The fast-moving newly identified coronavirus (Covid 19) has now infected around 81 000 people and claimed the lives 2700 worldwide, as of 26th February.
Despite the majority of the reported cases in mainland China and the broader Far East region, concern is worldwide.
The virus heralded its entry into the African continent, when Egypt confirmed its first case, with another confirmed case in Algeria. the World Health Organization has urged Africa to prepare for the virus.
This is largely due to fears that poorer countries will not be able to cope with an outbreak.
A survey conducted by the WHO to assess African countries overall readiness for the disease found that the regional readiness level was an estimated 66%.
The main concern is that many African nations are overwhelmed by existing disease outbreaks, which questions whether they will be able to handle an outbreak of a another highly infectious disease.
In light of this the WHO has sent kits to 29 laboratories on the continent to ensure they have the capacity to deal with the virus and also help test samples from other countries if needed. It is hoped that by later this month at least 36 African countries will be equipped to carry out tests specific to the coronavirus.
Close trade links between China and African countries has heightened concern regarding the spread of the virus. China is Africa's biggest trade partner and around 10,000 Chinese firms are currently operating throughout the continent. More than one million Chinese nationals are living on the African continent, which has led to the call for travel restrictions.
The airlines of Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and Rwanda have halted flights but the continent's biggest airline - Ethiopian Airlines - has carried on with operations.
The WHO has advised against travel restrictions and instead identified 13 top priority countries in Africa, which because of their direct links or high volume of travel to China need to be particularly vigilant. It plans to have support staff in all 13 countries by the end of the week.