How we have covered the COVID-19 story in Africa and around the world – Perspectives by Simon Ateba

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Over the past few months, we have seen how the COVID-19 story has evolved. From there is a virus, there’s no vaccine or cure yet, prevention is the best cure with social distancing measures, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and lockdowns and shutdowns, as well as testing, contact tracing, isolating, quarantining and ‘treating’,

To the infodemics and the need to fight fake news and get relevant information to the people with technology and social media platforms,

To the economic impact and response with the IMF, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the ECB and others stepping up, pumping billions of dollars in loans at low interest rates and providing policy recommendations to address the fiscal and microeconomic sides of the pandemic and canceling some debt services for a short period of time and getting some money directly to the people forced to stay home and shelter in place, an emphasis on the need to fight corruption and monitor how the billions of dollars are used by governments,

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To the race for a vaccine with close to 150 clinical trials currently underway around the world with some showing promising results, the debate over accessibility to the vaccine for everyone at lower costs when a tested and safe vaccine eventually comes on board, to the trial of some drugs and elimination of those drugs such as hydroxyclhoroquine by health experts around the world.

We have also seen how Africa has responded with the setting up of a medical supplies portal launched by AU chair and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa which allows African governments to upgrade their health infrastructure and acquire needed equipment or tools such as PPEs, and answer basic questions, as well as eliminate hurdles quickly, for instance who is selling PPEs? who is authorized to sell them? Where? How much do others buy them? how can I get them to my people?

As that was going on, we also saw how WHO with others in partnership with rights groups launched the law lab, which gives information on the legal side of the virus, on the legal instruments countries are relying on to fight the pandemic and how citizens can defend themselves using those same instruments. The story has evolved so much that just saying there are new cases today is simply basic.

This crisis has shown us that as a journalist, saying you’re a health reporter, but not a political reporter, a business reporter, an aviation reporter, or even that you’re a local reporter and not an international journalist doesn’t make any sense. The crisis touches all aspects of human life.

At TODAY NEWS AFRICA, we are glad, we have been through it all and have understood even better the role of journalism in a world in crisis and racing for a solution.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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