Some researchers, in a study published in Nature, said they are worried about Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya because of weak healthcare systems, low economic status and unstable political situation which make them highly vulnerable.

The World Health Organisation, WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said the agency’s decision to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, was mainly based on concerns that the epidemic could spread in nations with fragile healthcare platforms.

The researchers are also concerned about the disease spreading among people in Africa.

An epidemiologist and a co-author of the Harvard team’s model, Marc Lipsitch said Africa was not as exposed to the ailment as those nations in South East Asia due to direct international flights from Wuhan.

Vittoria Colizza, who models infectious diseases at the Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and a co-author of the Africa study, however, said Egypt, Algeria and South Africa have the capacity to respond effectively to an outbreak.

A spokesperson for global agency in Geneva, Switzerland, Tarik Jašarevic said the organisation is working with the affected countries to rapidly detect any potential cases, adding that the nations in question also needed to increase their preparedness.