While South Africa and the rest of the world work to recover from the Covid-19 global epidemic, a new crisis has emerged in Europe in the shape of monkeypox, leaving many in Africa fearful.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the monkeypox outbreak has infected more than 100 people in about 15 countries including Britain, Portugal, Spain and the US.

With the addition of the monkeypox virus and several other disease outbreaks, such as acute hepatitis in children and Ebola, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world was not over the pandemic, which has claimed six million lives, during his address to the UN’s World Health Assembly in Geneva on Sunday. 

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa reported that there were no cases of monkeypox in the country, but that milder cases could go unnoticed, posing a danger of person-to-person transmission. “The consequences for South Africa are that the potential of monkeypox importation is a reality,” says NICD executive director Professor Adrian Puren. “Lessons learned from Covid-19 have demonstrated that outbreaks in another region of the world can quickly become a global issue.”