• The Lancet medical journal has revealed the three African countries facing the highest risk for contracting the deadly coronavirus.
  • According to the research, Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa face the most risk of getting infected with the epidemic, officially known as COVID-19.
  • This is due to high air traffic from infected Chinese provinces.  

Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa have been identified as the three African countries facing the high risk of suffering from the deadly coronavirus.

This is according to recent research in Lancet medical journal titled 'Risk of coronavirus importation in Africa.'

Explaining its findings, the report stated, "Egypt, Algeria and Republic of South Africa are the African countries most at risk for coronavirus COVID-19 importation in the continent."

This is "due to high air traffic with the contaminated Chinese provinces."

However, it is not all bad news for these three nations. According to the study, "these countries are also among the best equipped on the continent to quickly detect and deal with new cases."

Coronavirus continues to spread across the world (statista)
Coronavirus continues to spread across the world (statista)

While these countries face the most risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus, the rest of the continent may still have to deal with the rapid spread of the epidemic.

The study suggests that countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Sudan, Angola, Tanzania, Ghana, and Kenya face a moderate to low risk of the virus importation.

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Commenting on the research, the study author Dr Vittoria Colizza said, "Some countries remain ill-equipped. While almost three-quarters of all African countries have an influenza pandemic preparedness plan, most are outdated and considered inadequate to deal with a global pandemic.

"In addition, despite efforts to improve diagnostic capacity from WHO, some countries do not have the resources to test for the virus rapidly, meaning that tests would need to be done in other countries."

The study author added, "It is essential to train, equip, and strengthen the diagnostic capacities of hospital laboratories close to infectious disease and emergency departments to reduce the time to deliver results, manage confirmed cases and contacts more rapidly, and preserve strict infection control measures. Equally, increasing the number of available beds and supplies in resource-limited countries is crucial in preparation for possible local transmission following importation."

However, Dr Colizza noted that "African countries have recently strengthened their preparedness to manage importations of COVID-19 cases, including airport surveillance, temperature screening at ports of entry, recommendations to avoid travel to China, and improved health information provided to health professionals and the general public."

For now, Africa remains coronavirus free. Meanwhile, there are at least 79,000 confirmed cases of the virus all over the world, with the death toll at 2,620 as of Monday, February 24, 2020.