With cases of Covid-19 spreading worldwide, governments and institutions are getting ready for the first cases in Africa. Munyaradzi Makoni reports from Cape Town in Lancet https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30355-X

“The risk and likelihood of getting an outbreak is very, very high”, said Ambrose Talisuna, the WHO Africa team lead for emergency preparedness. As of Feb 11, Africa does not have any confirmed cases, but suspected patients have been quarantined in Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Botswana.

Dr Tedros announced on Feb 5 that a US$675 million preparedness and response plan covering February to April, 2020, had been initiated by the international community for China and globally to protect states with weaker health systems.

WHO has prioritised support for 13 countries on the basis of their close transport links with China: Algeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The number of African countries that can test for the virus tripled to 15 this week, with more expected to have testing labs up and running in the coming days. The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said health centres were on “high alert” for new cases.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in any of Africa’s 54 countries so far, but experts say a case is inevitable, given the large amount of traffic between the continent and China.

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