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Africa ‘should prepare’ for a second Covid wave

Continental data shows cases are on the rise, says Africa CDC director

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the African continent is rising, suggesting that a second wave might be on the way, the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has warned. 

Briefing the media on 22 October, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong called on African governments to show “strong political leadership” and not allow countries to backslide on their public health measures to stop the spread of the virus. 

“We should prepare actively for a second wave on the continent,” he said. 

Examples of activities that could prevent a resurgence include the wearing of masks, scaling up diagnostics, engaging communities, avoiding mass gathering and rallies, and maintaining good hand hygiene, he said. 

The continent’s new confirmed coronavirus cases have grown by an average 4 per cent weekly over the last four weeks, Nkengasong said. The rise has been marked in Central, East, and Northern Africa, while new cases in West Africa have decreased. 

However, Nkengasong said there was “no doubt” that mass gatherings and protests like the ones seen in Nigeria recently offer an opportunity for the virus to spread more widely. As to whether this will affect Nigeria’s recent decreasing trend in cases, “the weeks to come will tell”, he said.