February 6,2022 (ENA) Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Director, Dr John Nkengasong said the African Union (AU) 35th Ordinary Summit held face to face in Ethiopia after two years due to COVID-19 pandemic is a game changer for other similar conferences that can be held in the Continent.
The vaccination, testing, and prevention measures strictly implemented by the Africa CDC have reduced the rate of transmission of the feared COVID-19, remaining at an extremely low positivity rate, during the AU summit, it was learned.
The director stated the AU member heads of state in January meeting have made the decision to hold the summit face to face in Addis Ababa based on the green light from Africa CDC after epidemiology data analysis on current situation of the pandemic and setting out prevention protocols and interventions throughout the whole process of the summit.
Africa CDC health professionals have conducted COVID-19 tests for 5432 people on daily basis at the premises of the AU Headquarters in the past three days, where 25 individuals were diagnosed positive, according to the director.
Dr Nkengasong stated that the positivity rates are low due to the strict prevention measures taken during the summit.
“So our positivity rate has been around 0.6 of the thousands that we tested. So isn’t it that amazing? I mean we could have imagined that we would bring a large number of people, we put in severe measures and we have restricted the transmission of the virus there. In my view, in public health we never predict the future, but I can say that this summit has become a game changer in terms of the manner the conference will be organized in the continent,” Dr John Nkengasong said.
He said “the fact that we are here face to face is a symbol that we are making progress in the struggle and fight against COVID-19.”
The measures taken to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 and the variants include negative test result and vaccination of destination from the outset, on arrival, daily fast testing for everyone during the meeting days, and use of effective KN95 face mask, he pointed out.
Face to face meetings were suspended at AU for two years due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The delta and Omicron variants spread fast, it was indicated.