The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus, has warned African countries that lifting existing restrictions in the fight against Covid-19 could result in a deadly resurgence of the virus on the continent.
In a press briefing, Ghebreyesus stated that the low infection figures in Africa did not mean it was now safe to lift measures put in place to contain the virus as indications were that the rate of infection was accelerating in rural areas where healthcare is less accessible.
He said, ‘I want to take a moment to highlight Africa, where we are seeing the spread of the virus to rural areas. We are now seeing clusters of cases and community spread in more than 16 countries. We anticipate severe hardship for already overstretched health systems, particularly in rural areas, which normally lack the resources of those in cities. This means countries need to localise the response, by urgently strengthening the existing public health and primary healthcare infrastructure in their countries.
‘The recent meeting of the G20 countries expressed strong support for Africa, which must be expedited even though the numbers in Africa are still relatively small but accelerating. I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions, WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone. At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence, the way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly. WHO is working with affected countries on strategies for gradually and safely easing restrictions’, he added.
Source: New Zimbabwe
Photo source: UN Geneva