Coronavirus could kill up to 190,000 people in Africa in the first year if control measures fail to work, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The numbers would overwhelm the available medical capacity in much of the continent, the organisation warns citing a new study.

WHO Africa Director Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti said transmission of the virus in the continent has been slower but could result to a longer outbreak.

“While coronavirus likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission hotspots,” Dr Moeti said.

The agency proposed a strengthening of the health care systems in the continent.

“Covid-19 could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region. We need to test, trace, isolate and treat,” Dr Moeti said.