The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday sent a dire warning to Africa over COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, saying the continent should wake up and prepare for the worst, adding that big religious gatherings that amplify the spread of the disease should be avoided.
“Africa should wake up, my continent should wake up,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is from the East African country of Ethiopia warned.
“The best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst and prepare today,” Dr. Ghebreyesus added at a press briefing from Geneva.
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He said the number of confirmed cases in Sub-Saharan Africa as of Wednesday was 233, the lowest from any region at the moment. However, he advised Africa to prepare as if the worst was coming.
He said there might be unreported or undetected cases in Africa, adding that if the current 233 figure was true, Africa should quickly “cut it from the butt”.
He said Africa needs to do testing, contact tracing, and isolation to to stop the spread of the disease before it is too late.
“In other countries, we have seen how the virus accelerates after a certain tipping point, so the best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst and prepare today,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said.
He echoed the call by Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Program to avoid big gathering that can amplify the disease, especially big religious gatherings.
“With regards to mass gatherings and so on, it will help if we avoid that and WHO recommendation is actually mass gatherings should be avoided, we should do all we can to cut it from the butt expecting that the worst could happen because we have seen how the virus really speeds up in other continents or countries,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said.