“If no containment measures are put in place... and we know that this is not the case so far, up to 26 percent of the population could be infected in the next year, and up to 190,000 people could die,” Moeti said.
She also explained Africa’s population is more vulnerable to the virus because of prior scattered diseases such as Ebola and HIV. Besides, African nations do not have enough doctors, nurses, and health personnel to treat all possible COVID-19 patients.
The WHO regional director insisted on the importance of having accurate information to increase the population's awareness of health risks.
“As this pandemic evolves, it is incredibly important that countries use data-driven, evidence-based approaches. We have modeled the implications of widespread community transmission in each country of the African Region, based on country-specific social, environmental characteristics and peoples vulnerabilities to COVID-19” she said.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned his citizens that the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic are still yet to come, as the country de-escalates its lockdown measures and people returned to work on Monday. https://t.co/niFdKRlIBs
Moeti expressed her concern about possible high death tolls in smaller African nations because of poverty rates and lack of accurate health assistance. Besides, Algeria, South Africa, and Cameroon are severely affected due to population mobility.
“To stop the virus spread, key public health measures need to be in place in every community. Even where cases have not been reported, readiness capacities should be placed,” she said.
The WHO official recalled that the pandemic can be halted if countries focus on the early identification of cases, the massive performance of tests, the monitoring of people who were in contact with COVID-19 positives, and the isolation of those infected.
"We have seen countries such as Namibia and Seychelles follow these measures closely and they have not reported any cases over the last month,” she added.
As of Friday morning, Africa registers 55,672 COVID-19 cases, 2,087 deaths, and 19,301 recoveries. Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and South Africa are the most affected nations. Meanwhile, Comoros, Mauritania, and Western Sahara report low contagious rates.