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Africa’s COVID-19 cases surpass 250,000 – WHO

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, says the number of coronavirus cases in Africa is now over 256,000

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

The UN health agency gave the update on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

The agency said: “There are over 256,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 117,800 recoveries and 6,800 deaths.’’

Meanwhile,  Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO),  said the world had now recorded more than eight million cases of COVID-19.

Ghebreyesus, speaking at a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, said that, in the first two months, 85,000 cases were reported and in the past two months six million cases have been reported.

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“There have been more than 435,000 deaths and in the Americas, Africa and South Asia; cases are still rapidly rising,’’ he said.

According to him, there are green shoots of hope, which show that together through global solidarity, humanity can overcome the pandemic.

“We now have good examples of many countries that have shown how to effectively suppress the virus with a combination of testing, tracing, and quarantining patients and caring for those that get sick.

“Lab capacity has been dramatically enhanced across the world to boost COVID-19 testing, which is critical for identifying where the virus is and informing government actions.

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“New mega hubs have been established that are now key to the distribution of personal protective equipment, which includes millions of masks, goggles, aprons and gloves; as well as other medical supplies.

“Tech companies have developed applications that can assist with the critical task of contact tracing.

“And there has been an enormous effort to accelerate the science around the pandemic,’’ he said.

In addition, the director-general said WHO had in February convened a Research and Innovation Forum on COVID-19.

He said the global body convened a forum where hundreds of researchers came together from across the world with the aim of quickly developing quality diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

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“One of the key priorities identified was for the world to focus on accelerating research around treating patients with COVID-19.

“Specifically, researchers agreed to investigate existing drugs with potential, including steroids.

“WHO also developed a core protocol, which has been adapted and used by researchers around the world,’’ he said.

By Cecilia Ologunagba

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