Source: China State Council Information Office
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday urged African countries to carry out gradual easing of anti-COVID-19 measures to avert new infections in the continent.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said that lifting of lockdowns and curfews for preventing the spread of the highly contagious viral disease should not be rushed in order to forestall a second wave of infections.
“National and regional lockdowns have helped to slow the spread of COVID-19, but it remains a considerable public health threat,” Moeti said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
“Lockdowns are being eased in some parts of Africa, but we cannot just revert to how things were before the outbreak. If governments abruptly end these measures, we risk losing gains countries have made so far against COVID-19,” she added.
Africa has so far recorded more than 37,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,500 deaths.
Moeti said the continent has been spared an explosion in COVID-19 case numbers adding that timely interventions like lockdowns and physical distancing implemented by the governments have paid dividends.
She said that proactive measures like testing, contact tracing and case management have also slowed down the spread of coronavirus in the world’s second-largest continent.
Dozens of African countries announced partial lockdowns of cities and other COVID-19 hotspots in late March to avert a spike in infections that could overwhelm their fragile health care infrastructure.
According to the WHO, preliminary data indicate that countries that implemented the lockdowns witnessed the weekly increase in the number of new cases fall significantly from a 67 percent rise in the first week after the lockdown to a 27 percent rise in the second week.
She said that WHO and private donors are helping African countries improve the testing capacity to facilitate the smooth reopening of their economies and avert new COVID-19 infections.