Brazzaville – With the end of the year approaching and many African families planning events, the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to be alerted to a possible increase in COVID-19 cases. This is because almost 20 countries in the region are experiencing an increase in cases.
After Africa reported a downward trend as a plateau, there has been an increase in cases since the beginning of October. Unlike the first spate of cases caused by hotspots in Southern Africa, the North African region, where temperatures are starting to fall, is being driven by the latest increase.
In the 47 countries in the WTO Africa region, 19 countries have reported a 20% increase in new cases over the past 28 days compared to the previous four weeks. However, 17 countries also report a drop of more than 20% in the number of new cases over the past 28 days, compared to the previous four weeks. There have also been increasing reports of health worker infections and deaths, especially among experienced health workers.
Large group meetings and mobility have been identified as risk factors to increase the spread of COVID-19, and the approaching holiday season may promote these risks, leading to super-distribution events.
“Since we are close to the time of year when people are on their way to spend their holidays together, there is a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, said. “New groups of cases may emerge in places that have not hitherto been affected when people travel or gather for festivals. But we can reduce the risks by wearing masks, limiting the number of people who gather, taking physical distances and good “We can celebrate it, but do it safely.”
WHO calls on the Member States to conduct risk assessments at sub-national level and to identify high-risk areas. Based on this analysis, local governments can adjust their social health measures accordingly and be agile in their decision-making. WHO helps prepare for a possible increase in hospital admissions by training additional contact detectives and clinicians to better handle cases, ensuring that essential supplies are available and screening at border crossing points is increased.
WHO has identified a worrying tendency to disregard the safety measures among the population. As part of an effort to rekindle important public health measures, the WHO is launching the “Mask Up, Not Down” campaign today. The campaign aims to reach more than 40 million young people in Africa with positive messages about the correct use of masks through social media, and to combat complacency, fatigue and misunderstanding around COVID-19 prevention measures.
“In light of COVID-19, complacency can be dangerous,” Dr Moeti said. “At this critical moment, when Africa is beginning to see an increase in cases, we must once again give strength and commit ourselves to wearing masks. I know many find the measures for public health cumbersome, but without the action of all, Africa is experiencing a new increase. in Covid19 cases. “
WHO urges governments to invest in involving communities and gaining their purchasing and support for life-saving public health measures. Only by ensuring that people in cities, districts and towns in Africa are committed to fighting COVID-19 can we overcome the pandemic.
Dr Moeti spoke at a virtual press conference facilitated by APO Group today. She was accompanied by mr. Prosper Zo’o Minto’o, Regional Director for West and Central Africa, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim, Director Center for the AIDS Research Program in South Africa and Co-Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 and Professor in Global Health, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.