February 13, 2020

Coronavirus: Zambia on high risk list

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Hlupekile Nkunika

AS THE coronavirus continues to claim hundreds of lives in China and has affected 20 other countries, the deadly disease poses a threat to Africa because of weak health systems and the high volume of travels to and from the Asian country.

Although the continent has not recorded any confirmed case of the virus, which has claimed over 500 lives in two months in China, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has placed Zambia together with Ghana, Algeria, Angola, Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, among the 13 top high-risk African countries due to direct links and the high volume of travels to and from China.

For these countries where health care capacity is limited, early detection of an outbreak is critical, and with fears that the outbreak of the coronavirus may be difficult to contain as health care systems are already overburdened with cases of Ebola, malaria, HIV, diarrhoea and other deadly infectious diseases, prevention is key.

There are growing calls to prevent the virus, which was first recorded last December in Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei and is said to have spread to other parts of China, including other countries with 28,000 cases in about 20 countries as at February 4, according to the African Centre of Strategic Countries.

(Source: Daily Mail Zambia)

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