WHO urges strong COVID-19 safety measures in Africa as countries reopen

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. Become our exclusive member and help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

As African countries begin to reopen borders and air spaces, it is crucial that governments take effective measures to mitigate the risk of a surge in infections due to the resumption of commercial flights and airport operations.

Many African governments acted swiftly, implementing confinement and travel restrictions in the early days of the pandemic. In the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, 36 countries closed their borders to international travel, eight suspended flights from countries with high COVID-19 transmission and others had partial or no restrictions. So far Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania and Zambia have resumed commercial flights. The 15-member Economic Community of West African States is expected to open their airspace on 21 July.

While open borders are vital for the free flow of goods and people, initial analysis by WHO found that lockdowns along with public health measures reduced the spread of COVID-19. Even with border restrictions, imported cases have sometimes brought back COVID-19 to countries which had not reported cases for a length of time. For example, Seychelles had not had a locally transmitted case since 6 April 2020, but in the last week 66 new cases – all crew members of an international fishing vessel – have been recorded. 

“Air travel is vital to the economic health of countries,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “But as we take to the skies again, we cannot let our guard down. Our new normal still requires stringent measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.”

To resume international air travel, WHO recommends that countries assess the epidemiological situation to determine whether maintaining restrictions outweighs the economic costs of reopening borders if, for instance, there is widespread transmission of the virus. It is also crucial to determine whether the health system can cope with a spike in imported cases and whether the surveillance and contact tracing system can reliably detect and monitor cases.

It is important that countries have systems in place at points of entry including airports. Comprehensive entry and exit screening should be considered based on risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis, and as part of the overall national response strategy. Such screening may target, as a priority, direct flights from areas with community transmission. In addition, observance of preventive measures such as personal hygiene, cough etiquette, physical distancing remains crucial. Passengers should be registered and followed up, and if they develop symptoms be advised to inform health authorities.

“The resumption of commercial flights in Africa will facilitate the delivery of crucial supplies such as testing kits, personal protective equipment and other essential health commodities to areas which need them most,” Dr Moeti said. “It will also ensure that experts, who can support the response can finally get on the ground and work.”

The impact of COVID-19 on airlines is likely to be severe. African airlines could lose US$ 6 billion of passenger revenue compared to 2019 and job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 3.1 million, half of the region’s 6.2 million aviation-related employment, according to the International Air Transport Association.

In the worst-case scenario, international air traffic in Africa could see a 69% drop in international traffic capacity and 59% decline in domestic capacity, according to an analysis by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Together with the World Economic Forum, WHO held a virtual press conference today with Dr Moeti, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission and Prosper Zo’o Minto’o, Regional Director, Western and Central African Office, International Civil Aviation Organization.

Read full article

TODAY NEWS AFRICA
TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

MOST POPULAR

Nigeria-born former Florida State basketball big man Michael Ojo dies of heart attack in Serbia at 27

Nigeria-born former Florida State basketball big man Michael Ojo died of a heart attack in Serbia on Friday. He was only...

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara says he’s now running for re-election after saying he would not seek third term

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara announced on Thursday evening that he was running for re-election. The presidential election would take place...

South African President appoints committee to investigate COVID-19 corruption

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has, following a decision taken by Cabinet at its meeting of Wednesday, August 5, 2020, appointed...

68 percent of people who contracted COVID-19 in Africa have recovered while five countries – South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria account for 75 percent of all cases

About 68 percent of people who contracted COVID-19 in Africa have recovered, the Africa CDC announced at a briefing on Thursday.

WHO ramps up COVID-19 support to hotspot countries in Africa

The first members of a surge team of health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa,...
- Advertisement -

LATEST STORIES

30 top CEOs make 64 recommendations to scale up funding for SDGs

In a report released on Wednesday, 30 CEOs from prominent corporations around the globe – members of the Global Investors for...

U.S. police used excessive force against Black Lives Matter protesters at least 125 times in 10 days, Amnesty International says in new findings

Amnesty International on Tuesday released a new report documenting mass violations by the police in the United States against Black Lives...

24,000 South African health workers contract coronavirus, 181 die

About 24,000 South African health workers have contracted coronavirus and at least 181 of them have died, health minister Zweli Mkwize...

WHO ramps up COVID-19 support to hotspot countries in Africa

The first members of a surge team of health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa,...

CDC warns 182,000 Americans could die from coronavirus by August 22 with up to 11,000 expected to die in a single week in August. One American now dies every minute from COVID-19

As many as 182,000 Americans could die from coronavirus by August 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted in...

[/read_more]

Read full article

error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
Share
Reddit
WhatsApp