How prepared is Africa to face COVID-19?

The epidemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a global concern and subsequently labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th. As the world mobilizes to contain the COVID-19, scientists and public health experts are increasingly alarmed about the potentially catastrophic effects of an outbreak in Africa. The establishment of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention by the Africa Union in 2017 was an unprecedented move toward strengthening national responses, so far enabling all fifty member states with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to adequately respond, break chains of transmission and effectively contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2. We enter an uncertain and challenging period that may severely test the preparedness, organizational resource and resilience of African states and the fabric of their societies. However, we speculate that the fear associated with COVID-19 may also lead to some of the long-standing messages about simple measures to reduce the spread, such as hand washing, finally becoming absorbed and more universally adopted by health workers and the public. Is it possible that regardless of the terrible threat posed by SARS-CoV-2, the increased adoption of these health protection measures may result in a reduction in the spread of other infectious diseases?

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