“Probably we have undetected cases” says WHO director


…WHO urge countries to cancel public gatherings to control Covid-19 transmission as Malawi buries her head in the sand

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that there are probably undetected or unreported cases in sub-Saharan Africa countries which include Malawi.

Head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the current number of 233 coronavirus infections is likely not a true reflection of the full picture of COVID-19 cases in Africa.

“We can not take this number as a true reflection. Probably we have undetected cases or unreported cases” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during yesterdays COVID-19 daily press briefing.

The director has also urged African countries to prepare for the worst as the coronavirus begins to spread locally with Sub-Saharan Africa recording its second COVID-19 death, a high-ranking politician in Burkina Faso. Sudan previously reported a death.

“In other countries, we have seen how the virus actually accelerates after a certain tipping point. The best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst. Prepare today to cut Covid-19 from the bud”.

Other experts have also warned that health facilities in Africa are likely to be overwhelmed by the infection with crowded conditions leading to  spike in transmission.

As of today, Gambia, Zambia and Djibouti join thirty of Africa’s 54 countries to have recorded Covid-19 cases, with a total of at least 529 as of midday on Wednesday. Globally, more than 200 thousand cases of Covid-19 have been reported so far.

Tedros called on on “Africa to wake up” by, among other things, “avoiding mass gatherings”.

He further advised countries to put in place measures that control “physical distancing measures – like cancelling sporting events, concerts and other large gatherings”, saying these “can help to slow transmission of the virus and reduce the burden on the health system”.

“WHO continues to recommend that isolating, testing and treating every suspected case, and tracing every contact, must be the backbone of the response in every country. This is the best hope of preventing widespread community transmission,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The Director warned that if countries do not take such measures, “transmission chains can continue at a low level, then resurge once physical distancing measures are lifted”.

Meanwhile, Malawi is imposing a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine on people travelling from countries with more than 1,000 coronavirus cases. Malawi’s neighboring countries, Tanzania and Zambia have both reported new cases of coronavirus.

A situation report released yesterday by the country’s Ministry of Health shows that there are currently over 285 people on follow up whereas 150 others have been discharged. A wind of uncertainty currently remains.