World Health Organization Informs Coronavirus Spread Is ‘Accelerating’ in Africa
June 15, 2020 (EIRNS)—Addressing the global press on Thursday, June 11, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti painted a dire picture of COVID-19 spreading to the hinterland from capital cities where it arrived with travelers, she said. “Even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3% of the global total, it’s clear that the pandemic is accelerating,” reported CGTN Africa. Dr. Moeti said WHO believes that reported contamination rates are accurate, and few cases are missed, despite admitting the desperate lack of access to testing.
EIR has previously noted the conflict between pandemic lockdowns and the daily fight of many in the poor countries in Africa, Ibero-America and Asia to have money for food. The greater reality that a large amount of Africa’s goods for daily consumption are imported, thus additionally making port cities and internal transportation routes (with much of the food transport still confined to trucks) vectors for virus transmission to interior regions. In Kenya (which has a strong border protection regime of testing), huge lines of trucks back up the highways at border crossings, as trucks are stalled if a driver tests positive. The rate of new cases in Kenya continues to increase, now at more than 150 a day. Pandemic or not, food transportation is another argument for Africa to have a strong continental rail transportation network.
Dr. Moeti told the press that ten countries are driving Africa’s epidemic, accounting for 75% of the 207,600 cases on the continent, with 5,000 deaths reported so far. She highlighted the hot zone of South Africa (actually number two in reported cases, after Egypt), where high numbers of daily cases and deaths are being reported in the port provinces of Western Cape and Eastern Cape. She observes that “the trend seems to be similar to what was happening in Europe and in the U.S.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted to Radio France International that cases were “rising fast.” As the nation has begun reopening, there are reports of hot zones centered on underground mines, which account for a third of new cases. Of additional concern to authorities is the request by mine operators to allow the resumption of importing labor from neighboring countries—these miners are so ill paid as to be effectively slave labor.
The WHO, with limited resources, is basically throwing in the towel. Said Moeti, “Until such time as we have access to an effective vaccine, I’m afraid we’ll probably have to live with a steady increase in the region, with some hot-spots having to be managed in a number of countries.”
However, China continues to fight the pandemic: The People’s Republic has mobilized to provide PPEs, and African countries have proven that, given the resources, they can effectively fight as well. China has recently committed to debt postponement for 77 of the world’s poorest countries, the majority in Africa.