Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)

WHO fears a spike in Covid-19 during Ramadaan in North Africa, Eastern Mediterranean

By Keagan Le Grange Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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On Wednesday, The World Health Organization (WHO) raised their concerns on the Covid-19 pandemic infection rate during the fasting month of Ramadaan. They WHO warned that we may see a spike in infections with North Africa, with the Middle East seeming most vulnerable.

Cairo-based chief of the WHO for the Eastern Mediterranean Ahmed al-Mandhari said at a news conference: “We are especially worried that the current situation may worsen during Ramadaan if people don’t follow and adhere to the proven social measures that work.”

WHO’s regional head of emergency preparedness Dalia Samhouri said the WHO wants “countries to do a risk assessment, in order to prevent the dissemination of the infection”.

Samhouri suggests precautionary measures should be taken and maintained in mosques during Ramaadan, such as safe physical distancing, ventilation, and frequent disinfection.

There had been fears that the Easter weekend may have triggered the third wave in South Africa, however, Covid-19 infections remain stable after the religious holidays.

Health economist Professor Alex van den Heever said: “The issue is to prevent these super-spreading periods from driving another wave, and I think that’s where the caution is going to lie. But there’s no sign of a third wave at this point, and it is entirely driven by human behaviour.”

On Friday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the Department of Health does not know when the third Covid-19 wave could hit South Africa – but he shared his concerns, as it remains a big risk.

Speaking about a third wave, Mkhize said: “It’s important for us to always be aware that we don’t yet have concrete information as to whether, or when, a third wave is likely to happen in South Africa. But we will we will work to determine this information.”

Current restrictions on religious gatherings may remain in place throughout the current religious events, if not tightened, depending on the unpredictable Covid-19 infection rate in the country.

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