Africa CDC head appeals to avoid mass gatherings

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has appealed to African nations to avoid mass gatherings to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

“Do not have mass gatherings,” said John Nkengasong while addressing a weekly press briefing on the continent's response to COVID-19. “We cannot be complacent.”

He said all political and religious gatherings, and parties should be banned for the time being as they “give the opportunity for the virus to spread.”

The number of coronavirus cases in Africa has risen to over 4.512 million – 3.1% of the total global infections, including 4 million recoveries and 121,000 related deaths.

As of April 26, approximately 17.9 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered. Countries that have administered the most jabs are Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya.

About the situation in India, where the entire healthcare system has been overwhelmed – shortage of medical oxygen, hospital beds and life-saving drugs – due to record infections and deaths, the Africa CDC director said: "We are watching with total disbelief … the situation is very concerning, and we as a continent must be prepared."

He said the Africa CDC has convened with African Union an emergency meeting next week to put everybody on alert and come up with a collective action plan. "We should not and cannot let our guards down."