allAfrica.com & Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express
Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong has warned African countries to prepare for a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Speaking during a virtual press conference on on Thursday, Nkengasong said the number of new cases in several African countries is showing a slight increase.
As of Saturday, October 31, the confirmed COVID-19 cases from 55 African countries have reached 1,774,409 with reported deaths at 42,629 and recoveries 1,447,203.
Currently, 284,575 cases are active and 16,613,563 tests have been performed with South Africa having the most reported cases — 723,682, with deaths numbering 19,230.
Other most-affected countries include Morocco (215,294), Egypt (107,376) Ethiopia (95,789), Nigeria (62,691) and Libya (60,628).
The numbers are. According to statistics compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University using statistics from the World Health Organization and other international institutions as well national and regional public health departments.
Malawi registered seven new COVID-19 cases, 20 new recoveries and no new death as of Friday from 679 tests that were done.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 5,923 cases including 184 deaths and of these cases, 1,170 are imported infections and 4,753 are locally transmitted.
Cumulatively, 5,323 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 416. Cumulatively, 62,171 tests have been conducted in the country so far.
Nkengasong said: “The time for the continent to prepare for the second wave is now. The continent has done very well in bending the curve, where most infections were at peak around July and then declineed steadily.
“But now we are beginning to see some stagnation and even slight increase in some African countries.”
The Africa CDC chief called on African countries to strengthen surveillance systems, increase testing, engage communities in response and promote mask-wearing in order to effectively fight the pandemic.
“If we do those things together then we are preparing the continent effectively for the second wave which undoubtedly will be there.
“I mean that we have seen what is going on in Europe. We want to be sure that we protect against the gains that we’ve achieved over the last 10 months.
“The continent finds itself at a very pivotal period, a trying moment for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have made so many gains, but the time is now to really prepare for the second wave.
“We should see what is happening in Europe and observe that with concern, but we can do something about it and the time for that is now,” he said.
Malawi’s co-chairperson of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka joins Nkengasong in warning his compatriots that much as it is commendable that people are continuing to practice preventive behaviours — which has significantly contributed to the reduction in the number of new infections — “this should not be cause for anybody to lax”.
He urged healthcare workers and other front line workers to continue being natural role models and behaviour drivers.
“While the numbers of new cases are low, the risk remains high. In other parts of the world including some African countries, the disease is again rising and causing severe negative consequences.
“We really don’t want in our country. As we can see from the newly confirmed cases, the virus is still transmitting in our community.
“I encourage everyone to continue regularly wash hands with soap, wear face mask properly, avoid large gatherings, practice cough and sneeze etiquette and observe physical distance of at least 1 meter.
“Together, we can make Malawi COVID-19 free,” Dr. Phuka said.