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Coronavirus cases breach 1 million in Africa

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The continent reached the grim figure on Thursday as the virus continues to spread unabated across the continent.

File image. Picture: Hyoung Chang The Denver Post via AP

AFRICA now has over one million people infected with the coronavirus.

The continent reached the grim figure on Thursday as the virus continues to spread unabated across the continent.

South Africa remains the epicentre of the outbreak, accounting for over 50% of infections in Africa.

According to the data, South Africa has 538 184 cases, Egypt has 95 006, Nigeria 45 244, Ghana 39 642 and Algeria 33 626.

Recoveries on the continent currently stand at 693 620, while 22 114 people have died since the start of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa said in a statement on Thursday that it is increasing support to 11 countries that have requested additional assistance in the fight against the pandemic.

According to WHO Africa, the first members of a surge (rapid response) team of WHO health experts have already arrived in South Africa to bolster the country’s response.

South Africa is among the top five countries globally most affected by Covid-19.

According to the statement, after their arrival the WHO surge team went into quarantine in line with the national regulations.

A second group of experts will deploy next week. Altogether, more than 40 public health experts are expected to provide surge support, working with national and provincial counterparts on key areas of the response, said WHO Africa.

“As the impact of the virus intensifies in a number of hot spots in Africa, so too are WHO’s efforts,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa.

Moeti added that at the request of the South African government, WHO Africa experts will be embedded with the national response teams, working closely with local public health officials to address some of the urgent challenges the country is facing.

According to the latest data from the WHO, 10 countries have accounted for 89% of new cases over the past two weeks.

New cases have also increased by more than 20% in 16 countries in the African region in the past two weeks, compared with the previous fortnight.

“Lack of testing is leading to some under-reporting of Covid-19 cases and preventing us from understanding the full picture of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa,” said Moeti.

Furthermore, to help meet demand for essential medical equipment across Africa, the WHO and other UN agencies have formed a global procurement consortium which leverages their networks, expertise and product knowledge to support countries that have limited access to markets, said WHO Africa.

African News Agency (ANA)