February 26, 2024

The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to test every suspected case of coronavirus in order to bring the outbreak under control. 

Not every African country can test for the virus yet, raising fears that cases could be missed. 

At least 30 countries on the continent have now confirmed an outbreak. Most of them are dealing with single-digit confirmed cases but are already taking drastic measures to limit travel. 

Several African countries still lack capacity to test for coronavirus.

Libya is one of them, with no confirmed case of the disease, but it has now banned entry by land and air to prevent importation of the infection.

Somalia also banned international flights shortly after announcing an outbreak. The country’s health system is fragile – it could quickly get overwhelmed by cases.

Sudan declared a state of emergency and announced a nation-wide shutdown except for scheduled cargo.

The continental body created to deal with outbreaks – Africa CDC – says its advice right now is to quickly diagnose and contain the outbreak.

The agency has been working with the WHO to distribute testing equipment and supplies, and train health workers on the continent. A logistical hub has been set up in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

The continent got a boost on Monday evening when Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, pledged to donate more than a million testing kits, six million masks and protective suits to Africa. 

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