Africa’s caseload has crossed the 700,000 mark as of today. Half of the cases are recorded in South Africa where there are over 350,000 confirmed cases.
As of last friday (July 17), the WHO Africa region reported that there had been a 27% increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region.
10 countries account for 88% (440,672) of all reported COVID19 cases in the African Region: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia & DRC, a WHO Africa situation report noted.
“Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26% of the world’s refugees and around 19 million internally displaced people. It is in the interest of peace, international security and equity that all countries & partners do more to help these vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis,” the WHO regional director Matshidiso Moeti said.
Major African stats: July 19 at 9:00 GMT:
Confirmed cases = 702,663
Active cases = 320,055
Recoveries = 367,652
Number of deaths = 14,956
The five most impacted countries are as follows:
South Africa = 350,879
Egypt = 87,172
Nigeria = 36,107
Ghana = 27,060
Algeria = 22,549
So far most testing has been concentrated in capital cities, but infections in many cases have spread beyond them.
Africa’s health systems are the most poorly funded and thinly staffed in the world, and already more than 2,000 health workers have been infected by the virus, according to the WHO.
This week alone, some anxious health workers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Congo and Sierra Leone have gone on strike or demonstrated for adequate protective gear or better pay. The African continent has just 2.2 health workers — and 0.3 doctors — per 1,000 people, according to the WHO.
Experts have warned that even if badly needed supplies such as ventilators are provided to African nations, another challenge is having enough trained workers to operate them.