The novel coronavirus could kill between 83,000 and 190,000 people in Africa in the first year and infect between 29 million and 44 million in the first year if containment measures fail, the WHO has warned.
The projections are contained in a new WHO Africa study based on assumptions that containment measures are not put in place or fail, WHO Africa head Matshidiso Moeti told reporters in a teleconference.
Most countries on the continent have imposed restrictions on public gatherings, international travel and curfews among other measures meant to curb the spread of the virus.The virus hit Africa later than other continents and transmission rates are lower than elsewhere.
“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,” Dr Moeti said in a statement. “Curbing a largescale outbreak is far costlier than the ongoing preventive measures governments are undertaking to contain the spread of the virus.”