'Undetected COVID-19 cases in Africa low," says WHO

'Undetected COVID-19 cases in Africa low," says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Africa says while the COVID-19 coronavirus has spread rapidly on the continent over the last few weeks, it does not believe that the number of undetected cases is large.

WHO Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti
Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile

Regional Director, Matshidiso Moeti and other officials briefed the media on Thursday in Geneva through a webinar.

"We have not seen a cluster of cases that might be suggestive of what had been previously undiagnosed infections that are now resulting in serious illness. So we sense that this is a virus that is coming into countries through travellers from places where it is circulating," said Moeti.

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"It may be that after a case has been in an airplane or a locality, there may be some people who may be infected who may not be detected. We have systems in place where countries are working hard to identify the contacts of a case that has come in and to follow them up and see if they develop into cases. So although there may be some undetected infections we do not think these are large in numbers," added Moeti.

She confirmed that the WHO is currently studying whether the influenza season and the hot temperatures in the continent have contributed to the slow rate of infection since December 2019.

"We don't have this information for this particular virus because it is a new virus which has largely been spreading in the north and we need to anticipate how it might behave in an African setting."

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