Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Review & Commentary

Vol. 4 No. 1 (2020): Subdued?

Preparedness of Africa for the Coronavirus Disease 2019(COVID-19)

14 February 2020


In the latter months of 2019, there were several reported cases of severe lower respiratory tract disease of unknown aetiology in the Wuhan, Hubei province of China. In the first week of 2020, a previously unknown betacoronavirus was isolated by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). It is the seventh member of the coronavirus family that can infect human beings. This short review presents the categorization of the virus, the geographic distribution, populations at risk, presentation, transmission, prevention and the readiness of health systems in Africa for this outbreak.


1. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, Qu J, Gong F, Han Y, et al. Articles Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan , China?: a descriptive study. Lancet [Internet]. 2020;6736(20):1–7. Available from:

2. Lu H, Stratton CW, Tang Y. Outbreak of Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology in Wuhan China: the Mystery and the Miracle. J Med Virol [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 2];jmv.25678. Available from:

3. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan , China. Lancet [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 2];6736(20):1–10. Available from: S0140-6736(20)30183-5

4. Lu R, Zhao X, Li J, Niu P, Yang B, Wu H, et al. Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. Lancet [Internet]. 2020 Jan [cited 2020 Feb 2]; Available from:

5. Zhu N, Zhang D, Wang W, Li X, Yang B, Song J, et al. A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019. N Engl J Med [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 2];NEJMoa2001017. Available from:

6. WHO | SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). WHO. 2012;

7. Mohd HA, Al-Tawfiq JA, Memish ZA. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) origin and animal reservoir Susanna Lau [Internet]. Vol. 13, Virology Journal. BioMed Central Ltd.; 2016 [cited 2020 Feb 11]. p. 87. Available from:

8. Coronavirus [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 2]. Available from:

9. Geographical distribution of 2019-nCov cases globally [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 2]. Available from:

10. Coronavirus | About | CDC [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 2]. Available from:

11. Li Q, Guan X, Wu P, Wang X, Zhou L, Tong Y, et al. Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia. N Engl J Med [Internet]. 2020;1–9. Available from:

12. Transmission of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) | CDC [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 11]. Available from:

13. Prevention, Treatment of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) | CDC [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 11]. Available from:

14. WHO. Novel Coronavirus(2019-nCoV) Situation Report. 2020.

15. Mahase E. China coronavirus?: WHO declares international emergency as death toll exceeds 200. 2020;408(January):2020. Available from:

16. Ghana’s main airport on high alert over coronavirus outbreak [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 11]. Available from:

17. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection From an Asymptomatic Contact | PracticeUpdate [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 11]. Available from:

18. Situation update – worldwide [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 11]. Available from:

19. Situation Report-12 SITUATION IN NUMBERS total and new cases in last 24 hours.