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Africa coronavirus cases could hit 10 million in six months: WHO

Daily News logo Daily News 18/04/2020 Daily News (via HT Media Ltd.)
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Coronavirus cases in Africa could surge from just thousands now to 10 million within three to six months, according to provisional modelling, a regional World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

But Michel Yao, head of emergency operations for WHO Africa, said on Thursday it was a tentative projection that could change. He noted worst-case predictions for the Ebola outbreak had not come true because people changed their behaviour in time.

"This is still to be fine-tuned," he told a media teleconference. "It's difficult to make a long-term estimation because the context changes too much and also public health measures, when they are fully implemented, they can actually have an impact."

Separately, new research said Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus even under the best-case scenario, according to modeling by the Imperial College London.

Under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections, the report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa said.

The world's poorest continent has seen more than 17,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 900 deaths so far - relatively few compared with other regions.

But there are fears that the numbers could balloon and overwhelm shaky health services.

NEWS /AFRICA

Africa coronavirus cases could hit 10 million in six months: WHO

COVID-19 cases on the continent may shoot up from thousands to millions if models are accurate, UN health agency says.

20 hours ago

Coronavirus cases in Africa could surge from just thousands now to 10 million within three to six months, according to provisional modelling, a regional World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

But Michel Yao, head of emergency operations for WHO Africa, said on Thursday it was a tentative projection that could change. He noted worst-case predictions for the Ebola outbreak had not come true because people changed their behaviour in time.

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"This is still to be fine-tuned," he told a media teleconference. "It's difficult to make a long-term estimation because the context changes too much and also public health measures, when they are fully implemented, they can actually have an impact."

Separately, new research said Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus even under the best-case scenario, according to modeling by the Imperial College London.

Under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections, the report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa said.

The world's poorest continent has seen more than 17,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 900 deaths so far - relatively few compared with other regions.

But there are fears that the numbers could balloon and overwhelm shaky health services.

"We are concerned that the virus continues to spread geographically, within countries," said Matshidiso Moeti, director of WHO's Africa region, which comprises 46 sub-Saharan nations and Algeria.

"The numbers continue to increase every day."

(Source: Al Jazeera)

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