Africa's first COVID-19 case was reported in Egypt in February and the novel coronavirus has spread since then. However the number of cases has grown "exponentially" in recent weeks, according to WHO officials, Africa News reported.
"COVID-19 has the potential not only to cause thousands of deaths, but to also unleash economic and social devastation. Its spread beyond major cities means the opening of a new front in our fight against this virus," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director for Africa, said in a written statement.
"This requires a decentralised response, which is tailored to the local context," Moeti stated, adding, "Communities need to be empowered, and provincial and district levels of government need to ensure they have the resources and expertise to respond to outbreaks locally."
The statement noted that WHO has been working with governments across Africa to "scale up" their response capacities when it comes to coordination, surveillance, testing, isolation, case management, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world has exceeded one million, with the pandemic rampaging most quickly in the United States and the death toll continuing to rise in the US, Italy, Spain, France, the UK and Germany.
Globally, the death toll from coronavirus passed a grim benchmark, topping 83,000, on Wednesday, with more than 1,434,000 people infected worldwide, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.