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African countries have developed capacity to test for the coronavirus

The 54 African countries have now developed laboratory capacity to test for the coronavirus warning that the pandemic was accelerating, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

“The most recent one million cases of COVID-19 were reported in just one week,” he said during a virtual conference on COVID-19 vaccine development and access across the continent.

The WHO chief added that over 220 vaccine candidates are currently being worked on and urged that a vaccine be “available and developed at an unprecedented scale.”

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The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control, John Nkengasong called on countries to secure sufficient vaccine supplies to avoid Africa being left out.

Nkengasong suggested a key step would be for Africa to partner with the GAVI vaccines alliance which has raised $2 billion from international donors for an Advanced Market Commitment to buy future COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.

“Unless we act now Africa is at risk of being left behind in the global vaccine race,” John Nkengasong said.

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