A symbolic course. One million cases of coronavirus was officially crossed Thursday in Africa, a continent which however remains the least affected in the world and where the distribution of cases is very uneven. According to official figures compiled by AFP, some 1,011,495 cases have been recorded across the continent, with at least 22,115 deaths, which represents around 5% of cases worldwide.
Only five of Africa’s 54 countries account for 75% of cases, according to the continent’s Center for Disease Control. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted Thursday that several African countries had recorded in recent days a drop of about 20% in daily cases. “We have to observe a little longer before we can say with certainty that this is a trend” which will last, said Matshidiso Moeti, Africa director of WHO.
Cases are increasing in ten countries
The cases are still increasing in a dozen countries, but this increase “is not exponential”, according to the WHO which nevertheless underlines that the low level of the number of tests and the lack of material to do them remains “a constant challenge” . “African countries are doing their best, despite the limits” to their action, such as incomplete or failing health infrastructure, said Friday Mary Stephen, an official of WHO-Africa, while warning against any slackening. .
“As the situation is different from the one in Italy, when 1,000 people died a day, people tend to think that the risk is not that high in Africa. But we must avoid any negligence, ”she stressed in a telephone interview.
Slow decline in South Africa, more marked in Egypt
Among the countries reporting a high number of cases per million population are South Africa, Djibouti, Gabon and Cape Verde. South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized country, accounts for more than half of confirmed cases, with 538,184 infections. It is the fifth most affected country in the world, behind the United States, Brazil, India and Russia. The cases recorded daily are decreasing slightly, falling below the 10,000 mark against an average of 12,000 in July. More than 9,000 people perished.
Egypt, which was the first African country to report a case of Covid-19 on February 14, officially declared 95,006 cases, including 4,630 fatalities, placing it in second place behind South Africa. The number of daily cases has fallen from around 1,500 in July to less than 200 this week.
Fear of a second wave in Nigeria, resurgence in Algeria
In Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent, nearly 45,244 cases have been identified, including 930 fatalities. Daily cases, which were 500 to 800 last month, have fallen to 300 or 400. But authorities fear an even more serious second wave. “A further increase in cases is expected” with the easing of restrictive measures to try to stem the pandemic, said Boss Mustapha, who leads the fight against coronavirus in the presidency.
For several weeks, Algeria has been facing an upsurge in the pandemic: 1,273 deaths and more than 33,626 cases were recorded with a record of 675 cases on July 24. After the first partial deconfinement measures in early June, the country has recorded an upsurge in cases.
On June 29, the government opted for “targeted containment” of localities and neighborhoods in the grip of outbreaks of Covid-19 infection. It also decided to keep its borders closed. Algerians spent a gloomy Eid el Adha party under confinement. The authorities have called for avoiding family visits and it is forbidden to leave or go to 29 of the 48 wilayas (prefectures) of the country.
The spread of the pandemic has caused great damage to the country’s economy, which is also facing the collapse in oil prices. Many traders, in particular restaurant owners, coffee shops or owners of travel agencies, risk going bankrupt.