IGAD heads of state and governments held a teleconference of the special summit on the coronavirus pandemic on Monday
President Yoweri Museveni has expressed solidarity with the different nations battling coronavirus but was upbeat there will be a solution.
"This virus spreads very fast, but it is very easy to prevent if we continue to practice about three things; Social distancing, keep away from the public when coughing or sneezing as well as avoiding touching our faces or soft parts and washing hands regularly," he said.
The President highlighted the different measures Uganda has put in place since recording its first case and encouraged other leaders to follow suit but cautioned against injuring the production sector.
"In all we do, we must ensure the movement of cargo. However, this should be done under maximum precaution, following the Standard Operating Procedures. There should also be ways to maintain production in industries and agriculture so that we do not run out of food and other essentials. This also ought to be done cautiously without exposing people to the virus," he said.
Museveni was speaking during a live teleconference of the special summit of the IGAD heads of state and governments on the coronavirus pandemic held on Monday. The other leaders present included; Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Mohamed Abdullahi of Somalia, Abdallah Hamdok of Sudan and Riek Machar of South Sudan.
The leaders discussion focused on the IGAD regional response strategy to the pandemic, establishment of the IGAD emergency fund, mobilizing support from the international community, and mobilizing support from the IGAD medical professionals in the diaspora.
The leaders also expressed grave concerns on the pandemic, which has constituted an unprecedented global health crisis affecting the health and economies of the world.
In the summit, they collectively agreed to formulate a comprehensive regional response strategy and an accompanying implementation plan to address the pandemic in the region.
The members agreed to strengthen the IGAD response mechanism for responding to the outbreak of the pandemic diseases through increased capacitation of regional disease surveillance and early warning response system. They also resolved to mobilize medical
professionals and support from the IGAD community in the diaspora to join the fight against the pandemic.
They further agreed to the establishment of an IGAD emergency for the control and prevention of control of pandemics to which they called upon the international community to render support.
On the matter of mobilizing support from the international community, the leaders, called upon international financial institutions, bilateral and regional and international partners especially the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank to accelerate debt relief processes and provide access to financial assistance, concessionary loans and essential support to the member states and secretariat.
The meeting also hailed the efforts and initiative of the chair of IGAD, H.E Prime Minister, Abdallah Hamdok for mobilizing support from the international community to combat the pandemic in the IGAD region.
The members also welcomed the intervention of Abiy Ahmed to mobilize international support for IGAD region and the generous donation of medical supplies, laboratory testing kits and personal protective equipment from the founder and Director of the Alibaba Group to African Countries including IGAD member states.
They appreciated the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) to coordinate global and regional awareness on the pandemic including giving support to the national health systems of IGAD countries, and further commended the tremendous efforts of stakeholders that have ensured the continuity of supply chains and
provision of critical and essential services for the population of the IGAD region.
The Heads of State also thanked the African Center for Disease Control for their proactive role and support through the capacitation of the healthcare providers and emergency response teams as well as the provision of medical supplies.
They also appreciated the extraordinary sacrifices made by the health care delivery workers across the world and in the IGAD region to combat the pandemic.