ADDIS ABEBA – The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa has climbed to more than 10,000 and caused more than 500 deaths, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
Africa’s first Covid-19 case was reported in Egypt in February and the novel coronavirus has spread since then.
Since then a total of 52 countries have reported cases.
The number of cases has grown “exponentially” in recent weeks, according to WHO officials.
“Its spread beyond major cities means the opening of a new front in our fight against this virus,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“This requires a decentralised response, which is tailored to the local context,” Moeti said. “Communities need to be empowered, and provincial and district levels of government need to ensure they have the resources and expertise to respond to outbreaks locally.”
The statement noted that WHO has been working with governments across Africa to “scale up” their response capacities when it comes to coordination, surveillance, testing, isolation, case management, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement during the coronavirus pandemic.
It said Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria have expanded national testing to multiple labs, allowing for decentralized testing.
These combined measures will ensure the rapid identification of cases, the tracking down and quarantining of contacts and the isolation and treatment of patients, it added.