Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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    Overview

    The World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up preparedness efforts for the coronavirus disease, now known as COVID-19, in the African region and supporting countries there to implement the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, which met in Geneva, Switzerland on 30 January. On the advice of the Emergency Committee, the WHO Director-General, declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

    More recently, the WHO Regional Office for Africa was represented at an emergency meeting of the Minsters of Health in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on 14 February.  Ministers resolved to strengthen coordination and cooperation among Member States, enhance surveillance measures at points of entry, increase public awareness efforts, and to develop a regional preparedness plan.

    The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Africa to the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.   While so far there have been no confirmed cases reported of the coronavirus disease among the 47 member states in the WHO African Region, fragile health systems and links between China and the African continent mean that the threat posed by this new virus is considerable.

    The WHO Regional Office for Africa is supporting Member States prepare for a potential case of COVID-19 in a number of ways.  WHO has dispatched experts to countries believed to be at higher risk of an outbreak of coronavirus to assist in areas including case management, surveillance and early detection.  Across the continent, WHO is working to increase the capacity of national laboratories to detect COVID-19 by supplying reagents, testing equipment and training for staff.  Essential personal protective equipment has also been dispatched by WHO to some countries in Africa.


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