The abatement of coronavirus-related restrictions should be carried out carefully and only in those African countries whose health care system is prepared to properly cope with a potential influx of patients, WHO Africa Programme Manager for Emergency Response Michel Yao said in an interview.
"The question is what countries did during this [lockdown] period: were they in a position to increase the capacity for detection, capacity for management of sick people and capacity to increase knowledge about preventive measures that need to be in place? If this scale-up has been made then they can confidentially ease the lockdown. But our advice is to do it step by step so that at least you test the system before opening it widely. This is the condition", Yao said.
Kenya Ministry of Health CAS official during Coronvirus Press Briefing (C) At Afya House.
According to the WHO official, one scenario that Africa feared Countries feared was that of Italy, Spain and France, where in increased number of patients was more than their health care systems were able to cope with, and another fear should be that of South Korea and Germany, where the epidemic retreated but then came back after the abatement of control measures.
"So you need to ensure strong capacity before opening up", Yao argued, adding that the mismanagement of de-confinement can lead to an "explosive" post-lockdown situation.
The official further cited a report published earlier this month by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, warning that more than 200 million people in Africa are at risk of contracting the coronavirus disease in the next year and the number of coronavirus-related deaths can reach up to 150,000 if no immediate action is taken.
The cited number above is not systemic considering the initial projected figure was up to 300,000 deaths by April. None of that materialized so far to date. Its worthy noting majority of Africa Countries despite poor health system in place took WHO warning seriously and immediately imposed a number of restrictions and Lockdowns. It though affected so many poor Countries like Zimbabwe however, it helped flatten the curve.
The number Since May have however, escalated in a number of Countries, with South Africa leading the pack followed by other North Africa and West Africa Countries, Nigeria, Algeria. These increased numbers have pushed the toll of infected person in the whole Continent to 100,000.
According to the latest WHO situation report, Africa cumulatively accounts for a little more than 80,000 cases of more than 5.3 million cases detected totally.