February 23, 2020 (JUBA, South Sudan):Since the coronavirus outbreak was confirmed in Chinese city of Wuhan on 7th January 2020, cases have been reported in several countries, including the 1st case from Africa, Egypt. As of 22nd February 2020, WHO had confirmed that the total number of confirmed cases had reached 75,924 and 2,362 deaths had resulted from the coronavirus.
Nonetheless, IGAD supports the WHO and African Union recommendations to countries regarding active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management and contact tracing to prevent further spread of the coronavirus outbreak. IGAD also appreciates the step taken by Member States to install screening cameras at designated entry points at the airports; and urges that detection surveillance measures should be boosted in IGAD Member States.
IGAD is calling for coordinated efforts in the region to strengthen and harmonize integrated disease surveillance and response against outbreak. Timely Information sharing, feedback and urgent response are of paramount importance containing the spread of the coronavirus and its effects.
The IGAD Health and Social Development Division in collaboration with IGAD Disaster Risk Management is monitoring developments as the authorities implement measures to prevent and where applicable, contain the spread of the virus in IGAD Member States. Understanding the urgency to work in a coordinated manner, IGAD is organizing regional expert and ministerial meetings in Djibouti on disaster preparedness that augment ongoing initiatives on concrete action plans for strengthening disease surveillance and response in the region.
Representatives from the Ministries of Health and the Disaster Risk Management of the Member States, as well as partners, such as WHO AFRO and EMRO will be invited to discuss, share experiences and prepare a joint action plan for the regional response to prevent & control the outbreak; and establishing a task force for diseases surveillance and response at regional level.
This task force will augment the countries surveillance system by sharing information through the intercountry collaboration to strengthen the contact tracing efforts directed to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the region. This joint collaboration and partnership will enhance the integrated disease surveillance & response among the countries and the region at large.
The Ministerial Meeting will take place in Djibouti on 19th of March 2020 preceded by the Experts Meeting on 18th March 2020.
IGAD will continue to work with the Member States to strengthen inter-country collaboration on the prevention and control measures for this outbreak of novel coronavirus.