Africa is receiving assistance in the form of medical gear to help it combat the spread of COVID-19.
The Jack Ma Foundation has sent the consignment to the continent, to be distributed from Ethiopia.
The 54 African States will get 20 000 test kits each, as well as 100 000 masks and 1 000 medical use protective suits and face shields.
Africa can be one step ahead of the coronavirus. To each of the 54 African countries, we will donate 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields. Thank you @PMEthiopia @AbiyAhmedAli for your support. pic.twitter.com/GnB2Babkcx
— Jack Ma Foundation (@foundation_ma) March 16, 2020
The donation will be delivered to Ethiopia, from where the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will oversee distribution to other member states.
The foundation says it will start providing online training materials for COVID-19 clinical treatment to medical institutions in the continent.
So far, 43 Africa states can test and diagnose for the virus.
Most of them are depending on test kits and training from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jack Ma believes Africa can stay ‘one step ahead’ of the coronavirus if the continent moves quickly.
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed has expressed his ‘great appreciation’ for Jack Ma’s donation.
Lancet labs report a spike in COVID-19 testing requests
Meanwhile, Lancet Laboratories in South Africa has reporting an increase in the number of people coming to test for COVID-19. About 116 people have so far tested positive for the virus in the country.
The pathology services company says the spike in requests for tests came after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the pandemic a National State of Disaster on Sunday.
“We have seen an increase in the numbers, especially post the President’s address. We have made sure that we are accommodating these numbers to the best of our ability,” says Lancet’s Sandile Sihlaba.
61 confirmed cases in Gauteng
Gauteng is the hardest hit province in South Africa, with at least 61 confirmed cases.
Provincial Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku says Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is meeting with pathology services following complaints about the cost of testing.
“Last week it was R1 200, I think this week it’s R1 400 you know. I think the issue of profit and scale has come into picture but the minister is meeting the executives of pathology labs across the country just to talk about first the cost of the testing and secondly sticking to the criteria for screening and even doing the test and thirdly just to quality assure the test.”
The department of health is expected to give regular updates on the virus.
The province says it’s ready to contain its spread and will postpone non-essential services. Swimming pools, parks and nature reserves are among the facilities closed from Wednesday, to manage social space.
South Africans are urged to avoid close contact with people infected with the coronavirus as the country moves to try and slow the spread of coronavirus.