AU Executive Council: MFA Bourita Pleads for Continental Genomic Surveillance System to Fight Covid-19

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AU Executive Council: MFA Bourita Pleads for Continental Genomic Surveillance System to Fight Covid-19
Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates Mr. Nasser Bourita stressed on Wednesday the need to set up a continental system for genomic surveillance by sequencing to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa.

Speaking by videoconference during the 38th ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), the Minister noted that a plan to build continental capacities in this area would, in fact, make it possible to detect the appearance of any mutant strains and assess their impact on transmissibility and resistance to vaccines.

Recalling that the Covid-19 pandemic has put the world to the test by sparing no continent, Mr. Bourita noted that the pandemic involves challenges that get more complex as they are evolving, everywhere in the world and in Africa in particular, the pandemic acts as an aggravating factor which exacerbates fragilities and inequalities.

However and despite pessimistic predictions, the continent has shown its resilience, he said, noting that Africa has paid a heavy economic and social price during the health crisis, said the Minister. He recalled that HM King Mohammed VI called for the promotion of the African management of the crisis. Through a series of phone calls with several brotherly African Heads of States, His Majesty the King favored a concerted, solidarity-based and ambitious response at the continental level, covering all the Covid-19 related aspects of the crisis, underlined the Minister.

In addition, MFA Bourita delivered Morocco's main observations on the African continent strategy that constituted the African Union's response to Covid-19. On regional solidarity, he recalled that the initiative of His Majesty King Mohammed VI made it possible to channel donations from Morocco, these laters included medicines, materials and equipment to twenty-one (21) brotherly African countries, representatives of the 5 sub-African regions.

This is a tangible initiative aimed at establishing an operational and pragmatic framework to support brotherly African countries in their efforts to manage the pandemic. Regarding the management of knowledge and of the pandemic, the Minister noted that Africa CDC and the national focal points will assume a role of collecting and disseminating epidemiological data with the Africa CDC.

It is about putting in place a governance and operational framework to provide expertise at the national and continental levels noted the Minister. Referring to the significant risk of infection of health professionals by Covid-19, which may worsen with the advent of new strains of the virus, the Minister considered that this issue deserves to be included in the continental strategy, by supporting member countries in the protection of health professionals.

Insisting on the importance of the effective vaccination of a critical mass of the African population, MFA Bourita underlined that Morocco, thanks to the vision and the sustained actions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, was among the first African countries to launch its vaccination campaign, which will make it possible to inoculate, free of charge, the Moroccan population aged over 17, as well as foreign residents in Morocco.

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