Strict Covid-19 prevention methods enrolled at the ongoing African Union (AU) summit, underway for the first time physically since the onset of the pandemic, proved a game changer in Africa’s fight against the infection, John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has said.
The Director on Sunday added that critics were labeling the summit, which was convened physically following a hiatus in 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as “a transmission event or a super spreader event”.
“We stood firm and we said, we want to be sure to understand the kinetics of infection during the summit. So when we pronounced ourselves and we said that the summit was Covid-19 free, we backed that with science,” said Nkengasong addressing the media on the sidelines of the summit.
As part of the strict Covid-19 preventive methods enrolled at the summit, an antigen test is mandatory for participants before accessing the AU headquarters compound in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
During the first three days of the event, comprising the meetings of AU Executive Council and AU Assembly, the Africa CDC managed to conduct more than 5,400 Covid-19 tests using temporary testing centers installed inside the AU premises, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the Africa CDC Director, some 25 positive Covid-19 cases were detected during the first three days of the summit, which began on Wednesday, with an overall positivity rate of around 0.6 per cent.
“This summit has become a game-changer for the way that such conferences and meetings are organised in this continent, where people actually follow public health measures very strictly,” he said.
As of Saturday evening, a total of 10,896,302 Covid-19 cases were reported in Africa. The death toll from the pandemic across the continent stands at 241,112, while 9,917,757 patients have recovered from the disease.