WHO worried about community spread of Covid-19 in West Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it is very worried about the rate of community spread of Covid-19 in West Africa.

The regional head of the organisation, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said on Thursday that: “We are very concerned about West Africa where we are seeing community spread in a significant number of countries.”

West Africa has confirmed almost 10,000 cases with over 200 deaths but most of the cases are local infections, according to the WHO.

The regional head told reporters that: “In terms of the situation in Africa, we are continuing to see an increase in cases.

“What is very encouraging is that we have a number of countries who have reported zero cases over a couple of weeks.”

But some of the West African nations have started easing lockdown measures with Ghana taking the lead weeks ago.

She said: “We encourage very much the use of data, so that when a government decides not to lockdown a city, they need to be aware that there will be consequences in terms of the spread of the virus.

“We hope that these decisions are made taking into account the balance between enabling economies and stopping the spread of a pandemic that can have profound consequences,” she added.

The WHO regional head, however, said: “I’d just like to say that… these are not easy decisions to make at the political and policy level. There is always a need to balance.”

What excites the WHO though is that many countries in Africa are putting “in place some early measures, starting with testing and contact tracing, which have produced some results.”

“We are very concerned with the vulnerability of people living in conflict conditions, refugee camps and migrants… which is the case with many people in the Sahel countries. We are working closely with partners to serve these people,” she said.

So far, only Lesotho is yet to confirm a case of coronavirus in Africa with cases now hitting over 37,400.


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