Africa: update 20/06/20

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating fast in Africa. Mrs Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director, issued this warning on June 11th. It took 98 days to reach 100,000 cases, then only 18 days to arrive at 200,000. The statement follows up on an earlier message in which the WHO forecasted 190,000 deaths, and between 29 and 44 million infected people in the first year of the pandemic, if no containment measures would be taken.

As per June 20th, the coronavirus has claimed 7688 lifes. The number of infections is closing in on 300,000. At the current rate of increase, the continent might reach 500,000 cases in the first week of July.

Africa as a whole accounts for 1,7% of global deaths and 3,3% of all cases, the difference between the percentages probably caused by a lower mortality rate due to a younger population. The continent counts overall 5 deaths per 1 million inhabitants. This number is still much lower than the comparable figures for Belgium (846), United Kingdom (637) or the USA (362).

Large differences exist, however, between individual countries. Two countries alone, Egypt and South Africa account for 50% of all COVID-19 deaths and 49% of all cases recorded. Other countries, such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Mozambique, report surprisingly low numbers. This could be due to the virus not having spread yet to certain parts of Africa, to insufficient testing or incomplete reporting, and probably a combination of all 3 factors. Add to this the fast acceleration of the pandemic, the lack of adequate health facilities and personal protective equipment, and there is today plenty of reason for concern.

African countries with highest COVID-19 death toll

African countries with highest number of COVID-19 cases