Africa which is currently one of the least affected nations by the COVID-19 could see three lakh deaths due the infection, a report released on April 17 said. The report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa asserted that under the worst case and with no interventions against the virus, the continent could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections. As of now, Africa has reported 19,549 positive cases of Coronavirus.
The report which cited Imperial College of London reported that even with “intense social distancing” measures under the best-case scenario, Africa could still be over 122 million cases of COVID-19 infections. Apart from poverty, crowded residential conditions and widespread health problems make Africa “particularly susceptible" to Coronavirus, it added.
Experts have long warned that the virus could easily overwhelm the continent's fragile, underfunded and ill-equipped health system. The reports citing UNECA estimates said the in the worst-case scenario around $446 billion and $ 446 in best case scenario would be required for testing, providing protective personal equipment and treatment. Of all the continents, Africa has the highest prevalence of certain underlying conditions, like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, it said.
The new report also warns of severe economic pain across Africa amid the pandemic, with growth contracting 2.6% in the worst-case scenario and an estimated 27 million people pushed into extreme poverty.
“The World Bank has said sub-Saharan Africa could fall into its first recession in a quarter-century. Collapsed businesses may never recover," the report added.
It also warned that without a rapid response, governments risk losing control and facing unrest.
Image credits: AP