The sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic can be likened to a raging fire with a very vicious and destructive force or a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Statistics from different parts of the world presently show that this “medical tsunami” is spreading and will continue to spread!

Africa must be on the red alert.

There is a saying in Africa that “when your brother’s beard catches fire, douse your own with some water to avoid having a similar misfortune”. The virus does not discriminate between the poor and the rich, inhabitants of the north or south; the “first world” or “third world”; black or white, etc. It is a world concern which calls for a common world action.

Africa must take appropriate proactive and concrete precautionary measures to stop the virus.

While personal hygiene is imperative, African governments must not wait until thousands of people are infected or many lives lost before they engage in a panic reaction. The time for a calculated response to the spreading and increasing attack by the Coronavirus is now. Our authorities should create structures, deploy personnel and resources promptly and effectively. This is no time for dilly-dallying or the corrupt use of resources in an attempt to curb the menace. There must be an honest and consistent effort and a unity of purpose to fight and defeat the Coronavirus invasion with the same zeal and determination as the Ebola virus was defeated.

As a Church, we should continue to pray that the virus does not spread beyond what it is now and that soon, a correct therapy will be found. Precautionary measures (but not panic measures) must be taken.

By the grace of God, this too, like other viral infections will pass away. May our Blessed Virgin, Mother of Mercy, intercede for Africa and indeed the whole world.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,

that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,

implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins my Mother;

to thee do we come; before thee do we stand, sinful and sorrowful;

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions,

but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen

Most Rev. Ignatius A. Kaigama,

Archbishop of Abuja and

President, Reunion of the Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA).

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