Africa escapes worst of first Covid-19 wave by acting quickly, says United Nations

UN chief calls on the international community on Wednesday to show solidarity with Africa in the face of the threat of the coronavirus.
As Covid-19 spreads to Africa, countries on the continent have responded quickly to the pandemic, according to
“To date, the number of reported cases is lower than we feared – espite this, the stakes remain high, ”warned the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres , in the presentation of a report on the impact of the coronavirus in Africa.
The pandemic is already threatening the progress made in Africa, at the risk of worsening existing inequalities and increasing hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to the disease. 
As proof, the demand for basic African products, tourism and remittances is declining. The opening of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECA) has been postponed and millions of people could fall into extreme poverty. To date, the virus has killed more than 2,500 people in Africa.
In this context, “vigilance and preparation are essential,” said Mr Guterres who congratulated the countries of Africa, as well as the African Union (AU), for the measures they have already undertaken. 
“Most have been quick to act to strengthen regional coordination, deploy health workers and establish quarantines, containments and closed borders,” he said. The UN is also mobilized alongside Africans in the face of threats from the coronavirus. United Nations agencies, country teams, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian actors are fully supporting these efforts. 
“The UN solidarity flights have made it possible to transport millions of screening kits, masks and other equipment, across almost the entire continent,” said the Secretary-General.The United Nations released a briefing note on Wednesday (May 20, 2020) that highlights a series of pressing coronavirus problems in Africa.
“We call for international mobilization to strengthen health systems in Africa, maintain food supply chains, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat and protect the continent from lost revenue and export earnings,” said Guterres, noting that African countries must have the same rapid, fair and affordable access to all future vaccines and treatments, which should be seen as goods.
The Secretary-General has called for a global recovery plan that represents at least 10 per cent of global gross domestic product. 
“For Africa, this means more than US$200 billion in additional support from the international community,” he said. On the security side, the UN believes that it will also be essential for African countries to continue their action to silence arms and confront violent extremism. Mr. Guterres welcomed support across the continent for his call for a global ceasefire. 
“The political processes and the elections represent in the months to come so many opportunities to take important steps in terms of stability and peace,” he said.




Dr Taleb Rifai, former UN WTO secretary calls for ‘safe’ tourist areas to be created


Tourist destinations will have to consider offering Corona-free hotels, beaches and areas to ensure that visitors feel safe ‘from the minute they leave home until they return”.

The initiative was voiced by  Dr Taleb Rifai, the Former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and chairman of the ITIC advisory board.

He was speaking at a new grassroots initiative with leaders from the travel and tourism industry joining from 76 countries the #rebuildingtravel globally: High Level Taskforce Meeting.

At the meeting, hosted by ETurboNews, Dr Rafai revealed his four pillars for the recovery of the travel & tourism sector. started two weeks ago and already many of the who’s who in the global travel and tourism industry as part of the group. Today membership has increased to 102 countries.

In a follow up to initial plan, Dr Rifai was clear that as the world moves from the containment to the recovery phase, the whole economy was more important than our specific industry.

But travel & tourism are essential for employment and the economies of many countries worldwide said Dr Rifai, speaking from Amman, Jordan, to a virtual gathering of industry and government leaders from around the world.

Speaking second to the Taskforce, he offered his own four point roadmap for recovery.

First he said is making domestic tourism a priority. “It does not contribute to balance of trade or bring in foreign currency but it it keeps facilities open and maintains employment,” he said. It reflects his own philosophy that “we should encourage people to enjoy their country,” something he admitted had not always been the case and had sometimes caused conflict between visitors and local people.

Second he said was the need to concentrate on the digital sector. “The future of tourism is centred around technology,” said Dr Rafai. “This is a main pillar of the post-corona era.

“Everything is going to be from home and we must start thinking outside the box. I have attended weddings where the priest is on one line marrying people elsewhere.” 

Number three, he said, is training: “Our new post-corona era will be completely different. How we qualify our waiters – they will need trained to do packing for home delivery.” He said hotels will need to be more clean, training of staff to ensure the very best sanitisation will become a priority as destinations “compete with each other”.

Fourth, he said, every country must put money in the hands of people to encourage spending. “Spending is very, very important,” he said.

He urged destinations to prepare now for setting side certain areas that are corona free. “Destinations must start thinking about this: certain areas, certain hotels, certain beaches… that mean people are safe from minute the arrive until they return to their homes.”

And these protocols will need certification, he said. “You cant have any protocol if you don’t have certification. This is something you will need to see in the future.”