NASAC Statement on COVID-19

THE VIRUS: COVID-19, a novel viral disease, is caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus that belongs to the
heterogeneous coronavirus family whose notorious members include SARS and MERS. SARS-CoV-2 was
first isolated in Wuhan, China in January 2020. In the subsequent months, the disease circumvented the
globe, causing infections that resulted in more than 1.3 million1
confirmed cases, with approximately 5%
deaths and nearly 21% recoveries registered as at 6
th April 2020. Travel and trade have been brought to a
standstill and the stock-market is plummeting. Although the virus was detected relatively late in Africa,
currently there are close to 10,0002
confirmed cases registered in almost all African countries. The COVID19 pandemic is expected to have devastating health and socio-economic consequences in Africa, partly
because of a weak health system plagued with inadequate surveillance and laboratory capacity. Additionally,
insufficient personnel to effectively respond to the pandemic and lack of vaccines or appropriate medicines,
worsens the situation further.
OUR ASK: This statement, by the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), aims to articulate
priorities for action that are worth considering so as to prepare for, control and mitigate the health
consequences of COVID-19 in Africa and provide an impetus for change. Read more