With Africa approaching one million reported coronavirus infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday warned against the easing of restrictions across the continent as case numbers doubled over the past month.
“We are concerned that now that the countries have had to release their measures, we will see an increase in cases as we have seen in [other] countries” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti said in a virtual news conference.
More than 20 countries across Africa have recorded a higher number of new cases than in the previous weeks, Moeti said, adding that only five countries account for 75% of the total cases, with South Africa accounting for most.
“In the past 25 days the cases have doubled [in Africa] with South Africa continuing to account for the majority of cases”, however, “fewer new cases have been reported in the past seven days” she added.
Moeti said that underreporting of cases exists in Africa, but not enough to have a “huge underestimation.”
“We don’t think here are thousands of people dying undetected on the continent,” Moeti said, however — commenting on an increase in the number of natural deaths in South Africa compared to last year — she said that WHO recognizes “that there is underreporting of cases, and possibly underreporting of deaths as well.”
“There is a question being raised on whether or not the discrepancy is linked with Covid-19 related deaths. This is something we’re looking into,” Moeti added.
Some countries are doing well including Uganda, Seychelles and Mauritius however there was an increase in new cases reported in Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, she said.
Moeti also said that some people in Africa with other diseases have been negatively affected by Covid-19.
“Other diseases and conditions are disadvantaged now, as people are afraid of getting treated and going to health units for medical assistance, due to the risks of Covid-19,” she said.
With almost 890,000 reported cases and 18,000 deaths, Africa is expected to cross the one million mark in the coming week, WHO said.-CNN