Continent requested to stay alert about Coronavirus during holiday season

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 20 African countries have reported a 20 percent increase in new cases in the past one month. The agency has issued a warning about a possible increase in cases of Covid-19 as families plan the end of the year.

After a downward trend as a plateau was reported, Africa has experienced an increase in cases since early October, and the WHO said the latest rise is driven by the North African region, where temperatures are falling in contrast to first wave of cases, caused by hotspots in Southern Africa.

Overwhelming facilities

The WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has called for vigilance over the next few weeks to prevent a further boom that could overwhelm health systems. He mentions in particular Kenya, Morocco and South Africa where infections have increased.

‘As we are close to the time of year when people spend their holidays together, there is a greater risk for Covid-19 transmission. “WHO is concerned that a new group of cases is emerging in places that have not been affected so far when people travel or gather for celebrations,” said Dr Moeti.

Dr Moeti told a virtual press conference last week that 19 countries in Africa have reported an increase of more than 20 percent 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 percent in the number of new cases over the past 28 days, compared to the previous four weeks.

Rwanda has closed 25 coronavirus treatment centers across the country following a successful decline in positive cases. Only seven treatment cases remain active now and the Ministry of Health is confident that this is enough to treat critically ill patients across the country.

Of those still open, two are located in Kigali – including one treatment center in the overcrowded Mageragera prison – four in the eastern and southern provinces and one in the north.

“We have closed all treatment centers, mainly because the majority of patients are treated with mild non-symptomatic cases at home,” Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, told The EastAfrican.

“Those with severe coronary symptoms make up only 30 percent of the total positive cases and are treated in national treatment centers,” she added.

WHO calls on governments to conduct risk assessments at sub-national level and to identify high-risk areas, and on the basis of this analysis, local governments can adjust their social measures accordingly.

It also calls for community involvement to ensure that all citizens in cities, districts and towns across Africa are committed to fighting the Covid-19.

Additional reporting by Ivan R. Mugisha

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