Johannesburg – African Union (AU) heads of state have resolved to establish regional task forces as part of efforts aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 across regional blocks on the continent.
This according to AU chair President Cyril Ramaphosa who in his weekly newsletter, indicated that African countries would have to ensure collective effort if they were to win the battle against coronavirus, whose confirmed infection cases were at 1655 in SA including eleven deaths by Monday.
Ramaphosa said the global pandemic served as a stark reminder of global interconnectedness, which meant that no country existed for and of itself.
“South Africa is not the only African country battling to contain the spread of the worst global public health emergency in a century. To date there have been over 7 800 confirmed cases in nearly 50 African countries. A number of African countries have embarked on similar measures to those we have adopted here, such as border closures, nationwide lockdowns and the roll-out of mass screening and testing programmes,” Ramaphosa said.
He indicated that he had on April 3 held a teleconference with other heads of state and the World Health Organisation (WHO) where he received an update on the state of the pandemic in Africa and the world.
“What they told us was extremely concerning. It confirmed the need to act swiftly and to undertake extraordinary measures. There is a common appreciation that this virus, if not contained, could present a very real and serious setback to all our countries as we strive to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment in already constrained circumstances,” he said.
The African leaders have now agreed to establish regional coronavirus task forces in each of Africa’s five regions, which are Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa and Northern Africa.
“They will oversee screening, detection and diagnosis; infection prevention and control; clinical management of infected persons; and communication and community engagement,” Ramaphosa said.
Among other plans that were put in place by the AU is the establishment of the African Union Covid-19 Response Fund, which has seen member states committing a total of $12.5 million to date.
By Siviwe Feketha