The World Health Organization on Thursday warned Africa against easing coronavirus restrictions as the number of infections on the continent has doubled in the past month.
“We are concerned that … we will see an increase in cases as we have seen in [other] countries, where restrictions have been eased too soon,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said at a virtual news conference.
She said more than 20 African countries have recorded more new cases than in the previous weeks, with South Africa accounting for the most but increases also reported in Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Moeti said Uganda, Seychelles and Mauritius are doing well in controlling the virus.
The WHO said there have been nearly 890,000 reported coronavirus cases in Africa and 18,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a new warning to young people across the world to not consider themselves invulnerable to contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“Although older people are at a higher risk of severe disease, younger people are at risk, too,” he said. “One of the challenges we face is convincing younger people of this risk.
“Evidence suggests that spikes of cases in some countries are being driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the Northern Hemisphere summer,” Tedros said.
“We have said it before and we’ll say it again: Young people are not invincible,” he said.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide topped the 17 million mark, with nearly 670,000 deaths. The rising number of COVID-19 cases has researchers racing to develop and test a vaccine to blunt the spread of the virus.