‘Mass gatherings remain a breeding ground for COVID-19’


Despite the general decline in infection and morbidity rates of coronavirus, some countries are still reporting new cases and deaths.

The relaxation of social distancing measures and non-compliance with health guide lines across various countries have been blamed for this resurgence.

World Health Organization(WHO) on Tuesday, confirmed 46,591,622 cases of COVID-19, including 1,201,200 deaths.

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are among African countries, witnessing new incidences of the disease in recent times.

WHO Africa Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, revealed this while responding to questions during a webinar by select African journalists and doctors on Thursday.

Speaking on the impact of the protests, riots and looting in the last couple of weeks had on the battle against COVID-19 in Nigeria, Dr. Moeti said mass gatherings remained a breeding ground for COVID-19

She said, ‘I think it is always a concern when you have mass gatherings under conditions where people are not taking the precautions and certainly under these conditions where people are rioting, demonstrating and looting.’

‘As I said, we were concerned not just by the situation in Nigeria, which is very sad by the way. We know that in the process, the WHO office in one part of Nigeria, was actually looted and so were some stores of PPEs. It is a very sad situation,’ she stressed.

‘Clearly, people are not taking precautions and the risks are there,’ she noted, citing the increasing gatherings in religious and social settings across the region. The virtual press conference was facilitated by APO Group.

According to her, a study by the World Bank group reports that African countries, at around 0.01per capita, invest far less in innovation than developed countries and the continent is not living up to its potential.

‘The pandemic has put a fresh impetus on the need to invest in innovation and to put the right policies and strategic frameworks in place to unleash African ingenuity on the world,’ she added.

‘We know that investing in innovation yields huge dividends. With COVID-19 and other health threats part of our daily life, there’s no time to waste in creating the right environment for African innovators to flourish.’

She was joined by Hon Ibrahima Guimba Saidou, Minister–Special Advisor to the President, and CEO of the National Agency of Information Society, Niger; Dr Ola Brown, Founder, Flying Doctors Investment Company, Nigeria; and Dr Integrity Mchechesi, Junior Resident Medical Officer, Parirenyatwa Central hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe.

A breakdown of global cases of COVID-19, posted by WHO, shows that Americas had the highest number with 20,733,940 cases, followed by Europe at 11,296,165 and South-East Asia with 9,352,375.

Eastern Mediterranean recorded 3,136,986, followed by Africa 1,328,278 and Western Pacific at 743,137.

This is as, 161 Indonesian doctors, including nine dentists have reportedly died of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) announced this on Tuesday according Xinhua agency.

‘They died after being infected by the COVID-19,’ the IDI’s Mitigation Team leader Adib Khumaidi said. The highest death toll came from East Java with 33, followed by Jakarta 24, North Sumatra 23, West Java 12, and Central Java 10.

Indonesia reported 2,973 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections to 418,375, data from the country’s health ministry showed.

It also reported 102 additional deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 14,146.

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