The coronavirus pandemic will move about 27 million Africans to extreme poverty, a regional director of the World Health Organization for Africa said on Thursday.

In a joint media briefing with the WHO and the World Economic Forum, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said 70% of people in Africa are working in the informal sector and with a slow-down in economic growth related to COVID-19, millions are likely to fall into poverty.

”The UN Economic Commission for Africa projects that up to 27 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic,” Moeti added.

The informal sector is classified as a set of economic activities, enterprises, and jobs that are unregulated or not protected by the state.

African people are struggling with little or no help from governments, as most businesses were closed down affecting employments and livelihoods.

“Coming out of this pandemic, we see many opportunities to build on the infrastructure created to respond,” Moeti said.

”We would like to see this carried on beyond the COVID-19 response,” she added.

The health official added that the WHO staff took part in a door-to-door campaign and shared information about the coronavirus pandemic with more than 33,000 people.

”Activities like this help people to understand how they can better protect themselves and others, as well as combatting misinformation,” Moeti said.

Africa has reported 108 COVID-19-related deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 4,609, according to an update by the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

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