The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) on May 20 said that the African continent needed to ramp up the testing for the coronavirus nearly tenfold, which is at least 1% of the population of 1.3 billion people, or 13 million people. The country has so far conducted meager 1.3 million to 1.4 million tests, Director John Nkengasong told a press conference for the COVID-19.
With over 95,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the continent is expected to surpass 100,000 as early as this weekend. Roughly, a similar spike in new cases was witnessed in the past week, and the week before, as the trend continues unabated, the health director told the press conference. As per local media reports, Cape Town and its surrounding Western Cape province in the African continent have turned into Africa’s hotspot.
Earlier, the South African region eased lockdown measures, that allowed an estimated 1.6 million people to return to work in selected mines, factories, and businesses. Health Minister, Zweli Mkizhe, said while speaking at the press conference that the concentration of cases in Cape Town may see the city return to a stricter lockdown and containment efforts to contain the pandemic. However, countries with weak health systems and history of conflicts like Somalia and South Sudan, have remained concerned as the cases increased.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reportedly said in a press conference that nations could draw lessons from the drastic measures adopted by some of the African countries to ward off the rapid transmission. With much slower progress in the region, the disease was slowed as African governments took timely action and enforced a strict lockdown in order to prevent their healthcare systems to be pushed to the maximum capacities.
South African President Cyril Ramaphisa reportedly warned that the coronavirus pandemic could last for a year or more, therefore, social distancing measures and use of protective face covering was mandatory for the health safety of the Africans. Further, he said, the precautionary measures will help curb the spread of the virulent virus as the country imposed nationwide lockdown since March 27 to stem the transmission rate of the disease.
(Image Credit: AP)