The World Health Organization is urging caution over the increasing number of African countries rolling back Covid-19 surveillance and quarantine measures.
The WHO says this is especially worrisome in a continent that still has the lowest rates of vaccination in the world.
“It is a matter of concern that nearly half of all countries in Africa have stopped tracing the contacts of cases,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
About 201 million people or 15% of Africa’s population are fully vaccinated compared with the global average of 57%, according to WHO.
“For more than two years, the pandemic has maintained a painful stranglehold on our lives, and the imperative for countries to revive economies and livelihoods is understandable. However, the pandemic isn’t over yet and the preventive measures should be eased cautiously with health authorities weighing the risks against the anticipated benefits. Lifting the public health measures does not mean lifting the foot off the pedal of pandemic vigilance,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Dr. Moeti was joined by Dr Norbert Ndjeka, Chief Director for Tuberculosis Control and Management, South Africa, and Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
It said that because of the pressure to open up the economy, countries were cutting back on surveillance and other measures.
The WHO’s caution comes amid a recent spike in Covid cases in other parts of the world.
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