COVID-19 reaches Africa
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially designated COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020. As at 09h.00 on 16 March 2020, 23 countries in the WHO African Region (sub-Sahara African countries plus Algeria) were affected by Coronavirus.
These countries are: Ethiopia, Kenya, Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Gabon, Congo, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Seychelles.
In addition, 4 countries from the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) are also affected. These are: Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, South Sudan. In total 27 countries are affected in Africa.
On 16 March, there was a total number of 170 cases and 4 deaths in the WHO African Region, while on the African continent as a whole there was a total of 327 cases and 7 deaths, WHO reported.
Focusing on containment
Containment remains the most appropriate strategy for African countries. Apart from South Africa and Algeria – which have clusters of transmission linked to imported cases – the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the African region are sporadic importations from European countries, mainly Italy, France, Germany and Spain, said WHO on 12 March.
To focus on containment in this narrowing window of available time, the WHO Regional Office for Africa is shifting from readiness to response mode. In countries with confirmed cases, efforts are underway to trace people who may have come into contact with those confirmed to have COVID-19. Work is ongoing to support countries as they bolster essential early-detection and surveillance capabilities at their ports, airports and land crossings.
Read more at WHO website