WHO raises alarm on the accelerating coronavirus outbreak in Africa

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World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday has warned that the coronavirus pandemic on the continent is “accelerating”, with the virus spreading to rural areas after international travellers brought it to major cities as it took ninety-eight days for the confirmed coronavirus infections to reach the 100,000 mark in Africa. Ten countries are currently driving Africa’s epidemic, accounting for 75 percent of the roughly 207,600 cases confirmed so far, WHO reports.
In South Africa, the worst-hit country on the continent with more than 58,500 infections and some 1,200 deaths, a high number of daily cases and deaths are being reported in two provinces – the more densely populated Western Cape, where Cape Town is located, and the more sparse Eastern Cape.
“Specifically in the Western Cape where we are seeing a majority of cases and deaths, the trend seem to be similar to what was happening in Europe and in the US,” Moeti said.
Shortages of test kits remain a challenge on the continent, Moeti added, and until there is an effective vaccine, Africa is likely to see a steady increase with hotspots requiring strong public health and social distancing measures.
Reporting from Abuja, Nigeria, the third worst-hit country on the continent after South Africa and Egypt, Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris said a lagging healthcare system and fighting with armed groups in the north makes the situation particularly precarious.
“Two days ago, Nigeria recorded its highest number of infections with over 600 cases, now taking the total to more than 14,000 cases,” he said. “But it’s difficult to know exactly how many people have the virus in this country, because the testing capacity of many hospitals and health clinics is still very low.
In Dakar, Senegal, which has confirmed over 4,700 cases and 55 deaths, Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque added that fears have grown as the government moves to reopen the country as there is real concern that the worst is yet to come because the government has decided to ease restrictions allowing people to mingle with one another. Africa-News reports. 

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