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WHO: Africa states must work together to tackle coronavirus

April 6, 2020 at 9:22 am

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who gathered at Bole Medehanialem Church walk and pray for the immediate disappearance of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the end of death and the recovery of patients in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 24 March 2020. [Minasse Wondimu Hailu – Anadolu Agency]

African Union (AU) leaders must work together “in an integrated manner in preparation for an imminent storm of novel coronavirus infections on the continent,” the World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general said yesterday.

“African leaders should speed up and access necessary medical supplies and goods,” Tedros Adhanom added during a virtual mini-summit which the presidents of nine African countries and the chairman of the African Commission attended.

During the meeting, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that his government had decided “not to impose a complete lockdown”, stressing that “each country has its own peculiarities.”

Referring to “millions of daily wage earners in Ethiopia,” Ahmed pointed out that his government might be able to save them from the coronavirus by imposing a nationwide embargo, warning that the lockdown could “kill them from hunger, given the government’s poor resources.”

The death toll from COVID-19 across 50 African countries has reached 339, with 80,000 infected people, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

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