ECOWAS leaders hold extraordinary summit as region records 6,000 COVID-19 cases


COVID-19 ECOWAS support member states
ECOWAS file photo

The Authority of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government will hold an extraordinary session through video-conference on April 23.

The extraordinary meeting, has been scheduled to start at 10:00am Universal Time.

It is coming amid growing concerns over the increasing number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in West Africa.

As of the time of issuance of the statement on Wednesday, in which the extraordinary meeting was announced, close to 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported In the region.

Three of the 15-member countries in the region alone account for 2,840 confirmed cases,  with Ghana recording 1,042 cases and nine deaths; Nigeria – 782 cases and 25 deaths and; Ivory Coast – 916 cases and 13 deaths.

According to a statement from the communications directorate of the Commission on Wednesday, the Heads of State would discuss the situation and impact of the pandemic in ECOWAS Region.

Preceding the extraordinary summit, the ministers in charge of finance and the governors of Central Banks from the region held a virtual extraordinary session on April 21, 2020 on the COVID-19 situation.

To address the COVID-19 Situation in the region, ECOWAS had immediately made available financial support, in addition to assistance from international partners, for the purchase of medical supplies and equipment essential for the fight against the pandemic.

As of April 20, 2020, according to the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) data, the 15-member states had recorded 5,474 confirmed cases, 1,567 recovered cases, 140 deaths, and 3,767 active cases.

ECOWAS reaffirmed its solidarity with member-states and “welcomes all the measures already taken to contain the spread of the pandemic and care for the sick.”

Thursday’s meeting is expected to commence with an opening statement by His Excellency, Issoufou Mahamadou, President of Niger Republic and Chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, according to the meeting’s draft agenda.

Chairperson of the ECOWAS, Jean Claude Kassi Boru will give a statement, detailing the situation and impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the ECOWAS region, while the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and Sahel (UNCOWAS), Dr. Muhamed Ibn Chambers, who will also make a statement.

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