The African Union (AU) has expressed concern over the increase in infections of Covid-19 on the continent and the more than 1,500 deaths already reported.
Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa chaired a conference call on Wednesday at a meeting of AU heads of state and chairmen of regional economic communities as AU chair.
The teleconference was presented to inform members of the AU’s steps and initiatives in its response to the continent’s Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement.
By Friday night, there were 39 018 cases of Covid-19 in Africa, with 1,640 deaths and 12,750 people recovering, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This includes more than 15,000 cases in North Africa, more than 10,000 cases in West Africa, 6,000 cases in Southern Africa, 4,000 in East Africa and more than 3,000 in Central Africa.
The heads of state have praised the work of the African CDC, which will ensure that at least 10 million tests are carried out in the next four months by the AU Partnership for Accelerated Covid-19 Testing.
The AU has set up the Africa Covid 19 Response Fund, which has received at least $ 61 million in donations. The heads of state have called for the establishment of a platform for the continent to share the sourcing and distribution of resources mutually.
Furthermore, the heads of state supported the call for debt cancellation and the implementation of a “comprehensive aid package” for African countries in response to Covid-19.
Ramaphosa announced at the meeting that he had appointed Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa to coordinate a private sector-led effort across the continent to distribute personal protective clothing and other essential supplies.
At the meeting, the establishment of a forum of African business leaders was agreed to support the efforts of the AU and member states to implement the Covid-19 strategy.
The AU heads of state also expressed solidarity with Sudan and Zimbabwe and demanded that sanctions be lifted against the countries so that their resources could be focused on fighting the viral disease.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya and Mali presidents also attended the meeting.