AU warns Covid-19 spread will worsen as cases slip through the net

AFRICA will probably see higher numbers of coronavirus cases in the coming weeks because of the likelihood some are slipping through the net, the head of a regional disease control body said on Thursday.

The virus has multiplied in Africa more slowly than Asia or Europe, but 34 nations on the continent have now reported a total of more than 600 cases. Worldwide, it has infected more than 227,000 people and killed more than 9,000.

‘We are picking (up) some people but we are also missing some people,’ said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is a branch of the AU bloc.

‘The situation will get worse before it gets better because the chances are clear that people have slipped through,’ said Nkengasong.

Over the past 24 hours, more African countries announced aggressive measures to restrict travel and close public spaces.

 Senegal and Sierra Leone said they would suspend all international commercial flights. The Democratic Republic of Congo banned all flights from “at-risk” countries and ordered schools and restaurants closed.

Chad, which recorded its first case on Thursday, and Djibouti ordered schools closed, as did Zimbabwe, which has not yet confirmed any cases.

On Sunday President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster and announced sweeping measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Among measures is a travel ban on foreigners from high-risk countries.


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