Rustenburg - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified 13 top priority countries in Africa, which due to their direct links or high volume of travel to China, need to be particularly vigilant for the novel coronavirus.
The countries are Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The WHO said while there were no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus reported in the African region, it was strengthening its support to countries in the detection and management of suspected cases and in ensuring a robust response, should a first case be detected.
"A new virus is always a challenge and most laboratories in Africa lack the key material they need to perform tests on a novel pathogen,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement.
"WHO is working with countries to rapidly scale-up diagnostic capacity for 2019-nCoV. It is crucial that countries in the region can detect and treat severe cases early, preventing a widespread outbreak, which could overwhelm fragile health systems."