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8,000 health workers infected with COVID-19 in Africa – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says no fewer than 8,000 health workers have been infected with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Africa Region.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa

WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, disclosed this on its official Twitter account @WHOAFRO on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

“This is why Infection Prevention Control (IPC) awareness is vital for all.

“WHO and partners have trained more than 50,000 health workers to protect themselves and patients.

“The organisation aims to reach over 200,000 in 2020,’’ it said.

South Africa is the hardest-hit country by COVID-19 with 287,796 confirmed cases and 4,172 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 33,153 cases and 774 deaths while Ghana reported 24,988 cases with 139 deaths.

Meanwhile, the WHO Africa weekly bulletin on outbreaks and other emergencies for week 28, which cover July 6 to July 12 and focused on COVID-19, stated the rising cases of the virus in Ghana.

It said Ghana had the third highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region in the period, but still fewer deaths.

“However, as with many other countries in the region, lockdown regulations started to be relaxed in mid-June 2020, allowing schools and universities to re-open, and gatherings of up to 100 people for funerals and weddings.

“At the same time, there is a rise in numbers of confirmed cases, including at senior high schools.

“Community engagement and risk communication around physical distancing, the use of cloth masks in public and hand hygiene is now vital in order to stem this rise in transmission,’’ WHO said.

According to the report, the first two cases of COVID-19 in Ghana were confirmed on March 12, 2020 in two people, who had returned to Accra from Norway and Turkey.

It stated that Greater Accra, Ashanti and Upper West regions all recorded cases in March 2020 and remained the most affected areas in the country.

“The number of new cases has been increasing rapidly in recent weeks.

“As of July 12, there was a cumulative total of 24,518 confirmed cases, with 139 deaths (case fatality ratio 0.6 per cent).

“Of the new daily cases, 65 per cent are reported from Greater Accra, 10 per cent from Ashanti and 10 per cent from Western regions.

“Routine surveillance accounts for 35 per cent of new cases, while enhanced surveillance through contact tracing and quarantined travellers accounts for 65 per cent of new cases.

“As of July 12, a total of 421 (17 per cent) confirmed cases had been reported among health workers.

“As of July 3, a total of 316,798 tests had been carried out, with a positivity rate of 6.3 per cent with and laboratory testing rate at 107 per 10,000 population per capita,’’ it stated.

WHO said the attack rate nationally was 70 per 100,000 population, but higher in Greater Accra Region at 239 per 100,000 population.

“The rate at Western Region was put at 87.2 per 100,000 population and Ashanti Region at 78.1 per 100,000 population.

“All 16 regions of the country have recorded cases and the median attack rate for the regions is 16 per 100,000 population.

“To date, a total of 20,187 (82 per cent) cases have been recorded as recovered in Ghana,’’ the organisation said.

By Cecilia Ologunagba

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