WHOís Michael Ryan and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have warned about the impact of COVID-19 in Africa
The executive director of the World Health Organizationís (WHO) Health Emergency Program, has warned that the African continent is faced with a steep acceleration of coronavirus cases.
Dr. Michael Ryan made this grim prediction during his regular press briefing yesterday (July 20).
The African continent has reported a low number of cases compared to the rest of the world, but the infection and mortality rate keep on increasing.
According to the latest update, South Africa has reported 13,373 new cases, the fourth largest globally.
Many African states have some of the worldís weakest health systems which make it hard to manage the virus.
Mali for example, has few ventilators for a population of 20 million people. More broadly, the continent as a whole depends heavily on outside assistance to deal with a wide range of infectious outbreaks including Ebola and Cholera.
In fact additional resources and assistance was required even prior to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Ryan referred to the Covid-19 pandemic as a "wake-up call" for the continent, especially as social distancing is nearly impossible in densely populated urban areas of African countries. Moreover, imposing lockdowns in African countries is impractical in view of harsh economic realities.
In that context, the African Union has reported a loss of nearly $55 billion in the travel and tourism sectors in the past three months alone. Airlines have lost around $8 billion and some may not survive the crisis.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed global recommendations to help safely restart the global aviation industry. Kenya airways will soon resume international flights as the 15-member Economic Community of West African States has decided to reopen their airspaces on July 21.
Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi have officially announced plans to restart flights on August 01.
In view of the opening up of airspaces even as Covid-19 cases continue to climb, the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has strongly encouraged nations to take all necessary health precautions, with special emphasis on contact tracing.
For his part, Dr. Ryan said: "We do not have to wait for a vaccine we have to save lives now...I think that [COVID-19] has to be taken very very seriously".
SOURCE: PRESS TV