Covid-19: WHO on the spot over giving inaccurate figures on Africa

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquaters on February 28, 2020, in Geneva. - The UN health agency has warned that the pandemic is not ending anytime soon PHOTO COURTESY

The World Health Organization has been put on the spot after it gave inaccurate figures on the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa.

According to a now-deleted list issued by the body on Thursday, so far 1808 cases have been confirmed in Africa with South Africa leading at 709 confirmed cases.

However, Egypt which had recorded 465 cases at 12.00 GMT on Thursday according to statistics body worldometers was missing from the list.

The body had further indicated that Nigeria which had recorded 51 cases as at Thursday 12.00 GMT had just recorded 1 case.

Ghana which has so far recorded 68 figures had appeared twice on this list with one indicating 68 cases while the other one indicated that Ghana had recorded 27 cases.

Kenya which has so far recorded 31 cases had been listed as having recorded 25 cases, a figure that was last recorded in the country on Tuesday.

Mauritius which had recorded 52 cases as at 12.00 GMT on Thursday had been listed as having confirmed 47 cases.

Last month, the WHO Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that fighting misinformation was key to fighting the pandemic.

In an opinion published by South China Morning Post at the height of the outbreak in China on 15th February stated that fake news on the pandemic was causing ‘unnecessary panic, confusion, and division’.

“Exacerbating the outbreak is misinformation, which is spreading faster online than the coronavirus is on the ground. This “infodemic” is hindering efforts to contain the outbreak, spreading unnecessary panic and confusion, and driving division, when solidarity and collaboration are key to saving lives and ending the health crisis.” Adhanom wrote.

As of Thursday 13.00 GMT, the number of confirmed cases in Africa had surpassed the 2400 mark.

Several countries in Africa have put stringent measures in an effort to combat the virus.

On Wednesday, the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown that would begin on Thursday evening while authorities in the Democratic Republic Congo on Wednesday said that they were considering isolating the capital Kinsasha from the rest of the country.

Rwanda and Kenya have imposed curfews.

As at Thursday 13.00 GMT, 474,204 cases had been confirmed worldwide with 21,352 deaths and 114,201 recoveries.