Thursday, February 27, 2020
African states are boosting preparedness after two confirmed COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases
- African governments will face growing domestic criticism over the non-repatriation (or delayed return) of citizens from China.
- Governments will struggle to improve citizens’ trust in the authorities, which hampered containment efforts during the Ebola crises.
- Resource-dependent states and China’s largest creditors will likely be most exposed to the virus’s economic impacts.
Algeria this week announced a confirmed COVID-19 case. This followed Africa’s first confirmed case in Egypt on February 14.
A recent study in The Lancet pinpointed Algeria, Egypt and South Africa as those at highest importation risk, but with moderate to high capacity to contain an outbreak, whereas countries such as Ethiopia and Nigeria have lower importation risk and moderate capacity, but high vulnerability and larger populations that could be exposed.
Strong trade and transport links with China and weak health systems leave African states acutely vulnerable, socially and economically, to an outbreak. Efforts to bolster regional preparedness will help, but vulnerabilities remain.
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