WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says, "The increasing deaths from COVID-19 we are seeing are tragic, but are also disturbing warning signs that health workers and health systems in Africa are dangerously overstretched".
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe called the World Health Organization's dismissal of the belief that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, as "really disingenuous".
Chinese officials have suggested the virus originated in a wet market in Wuhan where wild animal meat is sold, but have also blamed the US military and said it originated in another country.
The WHO's conclusion "completely refutes the conspiracy theory raised by some anti-China hawks, like former USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who has been accusing the Wuhan Institute of Virology of leaking the virus", the Global Times wrote.
"Some questions have been raised as to whether some hypotheses have been discarded", Dr Tedros said.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that all hypotheses "remain open and require further analysis and studies".
Chinese scientists and the WHO's team of worldwide researchers said this week that the coronavirus most likely first appeared in humans after jumping from an animal, and an alternate theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab was unlikely.
Peter Ben Embarek, who led the team of independent experts in its almost month-long visit to Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged at a seafood market in late 2019, said the team's work had uncovered new information but had not dramatically changed their picture of the outbreak.
The head of the World Health Organisation said Friday (NZT Saturday) that the drop in confirmed Covid-19 infections around the world was encouraging, but cautioned against relaxing restrictions that have helped curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In the last 28 days, World Health Organization said, over 22,300 deaths were reported in Africa in the last 28 days, compared with almost 16,000 deaths in the previous 28 days.
"These declines appear to be due to countries implementing public health measures more stringently", Tedros said.
Preliminary reports which WHO has received from 21 countries show that 66 percent reported inadequate critical care capacity, 24 per cent reported burnout among health workers and 15 countries reported that oxygen production, crucial for severely ill Covid-19 patients, remains insufficient. "Part of the challenge is that patients with long Covid can have a range of different symptoms that can be persistent or can come and go".
"Given the scale of the pandemic, we expect many people to be affected by post Covid-19 condition", said Tedros.
Covid-19 induced deaths in Africa increased by 40 percent in the last month, pushing Africa's death toll from the pandemic towards 100,000, about one year since the first reported case was on the continent on February 14, 2020.