The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
The African Union (AU) has launched an initiative to minimise the spread of the coronavirus within the continent, especially as countries begin to reopen their borders and adjust to a new normal.
The programme – dubbed the “Africa Against Covid-19: Saving Lives, Economies and Livelihoods” campaign – was unveiled during the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weekly press briefing on Covid-19 on Thursday.
As states continue to ease lockdown restrictions, the continental body wants to ensure that schools are reopened safely through the establishment and engagement of a multi-sectoral committee to develop a school opening safety plan.
AU’s Commissioner for Social Affairs, Her Excellency Amira Elfadil Mohammed, said countries have to be wary of reversing the gains that have been made so far.
“In the last two weeks, Africa passed one million cases of Covid-19. Noting that we do not have a vaccine yet, and recognising the socio-economic effects of the pandemic on member states, we must continue to be proactive so that we do not lose the precious gains made with the preventive measures. I am therefore proud to announce the official launch . . . to prevent further transmission, deaths and socio-economic harm on the continent as economies, borders and schools re-open,” she said.
The campaign is being implemented by the Africa Task Force for Novel Coronavirus of the African Union, which includes representatives of the Africa CDC, World Health Organisation Africa Regional Office, African Union NEPAD, UNICEF, African Union member states and public health institutions.
The campaign is supported by a consortium of private sector organisations, including Econet Group and other pan-African institutions.
There is also a drive to reopen economies quickly and safely.
“Transport is a catalyst for many of the big initiatives on the continent such as the Single African Air Transport Market and the Continental Free Trade Area, but transport has been halted around the world, affecting most sectors. It is important to work together as a continent to turn this crisis into an opportunity to improve our systems so we can reopen our economies quickly and safely,” said AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Dr Amani Abou-Zeid.