WHO sends coronavirus test kits to African nations after first coronavirus case confirmed

Forty countries will be able to diagnose the disease, and the Africa CDC is training health workers

Until two weeks ago, there were only two laboratories on the continent that could test for the virus, in Senegal and South Africa

Forty countries in Africa will be able to test for the deadly new coronavirus

by the end of the week, the WHO said, after Egypt confirmed the first case on the continent last week.

The World Health Organisation said many of those nations had been sending samples elsewhere for testing and waiting several days for results.

“Now they can do it themselves, within 24 to 48 hours,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a media briefing on Tuesday.

Until about two weeks ago, there were only two laboratories in the continent of 54 countries – in Senegal and South Africa – with the reagents needed to test for the virus. That meant dozens of nations that had quarantined suspected patients were sending samples to South Africa or Senegal to be tested.

The WHO earlier this week sent reagent kits for coronavirus diagnosis to more than 20 countries in Africa to step up diagnosis of the virus, which causes a disease now known as Covid-19. The global health body said more countries in Africa were expected to receive testing kits this week.

In addition, the WHO last week sent testing kits to Cameroon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

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