China will give Africa 30 million test kits per month, as well as 10 000 ventilators and 80 million masks, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed on Sunday during a virtual meeting with top editors in the country.
He did not specify when this initiative will start or how long it would run. Beijing has sent logistic and human resource support to a number of African countries since the pandemic arrived on the continent.
One of the major initial supply of logistics came from businessman Jack Ma, whose foundation teamed up with Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed and the AU to distribute logistics across the continent.
China, weeks on, became the center of mass media reports bordering on racist treatment of Africans in the industrial hub of Guangzhou. African diplomats and the AU asked Beijing to take action on the issue.
Back in South Africa, Ramaphosa who is the chairperson of the African Union also defended the decision to reopen the economy of Africa’s most industrialized nation despite being the most impacted and the having carried out the most tests.
“It’s now time to open up the economy. We can not keep it shut forever,” he is quoted to have said. He confirmed that the country was running out of test kits as recently reported by the health ministry.
He also reiterated that the the main problem with the health system now was that it had far lesser Intensive Care Unit, ICU, beds that it will need at the peak of the pandemic. South Africa will need up to 25,000 ICU beds at peak of pandemic, and it only has 3,500, he disclosed.
“This is the big challenge,” he added. Some hospitals have increased their ICU beds, but health ministry needs to “focus more” on this, he stressed.
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