The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday, May 7 warned that the novel coronavirus could kill anything between 83,000 to 1,90,000 people in Africa during the first year of the outbreak, if containment measures fail. The new study by WHO has predicted that 29 million to 44 million could get infected in the region in the first year of the pandemic.
"While COVID-19 likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission hotspots," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa. "COVID-19 could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region. We need to test, trace, isolate, and treat," she added.
The research, which is based on prediction modelling, looks at 47 countries in the WHO African Region with a total population of one billion. According to the WHO there were on average nine intensive care unit beds per one million people in the region. "These would be woefully inadequate," the WHO said. According to the study, the available medical capacity in Africa would be overwhelmed as it predicted that there would be an estimated 3.6 million–5.5 million COVID-19 hospitalizations in the first year.
"The importance of promoting effective containment measures is ever more crucial, as sustained and widespread transmission of the virus could severely overwhelm our health systems. Curbing a largescale outbreak is far costlier than the ongoing preventive measures governments are undertaking to contain the spread of the virus," said Dr. Moeti.
According to figures by worldometer website, the world has recorded 3.91 million coronavirus cases so far, of which 2,70,711 people have lost their lives. Health experts believe that the virus originated from a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where exotic animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
(Image Credit: UN)