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Africa records 60 per cent increase in COVID-19 deaths – WHO

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A health worker takes a swab from a woman during a community COVID-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Abuja on April 15, 2020. The Nigerian government commence search and sample collections of eligible cases as they struggle to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as cases rise in Nigeria amidst lockdown. PHOTO: Kola Sulaimon / AFP

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Africa has increased by 60 per cent.

WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo gave the update in a “COVID-19 Situation Report” posted on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO on Thursday.

“Over the past week, there has been a 51 per cent increase in the number of cases and a 60 per cent increase in the number of deaths reported in the WHO African Region.

“Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continue to rise rapidly across the African continent. No new countries have been affected since our last situation report on April 8, 2020.

“To date, 45 (96 per cent) out of 47 Member States of the WHO African Region have reported COVID-19 cases. Comoros and Lesotho are the only Member States with no reported cases to date.

“As of 14 April 2020 (epidemiological week 16), a cumulative total of 10, 759 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 520 deaths (case fatality ratio CFR: 4.8 per cent) have been reported across the 45 affected countries in the region,”it said.

According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a new milestone in the WHO African Region, with over 10, 000 cases and over 500 deaths being reported across all Member States with the exception of Comoros and Lesotho.

Six countries (Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and South Africa) account for two thirds of the cases in the region.

In Algeria, although a decrease in case incidence was observed in the past two weeks, the high case fatality ratio is of grave concern.

“There is a need to strengthen case management and conduct in-depth epidemiological analyses to better understand the risk factors associated with these deaths.

“The upsurge of cases in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana requires particular attention.

“Current response measures in these countries need to be reinforced in order to rapidly contain the spread of the outbreak.

“Although the weekly incidence rate appears to have substantially slowed down over the past two weeks, the situation remains critical.

“National authorities need to stay alert and continue to implement proven public health measures such was active case finding, testing and isolation of cases, contact tracing, physical distancing and promotion of good personal hygiene practice,’’ it stated.

Meanwhile, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a tweet @MoetiTshid that individuals and families should be protected against COVID-19.

“Empowering individuals to protect themselves, their families and society is key in our response to COVID-19.

“Our duty is to help people in Africa understand what they need to do and support them as they do it. We all have a part to play,”she said.


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