Coronavirus -‘the pandemic' invades Africa, infecting Algeria to begin with   

26th Feb 2020: The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the first case of outbreak of the notorious virus in Algeria, Africa.

The host of the virus was a traveller ( surprise, surprise!) who came in from Italy, one of the many many infected countries on 17 February 2020.

Algeria’s health Minister Abderrahmane Benbouzid says, the infected patient who is an Italian national came in with another person and were both transported to the Pasteur Hospital in Algiers where one of them was later tested positive for the virus, officially known as COVID-19. The patient has been quarantined till the course of treatment is completed.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director said "The window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for Coronavirus is closing. All countries must ramp up their preparedness activities."

In case you have been living under a rock all this while, coronavirus started off from Wuhan, China and has continued to spread like wildfire and has reportedly infected over 80,000 globally, killing at least 2,700.

Medical experts are quick to call it a “pandemic”, but WHO says it has the pandemic potential, but it isn't quite there yet.

The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, "Our decision about whether to use the word 'pandemic' to describe an epidemic is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes and the impact it has on the whole society.

"For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or deaths. Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we there yet from our assessment? Not yet.”

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO executive director throws some more light on the whole pandemic debate "So 'pandemos' is a concept where there's a belief that the whole world's population will likely be exposed to this infection and potentially a proportion of them fall sick. What we don't understand yet in Covid-19 are the absolute transmission dynamics. We're in a phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic,".

For now, he strongly recommends focusing "on what we can do and what we need to do, which is prepare. When we mean prepare, we mean prepare to detect cases, prepare to treat cases, prepare to follow contacts, prepare to put in place adequate containment measures.”

Reporting for EasyKobo on Wednesday , 26 February 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria

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