Africa the only region where COVID-19 cases are not increasing: WHO chief

The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus /Photo by James Chau

Africa is the only region where COVID-19 cases are not increasing, according to the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom.

Tedros made the remarks in his speech on Monday at the Financial Times Africa Summit.

“One of the few encouraging trends is in Africa, which has been less affected than other regions and is now the only region where cases are not increasing,” he said.

“The current downward trend is cause for optimism.”

The WHO chief noted that a number of countries on the continent drew lessons from their fight against other infectious diseases before COVID-19 to help them in the fight against the virus.

Tedros hailed Africa’s increased testing capacity, but noted that the continent still has “problems with access to testing kits.”

He however said the WHO was working with partners to fill those gaps.

The remarks by 55-year-old come as the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Africa stood at 1,577,644 with 38,396 deaths, according to the latest data from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tedros reiterated the WHO’s stand that the pandemic had proven to the world that health is not a luxury for humanity, but a basic need.

“Strong health systems and health security are two sides of the same coin,” he said.

“When people have access to quality, affordable prevention and treatment services, businesses and economies can flourish.

“Universal health coverage, based on primary health care, is the foundation of health security, stability and sustainability.”