Africa coronavirus cases to rise as some undetected

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Africa will likely see higher numbers of coronavirus cases in coming weeks because of the likelihood some are slipping through the net, the head of a regional disease control body said on Thursday.

The virus has multiplied in Africa more slowly than Asia or Europe, but 34 nations on the continent have now reported a total of more than 600 cases. Worldwide, it has infected nearly 220,00 people and killed nearly 9,000.

“We are picking some people but we are also missing some people,” said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is a branch of the African Union bloc.

“The situation will get worse before it gets better because the chances are clear that people have slipped through.”

Many countries worldwide have suspended flights, closed borders and banned public gatherings to curb its spread.

Nkengasong said the number of confirmed cases in Africa was expected to rise in coming days and such travel bans would delay but ultimately fail to contain the virus.

“Anyone who has followed pandemics over the years, you know that doesn’t work,” he told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital. “When you lock down countries, you should understand clearly how to unlock the country.”

It was very likely, he said, that “people are coming in and they are slipping through and we are not picking them.”

Read more via Reuters

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