The World Health Organization (WHO) has appealed to African countries to be on high alert due to a possible surge in COVID-19 during trhe Christmas festivities.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said the current trend of increased infections in the continent is worrying.

Kenya is among countries that have experienced a surge in infections since last month that topped 74,145 with 1,330 fatalities by Thursday.

“As we near the time of the year when people get on the move to spend the holidays together, there is a bigger risk of COVID-19 transmission. New clusters of cases can emerge in places that have so far been unaffected as people travel or gather for festivities,” he said on Thursday.

According to WHO, 19 countries have reported over a 20% increase in new cases in the past 28 days compared with the previous four weeks and increased reports of health workers infection and deaths.

WHO has since launched the “Mask Up, Not Down” campaign that targets over 40 million young people in Africa with positive messages on the correct use of masks through social media to combat complacency, fatigue and misunderstanding around COVID-19 prevention measures.

“In the face of COVID-19, complacency can be dangerous. At this critical moment, as Africa begins to see an uptick in cases, we need to re-energize and recommit to wearing masks. I know many are finding the public health measures cumbersome, but without action from everyone, Africa risks a new surge in COVID-19 cases,” he warned.

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