COVID-19, a reality in Africa, no longer a threat – WHO Director

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, says as African countries confirm cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the virus ceases to be a threat and becomes a reality on the continent.

Moeti, in a statement posted on the organisation’s website, said Senegal reported its first case of COVID-19 on Monday, becoming the fourth African country to confirm the virus.

She said “we are working with countries in the region to ensure that measures are taken to contain further spread of the virus.

“So far, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria have reported cases. The case in Senegal was confirmed a day after Algeria reported two new cases on March 1.”

According to her, the Senegal patient is a French national and a resident of Senegal who returned to Dakar on Feb. 25.

The case was confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory of the Pasteur Institute of Senegal.

The Ministry of Health has notified WHO, and a team of experts from WHO’s Emergency Hub in Dakar are supporting the Senegalese health authorities.

The patient had stayed in the southern French town of Nimes, as well as in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. He has been isolated at a hospital in Dakar.

In addition, she said, WHO is supporting countries in their efforts to increase their preparedness, especially in ensuring early detection of vital signs and that control measures are in place and are as robust as possible.

“WHO is working with our network of researchers and other experts to coordinate regional work on surveillance, epidemiology, modelling, diagnostics, clinical care and treatment, as well as other ways to identify, manage the disease and limit onward transmission.

“WHO has issued interim guidance to countries, which is regularly updated, taking into account ongoing developments.

“Guidance has recently been issued on topics, including quarantine measures, citizen repatriations, and how to ensure that workplaces are prepared for COVID-19,’’ the director said.

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