MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. A number of African countries have requested Moscow’s assistance in combating the coronavirus, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told TASS on Tuesday.
"A number of countries on the African continent have requested Russia’s assistance in combating COVID-19. African nations need a wide range of medical equipment, including ventilators, as well as testing systems, individual protective gear, disinfectants and consumables. These requests are carefully studied and the situation in a particular country is taken into account," the official pointed out, adding that coronavirus spread rates were relatively low in African countries, with the exception of Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa.
"However, this issue is causing serious concern to many countries on the continent," the official said. "The social and economic situations in many of these countries are complicated, while high population density, poor healthcare systems, various crises and conflicts, transparent borders and uncontrolled migration can lead to a sharp rise in cases and unpredictable consequences," the official added.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the pandemic may negatively affect African countries’ ability to carry out major tasks to overcome poverty, ensure sustainable development and implement integration projects.
The ministry official also noted that Russia had been assisting African nations in responding to natural disasters and the spread of infectious diseases, including the Ebola fever.
"We will do what we can to help the continent combat the coronavirus pandemic, using bilateral mechanisms and those of international organizations," the ministry said, noting that "when making decisions, we will take a whole set of factors into account, including Russia’s coronavirus spread rate."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa’s coronavirus cases have reached 21,633, the death toll currently stands at 1,076.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 2,484,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 170,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 652,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.