Some African countries heading for coronavirus peak in weeks: WHO

Some African countries heading for coronavirus peak in weeks: WHO

Channel NewsAsia - World·2020-04-09 23:52

FILE PHOTO: Fire service men are seen fumigating at a government building on the second day of a 14-day lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Abuja, Nigeria April 1, 2020.REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

ABUJA: 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 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 that it could arrive in the coming weeks, but without naming countries.

The numbers of recorded coronavirus infections 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.

On Thursday, Zambia imposed several measures including the closure of all education institutions, banning public gatherings of 50 or more people and suspending non-essential foreign travel.

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

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