South America a new COVID epicenter, Africa reaches 100,000 cases, WHO says

Gravediggers sporting protecting fits put together to bury the coffin of a one who died from the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) throughout a ceremony with no kinfolk, at Vila Formosa cemetery, Brazil’s largest cemetery, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

GENEVA (Reuters) – South America has turn out to be a new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with Brazil hardest-hit, whereas circumstances are rising in some African international locations that to this point have a comparatively low loss of life toll, the World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned on Friday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic today reached a milestone in Africa, with more than 100,000 confirmed cases. The virus has now spread to every country in the continent since the first case was confirmed in the region 14 weeks ago,” the WHO mentioned in a assertion, noting there have been three,100 confirmed deaths on the huge continent.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, who’s from Botswana, mentioned: “For now COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world.”

Even so, she mentioned, “We must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases.”

About half of African international locations are experiencing neighborhood transmission of the virus, the WHO mentioned.

The scenario in South America appeared graver. Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s prime emergencies knowledgeable, talking earlier to a information convention, mentioned: “In a sense South America has become a new epicenter for the disease.”

Brazil is the “most affected,” and authorities there have permitted broad use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for remedy of COVID-19, he mentioned. He reiterated that medical proof doesn’t help the drug’s widespread use towards the illness, given its dangers.

Nine African international locations had 50% rises in circumstances up to now week, whereas others have seen a decline or have secure charges, Ryan mentioned.

The low mortality price could also be as a result of half the continent’s inhabitants is 18 or youthful, he mentioned, whereas saying he stays nervous the illness will unfold on a continent with “significant gaps” in intensive care companies, medical oxygen and air flow.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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