WHO concerned at potential risk of Covid 19 spread in Africa, Morocco ready to help
Africa could be a big victim of the coronavirus, which crippled many cities in China and led to deaths elsewhere as scientists still struggle to find a cure.
“Our greatest concern is about the potential for spread in countries with weaker health systems,” Tedros Adhanom, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said.
If the virus outbreaks in a country already strained by other diseases such as the Congo- which is still fighting an Ebola outbreak — it will be even harder to control.
Many other African countries are also at a high risk of importing the new virus in view of the volume of air traffic with China, which spent the past decade investing in Africa pushing the number of flights up 600%.
The data published by a team of researchers using a model based on flights frequency found that Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa were at the highest virus infection risk.
However, all three have a fairly strong ability to respond to infectious threats, and the demographic, social, and political environments offer the population some protection against epidemics.
Amid these fears, the African Union convened an emergency meeting on COVID-190 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Morocco’s Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb, who took part in the meeting, said that the North African country is ready to share its expertise and experience with less equipped African countries as the continent takes measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The Moroccan official who explained the effective measures that Rabat has deployed since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, central China, insisted that the worldwide emergency around the virus means African countries should work together to face the crisis continentally.
Khalid Ait Taleb made his comments on the heels of encouraging news on Morocco’s efforts to prevent the spread of the novel virus and at the time all 167 Moroccans repatriated from Wuhan on February 2 were released Saturday after a 20-day quarantine period ended with none of them showing any symptoms of the coronavirus.
China has seen more than 76,000 infections and 2,442 deaths. The virus has since spread from Hubei province in China to at least 11 other countries, including Italy.
Italian officials imposed strict quarantine restrictions in two northern “hotspot” regions close to Milan and Venice, as the number of coronavirus cases soared to 130 – the worst outbreak in Europe.
Schools and museums have been closed and sporting and cultural events suspended as Italian authorities struggle to contain the spread of the virus.
South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level”. The UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo.
Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan have closed their borders with Iran, where eight people are known to have died. Iranian officials have ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural centers in 14 provinces.