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COVID-19, 18 Thousand Confirmed Cases in Africa. Macron: Europe Must Cancel Debts

The COVID-19 has spread across Africa and has reached almost 18 thousand confirmed cases in 52 out of 54 countries and 913 deaths. African scientists and health officials are adapting coronavirus prevention technologies and strategies used in the past against other epidemic diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, Lassa fever and Ebola. An attempt to compensate for the serious shortage of healthcare systems in all the countries.

“Technically, Africa is not better prepared,” admitted Christian Happi, Director of the African center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at Reedemer’s University in Ede, Nigeria. “But in terms of understanding and combatting outbreaks with limited resources, Africa is much better prepared because they deal with outbreak on a permanent basis,” the scientist added in his interview in the Financial Times. The newspaper also reports that in South Africa, testing for the COVID-19 has increased using a network of over 200 public laboratories that was developed in response to HIV and tuberculosis outbreaks.

Furthermore, World Health Organization Africa announced it will use a data collection system in response to the coronavirus, called Avadar, that was originally used for polio.

Experimental tracking techniques developed during the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak that killed over 11 thousand people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, are currently being used against COVID-19 in west Africa. The most populated country in the area and the entire continent, Nigeria, is working to adapt about 400 rapid TB testing machines to test for COVID-19, and teams trained to test for Lassa fever will now add tracing coronavirus cases to their search.

As for the consequences of the emergency, the African Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a video conference with African Agriculture Ministers to analyze the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and nutrition.

The meeting was co-convened by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu ant the Chair of the AU Specialized technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment, Angela Thoko Didiza, and moderated by the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Sacko. At the end of the meeting, a strategic agreement was signed by the participants.

Meanwhile, international interventions to help Africa deal with the emergency have been proposed.

French President Emmanuel Macron stated that, “France and Europe must support Africa to fight the COVID-19 by cancelling its debts.”

His appeal follows calls by African leaders, the latest of which was President of Senegal Macky Sall, and Pope Francis. Debts and financial aid to the weakest economies on the planet will be discussed this week during the G20 Summit and the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

We hope Africa is a central topic for discussion.



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