination, some African countries are gradually beginning to sever their ties with contaminated areas. Thus, logically, the transport sector has been strongly affected.

“Currently, all African airlines, except one, have suspended their flights to China, and this has had a negative impact on their turnover,” said Abderrahmane Berthé, General Secretary of the Association of African Airlines (AFRAA) at a press briefing on Tuesday in Nairobi. The senior official also said that the demand for international travel has declined due to restrictions in place in many countries around the world.

For example, Royal Air Maroc has suspended its flights to Italy until further notice. Air Algérie has withdrawn all its services to Milan. Tunisia, for its part, announced on Tuesday the closure of Tunisian ports for ships coming from Italy, and this will continue until April 4, 2020.

According to the Merchant Marine and Port Authority (OMMP), “this measure aims to protect travelers and prevent the spread of highly contagious coronavirus” on Tunisian soil, where six cases have been registered. The country has also limited its weekly border crossing with France to one border crossing between the ports of La Gulet and Marseille. On the other hand, ships for the transport of goods are serviced.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.

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