The coronavirus pandemic on May 22 topped 1,00,000 cases in Africa with more than 3,100 confirmed deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). As per reports, the virus that first emerged 14 weeks ago in Africa has now spread to every country in the continent. However, the pandemic has not grown at the same rate as in some of the other regions across the world and the mortality rate is also not so high on the continent. In Europe, when coronavirus cases reached 1,00,000, the death toll stood at 4,900, according to WHO.
"For now COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world. It is possible our youth dividend is paying off and leading to fewer deaths. But we must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa was quoted as saying on its official website.
The World Health Organisation, however, warned that the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Africa as it took 52 days to reach the first 10,000 cases and only took 11 days to move to 50,000 from 30,000. WHO said that community transmission is now a reality in almost half of the countries in Africa where nearly 3,400 healthcare workers have lost their lives battling the disease at the frontlines. WHO also highlighted there is a need to provide more personal protective equipment to medical workers in Africa and countries are in dire need of testing kits.
"Testing as many people as possible and protecting health workers who come into contact with suspected and confirmed cases are crucial aspects of this response. Despite global shortages, we are working hard to prioritize the delivery of testing kits and personal protective equipment to low- and middle-income countries that have the most vulnerable populations, based on the number of cases reported," Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean said.
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