The coronavirus pandemic has been confirmed in over 180 countries globally since it was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic due to its spread. All except three African countries have recorded cases as governments roll out measures to combat the spread.
Some African countries could experience a spike in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, a top official of the World Health Organization, WHO, Africa region has noted.
According to Michel Yao, the WHO Africa programme manager for emergency response, countries should thus boost their testing and medical response capacities.
“During the last four days we can see that the numbers have already doubled,” he told a media teleconference on Thursday.
“If the trend continues, and also learning from what happened in China and in Europe, some countries may face a huge peak very soon,” he said, he however did not specify which countries could be on the radar.
Compared to continental tallies, Africa’s coronavirus figures as of April 9 are relatively lower even though the WHO has stressed that it could be as a result of undetected or underreported cases. Africa is inching towards the 12,000 confirmed cases mark with 578 deaths and 1,428 recoveries according to the John Hopkins university tracking system (valid as at 16:00 GMT).
The WHO’s Africa head, Matshidiso Moeti, reiterated that there is an “urgent need” to expand testing capacity beyond capital cities in Africa, as the virus spreads through countries.
“Without help and action now, poor countries and vulnerable communities could suffer massive devastation,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva. “The infection numbers in Africa are relatively small now, but they are growing fast,” he said.
Meanwhile over in the Chinese business city of Guangzhou, have been left stranded for a second night after they were ejected by owners of hotels and apartment blocks.
The BBC reporter in Hong Kong, Danny Vincent reported the mass evictions on Tuesday confirming that two days on, the situation had yet to be resolved.
Online rumours that the coronavirus was spreading among the thousands of Africans in the city led to door-to-door testing, evictions and accusations of forced quarantine. “We have no house, no food, no hotel,” one student from Nigeria told the BBC.
“There are up to 100 people still on the streets. People want to go back to our countries. I don’t know what the problem is with China. Everywhere that Africans live they are pushing us away.”
Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.
In an open letter penned by the All African Association of Guangzhou, community leaders called on the authorities to end the “the inhuman treatment, hatred, and outright discrimination of Africans that is currently going on in Guangzhou”.
“About 10 African community leaders in Guangzhou are technically under house arrest using the term quarantine. These actions are difficult to comprehend when you consider the fact that these are people whose official test results came back negative just one or two days ago.”