The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of possible tough times ahead for Africa as countries continue to report new cases of COVID-19.
So far, 52 countries on the continent have recorded cases of the disease, with a total of nearly 11,000 COVID-19 cases, and over 500 deaths. Over 1,000 people have recovered.
“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,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom.
Tedros reiterated a call by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Rebecca Moeti, to have countries localize their responses and strengthening their existing public health care infrastructure.
At the same time, Tedros also warned countries against rushing a return to normalcy, saying it “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 said.
Global COVID-19 cases have so far surpassed 1.7 million, with nearly 105,000 deaths reported. Over 390,000 have recovered.
Tedros called for a unified fight against the virus, noting that: “every single person has a role to play in ending this pandemic.”