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Preparedness and vulnerability of African countries against introductions of 2019-nCoV

By Marius Gilbert, Giulia Pullano, Francesco Pinotti, Vittoria Colizza, Chiara Poletto, Pierre-Yves Boelle, Eric D’Ortenzio, Yazdan Yazdanpanah, Serge Paul Eholie, Mathias Altmann, Bernardo Gutierrez, Moritz UG Kraemer, Vittoria Colizza

Posted 07 Feb 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.05.20020792

BackgroundThe novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic has spread to 23 countries from China. Local cycles of transmission already occurred in 7 countries following case importation. No African country has reported cases yet. The management and control of 2019-nCoV introductions heavily relies on countrys health capacity. Here we evaluate the preparedness and vulnerability of African countries against their risk of importation of 2019-nCoV. MethodsWe used data on air travel volumes departing from airports in the infected provinces in China and directed to Africa to estimate the risk of introduction per country. We determined the countrys capacity to detect and respond to cases with two indicators: preparedness, using the WHO International Health Regulation Monitoring and Evaluation Framework; and vulnerability, with the Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index. Countries were clustered according to the Chinese regions contributing the most to their risk. FindingsCountries at the highest importation risk (Egypt, Algeria, Republic of South Africa) have moderate to high capacity to respond to outbreaks. Countries at moderate risk (Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya) have variable capacity and high vulnerability. Three clusters of countries are identified that share the same exposure to the risk originating from the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Beijing, respectively. InterpretationSeveral countries in Africa are stepping up their preparedness to detect and cope with 2019-nCoV importations. Resources and intensified surveillance and capacity capacity should be urgently prioritized towards countries at moderate risk that may be ill-prepared to face the importation and to limit onward transmission. FundingThis study was partially supported by the ANR project DATAREDUX (ANR-19-CE46-0008-03) to VC; the EU grant MOOD (H2020-874850) to MG, CP, MK, PYB, VC.

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