The World Health Organization, Africa Region, has warned African countries against getting lulled into a false sense of security over COVID-19.
For the year that the pandemic has been around, African countries have largely escaped the worst. Even with surging cases in several countries over the past few months, none has gotten to the point of entirely crippling health systems.
However, WHO Africa Region Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, called for continued vigilance, stating that the risk of a resurgent remains high in the continent.
“We cannot be lulled into a false sense of security,” Dr. Moeti said on Thursday, “The devastating surge of deaths and cases in India and other parts of the world are clear signs that the pandemic is not over yet in Africa.
“A new upsurge of COVID-19 infections remains a real risk in many countries, even as regional cases in recent weeks appear to be stable.”
Combating COVID fatigue
Dr. Moeti said that one of the keys to winning the possible surge of cases was to combat COVID-19 fatigue. COVID-19 fatigue means that many people now are tired of following the public health guidelines. Indeed, some countries, such as Benin and Guinea, have seen politicians hold large political gatherings.
Indeed, Africa has over 4.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, with deaths passing 120,000. However, while individual countries have seen a surge in cases, the continent’s cases have been mainly stable.
Risk factors in countries
But Dr. Moeti sounded a warning, saying three countries faced a very high risk of COVID-19 resurgence. Another 20 faced high risk, while 22 faced moderate threats. Only one country faced a low risk of a resurgence, according to the risk assessment of 46 countries.
The Organisation calculated the risk using seven indicators, among them COVID-19 cases per million; percentage of changes in deaths and percentage of changes in new cases.
They also looked at the virus reproductive number (rate of the infection’s spread), pandemic trend, weekly testing average per 10,000, and the percentage of the population to have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dosage.