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Virus really spreading in Africa now. SA government striking good balance - WHO

16 March 2020 9:29 AM
Tags:
WHO
Africa
World Health Organisation
Refilwe Moloto
Coronavirus
COVID-19
Coronavirus in South Africa
Matshidiso Moeti

Africa is the last continent to be hit by Covid-19. Now, however, the numbers are rising rapidly, says the WHO's Matshidiso Moeti.

Africa has been fortunate so far.

But our breathing room has run out.

President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on 5 March 2020 to address the media about the first case of the coronavirus in South Africa. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

The Continent has weak healthcare systems and its population is ravaged by HIV and tuberculosis (TB).

Many of its cities have vast, densely populated slums that make social distancing near impossible.

Refilwe Moloto interviewed the World Health Organisation's Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who is in Brazzaville.

Moeti spoke about how the WHO in Africa is dealing with coronavirus Covid-19.

The Congo reported its first case yesterday. It’s one of 11 new African countries that have reported cases in the last three days. The virus is spreading really spreading in Africa now as opposed to a couple of weeks ago.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa - World Health Organisation

Countries like South Korea and China that have taken strong measures have managed to control this outbreak. We are learning… Limiting contact between people when you have local transmission is a good thing to do… We only have five countries in Africa where local spreading is happening, including South Africa…

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa - World Health Organisation

The South African government is striking a good balance… Gatherings of people… increase the chances of infections spreading. But we must have a balance… I think 100 [maximum number of people allowed to gather in South Africa] is a reasonable number…

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa - World Health Organisation

One of the things people can do consistently is to practice basic hygiene... Wash your hand frequently and properly… In African settings, people congregate a lot in churches and other buildings… Minimize those kinds of services… Keeping in touch with where people are going is important…

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa - World Health Organisation

Closing schools to control the outbreak – that is science! We need to look at other gatherings too, especially religious gatherings, it’s very strongly practised in Africa. We need to work with the churches…

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa - World Health Organisation

Greeting, hugging, kissing – no! Even elbow bumps require you to come close to somebody… Smile and bow instead… it’s a good thing to do. Do it consistently.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa - World Health Organisation

For more detail, listen to the interview in the audio below.


16 March 2020 9:29 AM
Tags:
WHO
Africa
World Health Organisation
Refilwe Moloto
Coronavirus
COVID-19
Coronavirus in South Africa
Matshidiso Moeti

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