ECOWAS adopts common approach to address potential spread of COVID-19 virus
London, Feb. 17, 2020 (AltAfrica)– ECOWAS health ministers-ministers from the Economic Community of West African States have adopted a common ground to address the potential spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus in the region.
At a joint meeting in the Malian capital, Bamako, the 15 ECOWAS health ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation and increase vigilance and surveillance at entry ports.
Michel Hamala Sidibé, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Mali said the meeting had been successful and countries have bolstered resolve to cooperate to combat the virus.
“Today, we are leaving here, really satisfied because we are going to develop plans, of course national responses that already exist in several cases, we are going to try to consolidate them into plans that would really enable us to have a coherent approach that could be financed at the regional level.”
On Friday, Egypt confirmed the first case of COVID-19 virus in Africa.
African countries have been stepping up health checks for travellers from China, where the disease has killed over 1,500 and infected tens of thousands.
Meanwhile, three African countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Eswatini are the latest to announce investigation of suspected cases of the virus according to the African Union’s Center for Disease Control, CDC.
In a statement the CDC said that “the 17 contacts of the patient have tested negative, and all of them are under home isolation for 14 days. They are being followed up by the Ministry of Health and Population.
“Africa CDC is working closely with the WHO and other partners to ensure that the diagnostic tools needed by Egypt are available and that they take the right actions to contain the outbreak as quickly as possible,”
So far, the only confirmed case in Africa remains in Egypt where a 33-year-old foreigner was detected as having the COVID-19 virus despite not showing any signs.