Africa CDC Chief urges African countries to prepare for second wave of COVID-19 infections

Health workers wait to takes a swab from a man during a community COVID-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Lagos on April 18, 2020. (Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Health workers wait to takes a swab from a man during a community COVID-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Lagos on April 18, 2020. The Lagos government commence community testing and search, sample collections of eligible cases as they struggle to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as cases rise in Nigeria amidst lockdown. (Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), urged African countries to prepare for the second wave of COVID-19 infections on Thursday.

Speaking during a virtual press conference, he said the continent has to prepare for the second wave of COVID-19 infections, as the number of new cases in several African countries is showing a slight increase.

“The time for the continent to prepare for the second wave is now,” said Nkengasong.

“The continent has done very well in bending the curve, where most infections peak around July and then decline steadily, but now we are beginning to see some stagnation and even slight increase in some African countries,” he said.

The Africa CDC chief called on African countries to strengthen surveillance systems, increase testing, engage communities in the response, and promote mask-wearing in order to effectively fight the pandemic.

“If we do those things together then we are preparing the continent effectively for the second wave which undoubtedly will be there. I mean that we have seen what is going on in Europe. We want to be sure that we protect against the gains that we’ve achieved over the last 10 months,” said Nkengasong.

“The continent finds itself at a very pivotal period, a trying moment for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have made so many gains, but the time is now to really prepare for the second wave. We should see what is happening in Europe and observe that with concern, but we can do something about it and the time for that is now,” he said.

The Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the African Union Commission, disclosed the total number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the African continent has reached 1,748, 335 with a death toll of 42,151 as of Thursday.