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Prepare for second wave of COVID-19, WAHO tells ECOWAS

By Oludare Richards, Abuja
13 November 2020   |   4:14 am
The West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) has urged members of the ECOWAS Parliament and regional leaders to brace up for a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as confirmed fresh cases of the disease hit 195,073 in the region.

Confirmed cases hit 195, 073
The West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) has urged members of the ECOWAS Parliament and regional leaders to brace up for a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as confirmed fresh cases of the disease hit 195,073 in the region.

Director General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, gave the advice on Wednesday while making his presentation during the technical session of the ongoing Delocalized Meeting of ECOWAS on Agricultural Production, Food Security and the Fight against COVID-19, which commenced in Guinea Bissau on Tuesday.

The meeting was organized by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Industry and Private Sector, Health, Energy, Mines and Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment.

Okolo said the leaders should relax even if the region appears to be stabilizing, warning that West Africa lacks vaccines and capacity to contain a second wave of the virus.

“We appear to be stabilising but let me put a note of caution, as Europe is having a second phase, it may be that we are going to have a second phase. So, we should remain vigilant in West Africa. We don’t know whether we will have a second wave in Africa but the possibility remains, we don’t have vaccines at the moment and even when the vaccines come, we are anxious and concerned about how much we will get in Africa.

“We don’t have the capacity to produce vaccines, we don’t have enough money to get enough of the drugs to cover our population and we are down the queue in terms of the vaccines that are being produced in the developed world,” Okolo said.

He charged the region’s leaders to emphasise the use of masks, observation of social distances, washing of hands and personal hygiene to prevent people from having COVID- 19.

Okolo disclosed that by midnight on Tuesday, the sub region had recorded 195,073 confirmed cases and that about 2,801 citizens of West Africa have died from COVID-19.

“We do have, at the moment, just under 9,000 active cases across our region and what you can see is that this has been ranked in the order of the countries that have had the highest number of cases. Globally, we have had over 51, 456,000 and Africa has had about 3.6 per cent of the global incidences,” he said.