Next few weeks critical in Africa’s COVID-19 fight- experts

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Coronavirus

World over, coronavirus cases are on the rise and a number of countries locking down, Africa’s successes and failures regarding the pandemic will be determined with what happens over the next months, said the director of the continent’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The director for Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. John Nkengasong, says in the next few weeks it is feared that most African countries will record internal human to human transmittion of coronavirus.

Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya recently confirmed internal transmittion of coronavirus in Zambia when he said the recent cases were of people who had been infected by individuals who had returned from abroad.

“And why is that so? Because we expect that by the third to fourth week from now, the virus will begin to seed into different communities, or sub-communities.

“For example, the most vulnerable populations in slums around capital cities, or even expand to remote areas. And then we’ll begin to understand how severe this pandemic will be,” Dr. Nkengasong told journalists during a virtual press briefing recently.

Meanwhile, lockdowns have been declared across the continent as cases mount, including in South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mauritius, and some cities in Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other countries have imposed travel restrictions and other regulations aimed at stopping the virus from spreading.

Dr. Meredith McMorrow, a medical officer in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division, said what citizens do next is critical.

U.S. health officials are advising African governments on handling the pandemic, as cases soar over 180,000 in the United States amid the prospect that the nation could see 100,000 to 240,000 deaths over the next two months, despite social distancing.

McMorrow said experts urge people everywhere to do the same.

“This is the best thing that we can do to protect everyone,” she said. “We have a limited amount of time to prevent widespread circulation of this virus in communities. And so, the best thing that we can all do right now is practice good hand hygiene, social distancing and take care of ourselves.

“I think that the challenges are obviously in areas where perhaps their resources are not great. Not every person can do that on this continent. And in those areas, then that’s where governments step in and try and assist people that perhaps can’t self-isolate,” she said.

-VOA

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31