Coronavirus: Few African countries are refusing the entry of their own citizens coming from China

According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), it says that it has received reports from some of the African countries that have refused the entry of their own citizens who are returning from China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

During a media briefing at the AU Summit in Ethiopia Africa CDC made this announcement.

Dr John Nkengasong, the organisation’s director said this has went against the instructions of the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO clearly said that there should be no restrictions of movement, goods and air travel.

“What we see are countries which are doing their individual decisions which we cannot control. For Africans who are returning, we have an obligation to receive our citizens and keep them for a while. Monitor them, screen them and then release them into the communities.

“I say this because, as of yesterday, we started receiving reports that some countries are refusing their own citizens from coming back to the country. This cannot happen. We should all act collectively and make sure that we put pressure where it has to be placed, because Africans cannot be rejected.”

However, Nkengasong refused to name the countries in question. He said that the media should not create fear.

By the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Africa CDC has been funded with $5m to respond to the outbreak.

Amira Elfadil, AU commissioner for social affairs added that 15 countries had already received training on diagnostics.

The 15 countries which received priority are those with direct flights to China.

“Africa has had suspected cases, but no confirmed cases. We are working on prevention methods, working with the government of China which is supporting CDC. We are doing our maximum best to protect the continent from the coronavirus.”

South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria, until recently  were the only countries equipped with the ability to run accurate testing. Further, to mitigate this Africa CDC is planning to do another round of training for 20 additional countries and will supply them with test kits.

“China is going to ship 3 000 test kits which are arriving on Monday for back up in cases of emergency. We are better prepared than we were last week,” Nkengasong said.

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