America and Europe could be hit by FOUR waves of coronavirus if the virus is allowed to ravage Africa, expert warns
- Global expert warns the US and Europe could be hit by up to 4 waves of Covid-19
- Professor Gostin predicted virus will hit sub-Saharan Africa ‘like an avalanche’
- ‘We’re truly only as safe as the weakest link in the global chain,’ he said
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
America and Europe could be hit by up to four waves of coronavirus if it is allowed to ravage Africa, a WHO expert has warned.
Director of the World Health Organisations’s Center on Public Health and Human Rights, Professor Lawrence Gostin warned that if Covid-19 gets ‘out of control’ in African countries, Europe and the US could see second, third and even fourth waves of the illness.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Professor Gostin said: ‘Covid-19 is about to march through sub-Saharan Africa and perhaps the Indian subcontinent like an avalanche.
Director of the World Health Organisations’s Center on Public Health and Human Rights, Professor Lawrence Gostin warned that if Covid-19 gets ‘out of control’ in African countries, Europe and the US could see second, third and even fourth waves of the illness
Young homeless men who once were street children or Talibe get their temperatures measured in a quarantined area at a refuge for newly arrived street children outside Dakar
‘Even if the United States and Europe were to get their Covid epidemics under control, if you’ve got Covid rages in other parts of the world, in this interconnected society we live in, it will come back to Europe and the United States.
‘And in fact I could predict that if it gets out of control in these lower income countries that we will see in the US and Europe a second, and a third wave, and even a fourth wave of Covid.
‘So we’re truly only as safe as the weakest link in the global chain.’
Commenting on Donald Trump’s decision to freeze funding to the WHO, the professor predicted the move could have a ‘devastating impact globally’.
Technicians from the Angolan Ministry of Health screen passengers arriving from Lisbon for possible coronavirus infection, at the Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport in Luanda
‘It’s deeply concerning and dismaying that in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, with tens of thousands of people dying across the world, to actually withdraw funding, or at least limit funding, to the World Health Organisation,’ he said.
Trump made the drastic decision to suspend funding to the WHO while an investigation into its handling of the pandemic is carried out.
Trump singled out what he called the WHO’s ‘dangerous and costly decision’ to argue against international travel bans to combat the pandemic.
Trump made the drastic decision to suspend funding to the WHO while an investigation into its handling of the pandemic is carried out
While praising his own decision to limit travel to and from China on January 31 – a month after the first cases of the disease were reported – Trump added: ‘Other nations and regions who followed WHO guidelines and kept their borders open to China, accelerated the pandemic all around the world.
‘The decision of other major countries to keep travel open was one of the great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days. The WHO’s attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above lifesaving measures.’
The US is the largest single contributor to the WHO, paying in some $893million between 2018 and 2019 which made up around 15 per cent of the agency’s total budget during that period.
Coronavirus cases in Africa
Health workers screen people visiting a public hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe
Virus cases among Africa’s 1.3 billion people total more than 16,000, with 876 recorded deaths.
Health experts say the continent is weeks behind the US and Europe in the pandemic and the rise in cases looks alarmingly similar to Europe’s.
As the world braces for potential waves of the virus, a joint appeal by European and African leaders says no region will be safe if Africa, with largely weak health systems, is left to fend for itself.
Almost 20 European and African leaders have called for a massive international effort to boost Africa’s coronavirus response, calling on the World Bank and IMF to help provide the continent the resources it needs to fight the virus.
The IMF on Monday approved $500 million to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries, including 19 African ones, so they can help tackle the pandemic.
Such calls for assistance have been growing at the highest levels. In his Easter message, Pope Francis called for debt forgiveness for the world’s poorest countries, saying they are being hardest hit by the pandemic and must not be ‘abandoned.’
African countries with coronavirus cases include:
Algeria – 2,070
Angola – 19
Benin – 35
Botswana – 13
Burkina Faso – 528
Burundi – 5
Cameroon – 848
Cape Verde – 11
Central African Republic – 11
Chad – 23
Comoros – 0
Congo-Brazzaville – 74
DR Congo – 241
Djibouti – 363
Egypt – 2,350
Equatorial Guinea – 41
Eritrea – 35
Eswatini – 15
Ethiopia – 82
Gabon – 57
(The) Gambia – 9
Ghana – 636
Guinea – 363
Guinea-Bissau – 43
Ivory Coast – 638
Kenya – 216
Lesotho – 0
Liberia – 59
Libya – 35
Madagascar – 108
Malawi – 16
Mali – 144
Mauritania – 7
Mauritius – 324
Morocco – 1,888
Mozambique – 28
Namibia – 16
Niger – 570
Rwanda – 134
Sao Tome and Principe – 4
Senegal – 299
Seychelles – 11
Sierra Leone – 11
Somalia – 60
South Africa – 2,415
South Sudan – 4
Sudan – 32
Tanzania – 53
Togo – 77
Tunisia – 747
Uganda – 55
Zambia – 45
Zimbabwe – 18
Source: Africa News