COVID-19 in Africa: World Health Organization (WHO) urges constant vigilance as cases top 200,000

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.

COVID-19 is accelerating in Africa, with more than 200,000 cases and more than 5,600 deaths, the regional office for the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.

Africa recorded its first case of the new disease in mid-February. While it took nearly 100 days to reach 100,000 cases, the jump to 200,000 cases occurred in less than 20.

“For now, Africa still only accounts for a small fraction of cases worldwide”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “But the pace of the spread is quickening. Swift and early action by African countries has helped to keep numbers low but constant vigilance is needed to stop COVID-19 from overwhelming health facilities.”

South Africa most affected

The rising caseload is being driven by 10 countries, which account for nearly 80 per cent of all cases. Most deaths – more than 70 per cent – are occurring in only five nations: Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan.

South Africa is the most affected country, with one-quarter of the continent’s total cases. Two provinces – Western Cape and Eastern Cape – are reporting high numbers of cases and deaths daily.

WHO said public health measures have helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 on the continent. Many governments took steps such as implementing lockdowns, promoting physical distancing, and conducting contact tracing.

The UN agency and its partners have also been supporting national efforts to scale up the health workforce and laboratory testing, and to establish screening points at airports and border crossings.

Advice for lifting lockdowns

COVID-19 first emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year. Six months later, there have been nearly 7.3 million cases worldwide, and more than 413,000 deaths, and the disease has disrupted everything from global trade, to education, to transport.

Several countries have begun relaxing lockdowns so that economic and social activities can resume.

“Stay-at-home orders and closing of markets and businesses have taken a heavy toll, particularly on the most vulnerable and marginalized communities”, said Dr Moeti. “So, the need to balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods is a key consideration in this response, particularly in Africa.”

WHO recommends that as restrictions are lifted, countries must ensure that they can continue to test for COVID-19 while also providing access to essential health services.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.Media filesDownload logo

Related Content

Total secures $15.8 bln in funding for Mozambique gas project – FNB

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - French oil major Total has secured $15.8 billion in funding for its massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in...

How to reposition Nigeria’s judiciary system

Nigeria’s judicial system has come under fire in recent years and conversations around repositioning the judiciary has become rife. As lawyers in Nigeria prepare for the elections of the Nigerian Bar Association, one of the candidates vying for the top spot joins CNBC Africa’s Kenneth Igbomor for this discussion. He is Dele Adesina, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and the Principal Partner, Dele Adesina Legal Practitioners....

Coke The Secret Formula EP4: Highlights Special

In this episode of The Secret Formula the team travel to Soweto and the Western Cape to investigate how The Coca Cola Company are making a difference in terms of their waste management systems and encouragement of recycling. In these uncertain times of COVID-19 it's time to paint a brighter future on that blank canvas in front of us....

Steinhoff agrees to sell stake in Conforama France to Mobilux

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Scandal-hit Steinhoff International agreed to sell its shares in furniture retailer Conforama France to Mobilux Sàrl, the parent company...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Total secures $15.8 bln in funding for Mozambique gas project – FNB

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - French oil major Total has secured $15.8 billion in funding for its massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in...

How to reposition Nigeria’s judiciary system

Nigeria’s judicial system has come under fire in recent years and conversations around repositioning the judiciary has become rife. As lawyers in Nigeria prepare for the elections of the Nigerian Bar Association, one of the candidates vying for the top spot joins CNBC Africa’s Kenneth Igbomor for this discussion. He is Dele Adesina, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and the Principal Partner, Dele Adesina Legal Practitioners....

Coke The Secret Formula EP4: Highlights Special

In this episode of The Secret Formula the team travel to Soweto and the Western Cape to investigate how The Coca Cola Company are making a difference in terms of their waste management systems and encouragement of recycling. In these uncertain times of COVID-19 it's time to paint a brighter future on that blank canvas in front of us....

Steinhoff agrees to sell stake in Conforama France to Mobilux

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Scandal-hit Steinhoff International agreed to sell its shares in furniture retailer Conforama France to Mobilux Sàrl, the parent company...

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

African-born Elon Musk says he is very close to making cars that can drive themselves.

“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year.”

Africa’s CDC urges more COVID-19 tests, masks, as continent’s cases top 500,000

NAIROBI (Reuters) - African countries urgently need to scale up coronavirus testing and the use of face masks, a regional disease control...

Sacred sites blast exposes Australia’s laws skewed to mining

But the bill comes at a time when public outrage over the caves’ destruction, fuelled by the Black Lives Matter movement, could yield different outcomes from a legal structure that has almost always greenlighted mining development at the expense of cultural sites.

Malawi appoints Wilson Banda as new central bank governor

BLANTYRE (Reuters) - Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera has appointed Wilson Banda, a former central bank official, as its new governor, a...
- Advertisement -