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Some African countries heading for peak in coronavirus cases in weeks – WHO official

‘During the last four days we can see that the numbers have already doubled,’ Michel Yao
Image: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Some African countries could see a peak in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, and testing should be urgently increased in the region, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Thursday. “During the last four days we can see that the numbers have already doubled,” Michel Yao, the WHO Africa programme manager for emergency response, told a media teleconference on Thursday.

“If the trend continues, and also learning from what happened in China and in Europe, some countries may face a huge peak very soon,” he said, adding it could arrive in the coming weeks but without naming countries.

The numbers of people recorded infected with the novel coronavirus in Africa have been relatively low so far – with nearly 11 000 cases and 562 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and WHO data.

The WHO’s Africa head, Matshidiso Moeti, said there is an “urgent need” to expand testing capacity beyond capital cities in Africa, as the virus spreads through countries.

“Without help and action now, poor countries and vulnerable communities could suffer massive devastation,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva.

“The infection numbers in Africa are relatively small now, but they are growing fast,” he said.

He noted the havoc wrought even in wealthy nations in the 100 days since China first informed the WHO of cases of a “pneumonia of unknown cause” in the city of Wuhan.

African leaders including the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and Rwanda have rallied around Tedros, a former foreign minister of Ethiopia, after US President Donald Trump criticised the United Nations agency and threatened to withhold his country’s contribution to its budget.

Although Africa accounts for a fraction of global cases of the disease, its countries are feeling the economic impact. In a report published on Thursday, the World Bank said the outbreak is expected to push sub-Saharan Africa into recession in 2020 for the first time in 25 years.

The bank’s Africa‘s Pulse report said the region’s economy will contract 2.1% to 5.1% from growth of 2.4% last year, and that the new coronavirus will cost sub-Saharan Africa $37 billion to $79 billion in output losses this year due to trade and value chain disruption, among other factors.

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“Without help and action now, poor countries and vulnerable communities could suffer massive devastation,” Tedros.

but but but Tedros told us this was virus of low human to human transmission and advised keeping borders and travel open in Jan & Feb.

You can’t do a sudden U-turn when cruising 120kph on the highway mate. Own up, take full responsibility and resign.

Let the leadership of Taiwan who fully contained the virus take over

Yes ansolutely hilarious!

Are people so stupid to listen to these clowns still?

The worst for me was when WHO adviced AGAINST imposing travel restriction from Wuhan!

Insane murderous stupidity!

That led to the spread of the virus all over the world.

Yes absolutely hilarious!

Are people so stupid to listen to these clowns still?

The worst for me was when WHO adviced AGAINST imposing travel restriction from Wuhan!

Insane murderous stupidity!

That led to the spread of the virus all over the world.

End of comments.

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