Coronavirus: AU asks countries not to prevent citizens from returning home

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The coronavirus was confirmed in the Chinese city on January 7, 2020. Cases have since been confirmed in several other Asian countries, Europe and the United States.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a public health emergency of international dimensions. WHO chief Tedros Ghebereyesus said whiles China had a robust health system to detect and control, his outfit remained concerned about the virus entering country’s with weak systems.

Almost all African governments have publicly put in place strict screening at points of entry especially airports. Ivory Coast, Kenya, Ethiopia and Botswana have recorded suspected cases. All except Botswana have reported that the tests were negative. African airlines have cancelled scheduled flights to China except for Ethiopian Airlines.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus and SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus.

In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent.

‘Allow your citizens to return from China’
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is appealing to o African countries to allow their citizens return home from China.

Several countries including Uganda and Kenya have been officially rejecting calls fro evacuation from their citizens in China.

“For Africans who are returning from China, we have the obligation to receive our citizens and keep them for a while and monitor them and release them into the community because as of yesterday, we started receiving reports that some countries are refusing their own citizens from coming back to the country. It cannot happen,” Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong said.

The centre says it has trained 15 African countries that were most at risk and they would be ready to screen for the coronavirus from Monday.

South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria were already equipped with accurate testing systems for the coronavirus, according to the center which received $15 million to equip 15 countries that were most at risk, including countries that had direct flights to China.