In early December 2020, one death and 41 hospitalizations with common symptoms but unknown etiology were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan, population 10 million.(1) By 7 January 2020 – only a month later – Chinese authorities had identified the cause as a novel coronavirus, later named COVID‐19, and released its genetic sequence to the world for the development of diagnostic kits.(2) On 21 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first situation report on COVID‐19 with 282 cases, mostly in China, but one each in Japan, Korea and Thailand.(2) Three weeks later, when the WHO released its first COVID‐19 situation report, there were over 45 000 cases in China and nearly 400 outside China.(3) As of mid‐April 2020, COVID‐19 had spread to 180 countries around the world with over 2 million cases and 140 000 deaths.(4) This includes 52 African Union Member States with over 17 000 cases and over 900 deaths on the continent.