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Elections without distance rules pose a risk, Africa CDC warns

The director of Africa CDC argued this Thursday that holding elections in conditions that promote the circulation of the virus represents an increased risk of the spread of covid-19, which will then be "extremely difficult" for countries to contain.


"Bringing people together without respecting distance and allowing them to interact will facilitate the transmission of the virus. That is clear," said John Nkengasong, when asked about the risks of holding elections in the current pandemic context.

The director of the African Union Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) spoke this Thursday from Addis Ababa during the weekly press conference to take stock of pandemic developments on the African continent.

Faced with the decision by some African countries, such as Burundi, to hold elections while others chose to postpone, John Nkengasong felt that there must always be a 'balance' between the threat posed by the virus to national security and the importance of holding the vote.

"The elections must be adapted, setting space limits and avoiding concentrations. If you can't ensure that, if people can't vote 'online' or if you can't guarantee a great deal of physical distance, you will increase the risk and you can expect significant increases in cases after the election," he said.

"We have seen that in countries that have held elections, which have allowed people to get together at political events, cases have increased," he added, stressing that after the elections it can become "extremely difficult" for countries to contain the spread of the virus.

He also called on CDC countries to share data at a time when several member states have not updated the number of cases for several days and others, such as Tanzania, have suspended the release of information on the evolution of the disease.

"Without accurate data from all states, it is difficult to combat the pandemic. No country is an island and the virus has no passport. Not sharing the data and the information only creates insecurity," he said.

Africa has registered 20,400 new cases of covid-19 in the past week, bringing the total number of infections on the continent to 72,336, where 2,475 people died in 54 countries, according to data released this Thursday.

The number of patients given as recovered is 25,268.


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