Covid-19 cases exceed one million in Africa

A medical staff conducts Covid-19 random tests in kigali. Dan Nsengiyumva.

Africa’s Covid-19 cases Thursday surpassed a million with experts claiming that the real toll might be higher due to low testing capacity on the continent.

According to John Hopkins University, the continent reached 1,008,028 cases on August 6, with 22,063 deaths.


However, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) registered 992,710 cases.


With 529,877 cases, South Africa accounts for more than a half of the continent’s tally. This makes the country the fifth worst-hit worldwide.


Other highly affected countries in Africa in terms of positive cases include Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco and Kenya.

The Africa CDC said that these countries have reported about 80 per cent of the new cases since July 28.

On Thursday, the organization deployed a team of over 40 experts in South Africa to support the country's response to Covid-19.

Describing the respsoense as a "pivotal point,” WHO said it was concerned by the recent surge which saw the virus spreading to the remotest areas with insufficient health resources. 

WHO Africa Region said that at least 11 countries have requested additional assistance from the block.

According to Africa CDC, only ten countries, including Rwanda, account for 80 per cent of all tests being taken.

Like Rwanda, countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritius have each conducted more than 200,000 tests.

So far, nearly 9 million tests have been conducted across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

Low level of testing in several African countries reflects that the true rate of infections surpass reported numbers.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director for Afeica, in a press briefing Thursday observed threats for further infections as many African nations move to reopen borders.

“As countries open-up borders, there are challenges in detecting and managing imported cases, and sustaining the intensity of public health measures as economic activities resume,” she said.

Despite the surge of infections, Africa’s mortality rate remains moderately low as compared with other regions.

Nonetheless, some eight countries have reported Covid-19 fatality rate higher than the global average of 3.8 percent.

Those countries include Chad with about eight percent, Sudan, Niger and Liberia about six percent each, as well as Egypt, Mali, Burkina Faso and Angola about five percent each.

Recoveries have exceeded 671,000 on the African continent cumulatively.

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