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WHO and UN’s predictions on Africa as next epicenter of Covid-19; A wake-up call for African leaders

African-Coronavirus monitor

… I stand to debunk and confute these predictions

Story by Omenihu Alfred

A popular Igbo adage said “Onye ihe akara ake mere, ihe ojoo mere ya”. In simple language, it means that anyone who allows evil predictions to come to pass, is indeed cursed. The words of Germany Kent comes handy at this time for African leaders. She said, “Positive thinking is powerful thinking and if you want happiness, fulfillment, success and inner peace, start thinking you have the power to achieve those things. Focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results. No matter how dysfunctional your background, how broke or broken you are, where you are today, or what anyone else says do not matter, rather what matters is your life and your approach to it”. Again, it is said that no one else knows exactly what the future holds for you, hence spontaneity is a meticulously prepared art and our lives hold a veil between anticipation and horror. Anticipation is the carrot suspended before the jackass to keep us moving forward while horror is what we would see if we took our eyes off the carrot.

African-Coronavirus monitor

World Health Organization and UN’s prediction on Africa has gotten almost the same reaction as “GOD FORBID!” across board. According to the prediction on the 15th of April 2020, WHO said that Africa could become the next epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak and UN officials also say it is likely the pandemic will kill at least 300,000 people in Africa and push nearly 30 million into poverty. As if that is not enough, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) came up with another aching statistics that Africa could see between 300,000 and 3.3 million deaths due to coronavirus.

The provisional projections from the WHO suggest that more than 10 million people could be infected in the next 3-6 months, but that figure doesn’t take into account public health measures that are being put in place. It equally said that there are only around five intensive care beds available for every one million people in most African countries, compared with around 4,000 beds for every million people in Europe. It warned that if the continent does not implement measures to prevent the spread of the virus then total infections could spiral out of control and reach 1.2 billion. But if intense social distancing measures are implemented, the number of total infections could drop to 122 million by the end of the pandemic. Separate study claims that up to 98.4million Africans could be infected by June. The UN projections are based on a host of pre-exiting research, including statistics and modelling from Imperial College London. A separate study from a team of international researchers has found that more than 16million Africans will likely be infected by the end of June. Their own mathematical model predicts more than 20,000 people on the continent will lose their lives to COVID-19 during the next 10 weeks alone. Who is talking about 122 million? I think it is such an outrageous number of deaths to settle for in prediction of this nature. Come to think of it, how could anyone predict 1.2 billion infections in a continent of 1.3billion population? For me it’s too extreme and suspicious. May God rebuke this mystic enemy.

We are aware that the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Africa was reported in Egypt on February 14 and past week in Africa has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. There have been almost 1,000 deaths and almost 19,000 infections across Africa as of 17th two days after these predictions. Algeria has the most COVID-19 related deaths in Africa with 348, with Egypt, Morocco and South Africa the next hardest hit countries. The UN Economic Commission for Africa called for a $100bn (£80bn) safety net for the continent, including halting external debt payments while highlighting that the continent lacks ventilators to deal with a pandemic. Going forward UN stated that more than a third of Africa’s population lacks access to adequate water supplies and nearly 60% of urban dwellers live in overcrowded slums – conditions where the virus could thrive.
Furthermore, confirmed coronavirus cases update in Africa as at 20th of April five days after this prediction stood at 22,579, recovered: 5,672 while confirmed coronavirus deaths is 1,128. Breaking it down we have Algeria – 2629, Angola 24, Benin Rep 54, Bostwana- 20, Burkina Faso – 578, Burundi – 6, Cameroon – 1017, Cabo Verde – 67, Central African Republic – 12, Chad 33, Comoros – 0, Congo Republic – 160, Congo, Democratic Rep 332, Cote D’Ivoire 847, Djibouti 846, Egypt 3144, Equatorial Guinea 79, Eritrea 39, Eswatini 24, Ethiopia 111, Gabon 109, Gambia 10, Ghana 1042, Guinea 622, Guinea –Bissau 50, Kenya – 281, Lesotho 0, Liberia 99, Libya 51, Madagascar 121, Malawi 17, Mali 224, Mauritania – 7, Mauritius 328, Morocco 2990, Mozambique 39, Namibia 16, Niger 648, Nigeria 627, Rwanda 147, Sao Tome and Principe 4, Senegal 377, Seychelles 11, Sierra Leone 43, Somalia 164, South Africa 3158, South Sudan 4, Tanzania 170, Togo 84, Tunisia 879, Uganda 55, Zambia 65, Zimbabwe 25. With this statistics broken down here, you can agree with me that there is no justification for WHO and UN’s extreme predictions or else someone wishes to import the virus into Africa. Anything is possible, hence African leaders must be very vigilant. Saying that since the virus is in within Africa, your organization is acting under the assumption that it will spread just as quickly as elsewhere is a wrong assumption, I must tell you because the pace of Africa has always been different.

In another development, if you look at the proportion of people who travel, Africa has fewer people who travel internationally. You can agree with me that, Europe, British, and Asian Embassies, visas and immigration officers invoke nightmarish feelings in many people especially in Africa. One cannot fail to notice the hallmarks of post-colonial performances of power at the gates of embassies in the major cities of African countries. There is always that feeling of lowliness created in visa applicants by the performances of authority at embassies. There you will find military, police and sundry security companies wielding high-caliber weapons. It’s not unusual to witness instances of humiliation. Sometimes they shout instructions at visa applicants. Sometimes they throw documents back at them as Fela Ransome Kuti of the blessed memory would say, “demonstration of craze”. Mostly, the wisdom of this endurance is the thought that there is an end in sight. Once you are handed your visa, its magical powers will at once restore your humanity. But before that is done, those believers in the proverbial greener pasture on the other side, have to undergo the noisome purification process of psychological terrorism. This point is a plus against this pandemic, hence proofing that there is no justification for that bogus prediction by the duo of UN and WHO.

It is true to say that since the first case was reported in Africa in Egypt on Feb., 14th, most of those infected have been concentrated in urban areas where health facilities and access to care is in close proximity. This cannot be said of rural areas where treatment facilities are scarce or non-existent. The fragile health infrastructure in the continent means that it will be doubly strained by an increasing number of new Covid-19 infections. But another truth is that there is massive awareness in hinterlands of Africa for instance in Nigeria where all the states has ready to fire isolation centers in conjunction with the Federal government support. So there is no how it will get to the horror predictions under discussion.

In the light of positive anticipation I applaud, WHO for observing through Dr Moeti that WHO was focusing on prevention rather than treating the virus, because many African countries don’t have the capacity to treat many coronavirus patients than the massive Imagination that the Virus will crush the continent and have far more devastating consequences than we’ve seen in Europe and the US. In the same vein, it is most appreciated that UN Food Programme started distributing badly needed equipment around the Africa from a new hub in Ethiopia’s Bole airport. The cargo included one million face masks, personal protective equipment, and ventilators. And the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that it will roll out one million coronavirus testing kits to meet the continent’s “big gap”.