The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that Africa must “wake up” to the coronavirus threat and prepare for the worst.
He warned that while Africa’s confirmed cases were currently low – around 640 – there was no reason for complacency.
Health experts warn that strained public health systems in Africa could become quickly overwhelmed if the virus takes hold, especially in overcrowded urban areas.
“WHO’s recommendation is actually mass gatherings should be avoided and we should do all we can to cut it from the bud, expecting that the worst could happen,” Mr Tedros told a news conference in Geneva, where the WHO is based.
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.