Fight side by side
African countries are working hard to take timely and effective measures to delay the spread of COVID-19. As economic development requires gradual relaxation of restrictions, African countries need to remain vigilant and respond positively to the epidemic. Up to now, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa has exceeded 550,000, and the number of deaths has exceeded 12,000.
At present, Africa has three major priorities in responding to the epidemic: controlling the spread of the epidemic, reducing deaths, and reducing the negative impact of the epidemic on the economy and society. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 epidemic, the prevention and control of infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria and Ebola have also been greatly affected, and we are also actively coordinating responses.
In the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, we try our best to do a lot of detection, tracking and treatment. However, the medical and health systems in African countries are relatively fragile, medical facilities are scarce, and testing capabilities are very limited. As of July 7, African countries have conducted more than 5.6 million nucleic acid tests, but this level of detection is still very low compared to the total population of more than 1.3 billion people in Africa.
At the moment of trouble, China reached out to Africa in time. Before the outbreak, there were dozens of medical teams sent by China in Africa. They worked closely with local medical workers and made great contributions to the medical capacity building of African countries. In the epidemic prevention and control, China sent many batches of medical experts with first-line experience to Africa, which brought us the much-needed knowledge and experience and provided various knowledge and material support for African countries to fight against the epidemic.
African-Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperate closely, and personnel exchanges between the two sides are frequent. At present, experts from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention are fighting alongside us in the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention, headquartered in Addis Ababa, to fight the epidemic together. We lack understanding of this new type of infectious disease. The arrival of Chinese experts has not only improved our ability to fight the epidemic, but also strengthened our determination to overcome the epidemic.
Effective vaccines are essential for controlling the epidemic. On May 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the opening of the video conference of the 73rd World Health Assembly that China’s COVID-19 vaccine will be used as a global public product after the research and development of the COVID-19 vaccine is completed and put into use. To make contributions to China in terms of accessibility and affordability. On June 17, President Xi Jinping chaired the China-Africa Solidarity Anti-epidemic Special Summit and delivered a keynote speech, stating that China promised that after the COVID-19 vaccine was developed and put into use, it would be the first to benefit African countries. This statement of China has been generally welcomed by African countries and has inspired our confidence in fighting the epidemic.
The epidemic made people realize that countries in the world are so closely connected. The COVID-19 epidemic is a global public health event that requires the unity and cooperation of all countries to respond. Now the primary goal of Africa and the world should be to control the spread of the epidemic, save more lives, and resolutely resist politicizing and stigmatizing the epidemic.
(The author is the director of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the reporter’s South Africa reporter Wan Yu’s interview)