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World Health Organisations Warns That Weak Public Health Systems In African Could Be Overwhelmed If The Corona Virus Hits Overcrowded Cities In Africa.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has said Africa must “wake up” to the coronavirus threat and prepare for the worst, warning that while Africa’s confirmed cases were currently low – around 640 – there was no reason for complacency.

The head of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva that the continent should learn from how the spread of virus has sped up elsewhere.

Health experts warn that strained public health systems in Africa could become quickly overwhelmed if the virus takes hold, especially in overcrowded urban areas.

In Africa, 16 people have died from Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus: six in Egypt, six in Algeria, two in Morocco, one in Sudan and one in Burkina Faso.

South Africa, which has 116 cases, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster, restricting travel, closing schools, banning mass gatherings and ordering bars to close or limit numbers to 50.

The country has also banned all cruise ships from its ports. This comes despite tests coming back negative for six people on board a cruise ship, which had been put under quarantine All 1,700 people are now free to leave the ship and return home.

Other African nations have been imposing similar restrictions:

Lagos state, the economic hub of Nigeria, has banned gatherings of more than 50 people and schools will close from next week. Africa’s most-populous country, has eight coronavirus cases, is also stopping flights from any country where there are more than 1,000 infections from Saturday

Algeria, one of the worst-affected countries in Africa, has closed its borders and stopped flights The president has also banned mass gatherings, which would affect the weekly big anti-government demonstrations

Rwanda, which has 11 patients with Covid-19, is banning passenger flights after Friday for 30 days

Kenya, a deeply religious country like most on the continent, has suspended worship in some churches and mosques. The government also says it will manufacture its own hand sanitiser and distribute it for free, in a bid to tackle shortages

Liberia, which dealt with a deadly Ebola outbreak several years ago and has two recorded cases of Covid-19, has stopped issuing passports to stop people travelling and earlier this week banned entry to those from countries worst affected by the pandemic

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has banned entry to tourists for two weeks – and confirmed its first three cases: two cruise ships workers and a British tourist

Zambia, with two Covid-19 cases, has suspended parliament and schools and university will close after Friday

Somalia, with one case, closed its air space overnight

Uganda and Botswana, which have no cases so far, will close schools from next week

Chad, with no cases, is suspending all passenger flights and closing some land borders from midnight on Thursday.

 

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