Central African Republic Minister Blasts 'Inequality Crisis' in Covid-19 Testing

analysis

Central African Republic's health minister has blasted a "big inequality crisis" in coronavirus testing as he sees rich countries conduct hundreds of thousands of tests daily while his own struggles to obtain supplies for a couple of hundred at most.

Pierre Somse told a World Health Organization (WHO) briefing on Thursday that "we are in a scarcity, a misery of tests" - a blunt assessment of the scrambling by African nations and rising fears as the pandemic's first wave hits the continent of 1.3 billion people.

Somse said his country of more than four million people is still waiting for testing supplies ordered via the WHO.

"I believe this is due to global competition, this is well known," he said.

He recalled listening to radio reports of thousands, even millions of tests carried out in richer countries in short stretches of time.

The United States has conducted more than 700,000 tests a day in the past few days. And weeks ago the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected late last year, tested nearly 10 million people in 19 days.

Central African Republic has more than 4,300 confirmed virus cases - a small fraction...

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