South Africa-Coronavirus-WHO

Africa fully backs WHO’s coronavirus guidance – Ramaphosa

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

Africa has thrown its "full support" behind the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) for guiding the international response to the six-month coronavirus pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

The president said this on Monday during the WHO's virtual annual assembly, which also saw other world leaders commend the UN agency for its untiring efforts to advise its members states on how better to handle the disease since it broke out last December in Wuhan, China.

According to the current African Union Chair, the WHO from the start of the pandemic had been open with all countries, guiding them of what to do to prevent its population from contamination during its frequent briefings.

Unfortunately, he said, the pandemic has devastated the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide, in addition to changing the way people behave, work and live in Africa as well.

He therefore called for assistance to Africa, which should include debt relief and help with diagnostics, drugs and medical supplies.

"We must ensure that there is equitable access to medical equipment, technologies and best practice to combat Covid-19," Ramaphosa said.

He called on leaders to use the World Health Assembly as a platform to tighten global coordination against the Covid-19 pandemic, whose vaccine remains elusive for now as world scientists scramble for a solution.

"Let us also continue to work together to improve our emergency preparedness for potential future outbreaks of this nature, and take forward the proposal made at the previous meeting of the World Health Assembly to develop a Global Disaster Response Plan," the South African leader said.

NM/jn/APA

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