Editorial

We need to take action now to contain COVID-19

Addressing the need to share resources and knowledge to combat the deadly coronavirus, Jack Ma, the Chinese tech billionaire and co-founder of the Alibaba tweeted: “As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts or fail to act. 

Speaking in reference to the devastating outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has so far killed and what the world must do to combat the deadly disease’.

So, on Sunday, Jack Ma through the Alibaba Foundation walked the talk by redeeming a pledged he made to provide aid to Africa and other nations worldwide to combat COVID-19.

The foundation has since followed up with donations of medical supplies to countries such as Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Italy, Spain, Belgium and this week landed on the continent with medical masks, test kits as well as protective suits for distribution to every country in Africa.

“We cannot assume this continent of 1.3 billion people will blissfully escape the crisis. The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa,” he said in a statement.

In all, he pledged a total of 1.1 million coronavirus test kits, 6 million masks and 60,000 medical protective suits and face shields for distribution to each of the 54 countries of the African continent.

As expected, the medical supplies arrived on the continent on Sunday 22 March, in Ethiopia with 1.5 million test kits, 5.4 million face masks and tens of thousands of medical supplies and distribution has started in earnest.

 Ghana, yesterday took delivery of its share of 100,000 masks, 20,000 test kits and 1,000 medical protective suits. They were received on behalf of the country by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu. 

It is important to note that Ghana and three other African countries including Gabon, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the latest to benefit from the third round of distribution of the medical materials.

Although there are still fewer coronavirus infections in Africa than in other parts of the world, WHO figures show that the continent now has more than 1,300 cases of COVID-19 in 43 countries and 40 deaths across the continent.

This is clear evidence that the disease is creeping into Africa and there is the need for countries on the continent to redouble their efforts, if the fate that befell other countries were not to befall us.

It is  also evident  that there is a lot of information, knowledge and experience now for us  to share in combating the disease but it is also true that most countries on the continent have weak health infrastructure and lacked equipment.

Therefore, donations such as these can only be welcome news not only for the continent but the whole world.

Now that we have the needed medical supplies, it is time for us drawing from the experience of others to speedily and accurately test and  provide adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals which the experts say, are the  most effective way of preventing the spread of the virus.

While we comment Jack Ma and his foundation for the gesture we urge all to see the availability of the items as the beginning redoubling of efforts to contain COVID-19

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