Updated: Feb 17
The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus in China has raised great concerns around the world. Latest stories developing across the globe suggests that this virus should no longer be seen as merely the “Chinese Problem” but a global disaster, since several cases have been recently reported in various regions around the world. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the emergency level to code red, it is expected that every nation should be prepared for an imminent attack since over 100 cases have been confirmed in 22 countries across the world - outside China.
The Big Question: Should Africa be concerned, if so how concerned?
Answer: Very concerned
As at the time this article was written, no case has been reported in Africa. However, there is need to take necessary measures in order to prevent an outbreak in any part of this continent. Statistics show that over 1 million Chinese reside in Africa, and an estimated 200,000 Africans work in various regions across China, and China is currently Africa’s largest trading partner. As sad as it may sound, Africa is currently one of the most vulnerable continent when it comes to pandemic outbreaks and containment.
It is rather unfortunate that the timing of this outbreak coincides with the Chinese New Year, and as expected, many Chinese based in Africa who traveled to their homeland for the holiday, are expected to return within this period. It is expected that the recent turn of events could cause great panic within the African community, and experts fear that a situation of this magnitude raises the possibility of xenophobic attacks within the region.
Recent happenings across the globe should give the African government reasons to be concerned about an imminent outbreak, and measures to stunt the massive spread of this virus (in the case of an outbreak) should already be in put place. State and federal governments across African nations should work with the WHO to set up emergency procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Major publicity should be done by media groups to sensitize the general public on ways to prevent this virus and how it can be contracted. This will obviously go a long way in preventing the widespread of rumors, panic, and the disease across this region.
At Reachiiing, we believe that getting the right information is the first step to preventing an outbreak of Coronavirus in Africa.
Article Credit: Ima-Abasi Joseph Pius