WHO worries over new COVID-19 strains found in Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, 2 others
A World Health Organization official has warned that the new COVID-19 strains found in Nigeria and several African countries could undermine efforts to contain the pandemic.
The new COVID-19 strains found in Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Gambia and Zambia are creating worries on WHO.
The WHO official Matshidiso Moeti, who is regional director for Africa said that robust mitigation measures are required to avert pressure on the continent’s public health systems amid the spread of new strains of the virus.
“Even if the new variant is not more virulent, a virus that can spread more easily will put further strain on hospitals and health workers who are in many cases already overstretched,” Moeti said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
She said enhanced vigilance is key to preventing coronavirus spread in Africa in light of new mutations and upticks associated with easing containment measures.
The continent’s reported COVID-19 caseload reached 3.14 million on Wednesday, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while overall fatalities stood at 75,909.
Moeti said that since late December 2020, the continent has recorded an average of 25,000 new cases daily and could experience an increase in the coming days due to intensive travel and family reunions experienced during the festive season.
She said that sequencing the genetic make-up of the five strains of COVID-19 is important for patients to gain insight into their severity.
“We call on all countries to increase testing and sequencing of the virus to swiftly spot, track and tackle new COVID-19 variants as soon as they appear,” said Moeti.