Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is chairman of the African Union, will convene a virtual meeting with the chairs of the continental body’s regional economic communities on Wednesday to discuss the impact of Covid-19.

In a statement, the Presidency said the meeting would discuss the measures undertaken to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including the establishment of the Africa Covid-19 Response Fund.

According to real-time data website Worldometer, Africa has to date recorded 35 806 confirmed cases of the virus first detected in China last December, and Egypt and South Africa are in the lead with 5 042 and 4 996 cases respectively.

Out of the confirmed cases, 1 528 people have died from complications related to the disease on the continent, while 11 871 have recovered.

“Reports indicate that the number of infections across the continent is rising, with huge implications for public health systems which will be severely challenged by the exponential curve of infections,” the Presidency said.

“The socio-economic and humanitarian impact of Covid-19 in Africa is likely to be felt months if not years after the epidemic, even as Africa implements economic measures to mitigate the epidemic risks.”

It said Ramaphosa would, during Wednesday’s virtual meeting, outline the strategies and measures that the AU Bureau had put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to deal with its massive economic impact.

Many African government have enforced lockdowns in their countries, shutting borders and restricting activity for all by essential services to try and curb new transmissions.

The AU has eight regional economic communities, namely the Arab Maghreb Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Community of Sahel–Saharan States, the East African Community, the Economic Community of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African States, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Southern African Development Community.

By ANA Reporter