'Very, very severe event': WHO alarmed over coronavirus attack in Africa

WION Web Team
Geneva Updated: Jul 20, 2020, 11:10 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Africa Photograph:( Reuters )

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Tedros informed that at least 70,000 cases have been reported among indigenous peoples in the Americas with over 2,000 deaths including the Peruvian Amazon.

The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that the "world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are especially at risk" due to the coronavirus epidemic.

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"Indigenous peoples often have a high burden of poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and both communicable and non-communicable diseases, making them more vulnerable to coronavirus and its severe outcomes," the WHO chief said, adding,"WHO is deeply concerned about the impact of the virus on indigenous peoples in the Americas, which remains the current epicentre of the pandemic."

Tedros informed that at least 70,000 cases have been reported among indigenous peoples in the Americas with over 2,000 deaths including the Peruvian Amazon.

Tedros said that the "so-called lockdown measures" can help to reduce transmission but cannot completely stop it. "Contact tracing is essential for finding and isolating cases" is key to fighting the virus, the WHO chief said.

"Mobile applications can support contact tracing, but nothing replaces boots on the ground – trained workers going door-to-door to find cases and contacts," Tedros added.

Meanwhile, WHO's emergencies chief Michael Ryan said that he was "very concerned" about "an acceleration of disease in Africa" pointing towards the state of the virus in South Africa

"While South Africa is experiencing a very, very severe event, I think it is really a marker of what the continent could face if urgent action is not taken to provide further support," Ryan said.

"South Africa may, unfortunately, be a precursor, it may be a warning for what will happen in the rest of Africa," he added.

Ryan pointed out that South Africa was experiencing more cases in the poor and rural areas after it first struck the wealthier areas of the country. The WHO official also pointed out that the virus had grown in Madagascar, Zambia, Kenya and Namibia.

"I think what we are starting to see is a continued acceleration of transmission in a number of countries," Ryan said, adding,"this isn't just a wake-up call for South Africa... We need to take what is happening in Africa very, very seriously."

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