The World Health Organization, WHO, has urged countries to be on high alert for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases. The organization was particular about countries in Africa, where many families are planning get-togethers as the yuletide season approaches.
In a statement by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said in a virtual press conference that “As we near the time of the year when people get on the move to spend their holidays together, there is a bigger risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
Africa has been experiencing a rise in cases since early October. Unlike the first wave of cases which was triggered by hotspots in Southern Africa, the latest increase is driven by the North African region, where temperatures are beginning to fall.
Moeti said in the 47 countries in the WHO African Region, 19 countries had reported over a 20% increase in new cases in the past 28 days, compared with the previous four weeks.
Dr. Moeti urged member-states to conduct risk assessments at the sub-national level and identify areas of high risk. Based on this analysis, local governments can adjust their public health measures accordingly and be agile in their decision-making.
Moeti urged governments to invest in engaging communities and winning their buy-in and support for life-saving public health measures, adding that “only by ensuring people in cities, districts and villages in Africa are committed to fighting, COVID-19, will we overcome the pandemic”.