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WHO Chief Warns of Malaria Spike in Africa 

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, March 9, 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief warned Wednesday that border closures and trade disruptions due to COVID-19 precautions could cause malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa to double.

At his regular briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters a new modeling analysis published last week estimates potential COVID-19 related disruptions to deliveries of malaria services such as vaccines and other treatments in 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the worst-case scenario, he said, the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could double.

Tedros said 21 countries worldwide are reporting shortages of vaccines for other diseases as well, including measles, polio, cholera, yellow fever and meningitis.

He said approximately 13 million people have been affected globally by delays in regular immunizations.

Tedros also re-emphasized that the WHO is concerned about trends of increasing infections in Africa, as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries.