Coronavirus fears: FAO Africa Regional Conference postponed

By ZBC Reporter
THE Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has announced the postponement of the FAO Africa regional conference which was scheduled for Zimbabwe from the 23rd to 25th March 2020 in the resort town of Victoria Falls as fears continue to mount over the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement released by the United Nations specialised agency this Wednesday, organisers of the event which was set to be graced by around 400 delegates announced the postponement of the regional event.
Among those who had registered to participate at the regional meeting include delegates from African FAO member countries, Canada, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States of America, organisations within the United Nations system as well as civil society organisations.
According to the statement, the outbreak of Covid-19 has led to a rise in concern from member countries participating in international meetings.
“In light of the developments, at the request of the Africa Regional Group, and in consultation with the government of Zimbabwe, the Director-General has decided to postpone the event to the second half of 2020.”
The decision has also been taken to ensure a higher level of participation of ministers and lead to a successful conference.
Many regional and international gatherings have of late been cancelled over coronavirus as the world takes measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The coronavirus was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan on January 7, 2020. Cases have since been confirmed in over 80 countries across the globe.
The World Health Organisation, (WHO) has since declared it a public health emergency of international dimension. WHO Chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus said while China had a robust health system to detect and control, his outfit remained concerned about the virus entering a country with weak health systems.
Almost all African governments have publicly put in place strict screening at points of entry, especially airports. Cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal and Nigeria. African airlines have cancelled scheduled flights to China except for Ethiopian Airlines.
The disease control outfit in South Africa this Wednesday confirmed that the country has recorded six new cases bringing the total to 13.
South Africa is the only country in southern Africa to record a case of the deadly virus which has affected others in West Africa, Central Africa and all of North Africa except Libya.