As African countries face an increased threat from COVID-19, the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 was held on June 17 to promote mutual support. With renewed commitment in cooperation and multilateralism, leaders are calling for joint efforts to fight the pandemic, including substantial public health cooperation, medical assistance, and vaccine availability. So, what are the major challenges in Africa’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic?
During his interview with CGTN Dialogue program, Dr. Michel Yao, who is the program manager of Emergency Response for the WHO Regional Office for Africa, shared his views on the current situation in Africa. In the short term, the major effort is to control the outbreak, which will require solidarity in making available of different supplies for Africa to respond to the crisis, including protective equipment, laboratory and medical supplies. As for the long term, Yao emphasized efforts in strengthening Africa’s overall health system as well as its emergency response capacity.
He Wenping, Senior Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said African countries took very strong measures as early as mid-January and emphasized that the early tough lockdown measures in South Africa actually helped in delaying the spread of the virus.
She further pointed out China’s commitment in supporting Africa’s fight against the pandemic, which is rooted in both developing economies’ shared value and the history in fighting for its own independence. And with the growing connectivity, it’s also the common interests for China and Africa to work together to fight this public health crisis.
Meanwhile, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Africa’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeded 267,000 as of Thursday afternoon. And the Southern Africa region is now the most affected area across the continent in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, overtaking the Northern Africa region.
Speaking of the peak for Africa’s coronavirus cases, Yao indicated that it is still difficult to predict the peak and the number is still increasing.