Pandemic COVID-19: in Africa, the worst is still to come

Pandémie de COVID-19: en Afrique, le pire reste à venir

Johannesburg | pandemic COVID-19, which has in a first time increased less rapidly in Africa than in other regions of the world, is now speeding up on the poorest continent, a source of concern for the world health Organization (WHO).

According to figures compiled by AFP Tuesday, around 860 000 cases have been recorded across the continent, with at least 18 000 deaths.

The numbers are still low, compared to Europe or the United States, but the director of the situations of health emergencies in the WHO, Michael Ryan, recently said “concerned” by the”acceleration” of the epidemic in Africa, where public health systems are failing.

Early action and strict confinement, in a first time, “helped to slow down the progression” of the disease in Africa, noted Mary Stephens, an expert of the WHO regional office in Africa, when questioned by AFP.

But the peak of the pandemic is coming, she warned, while many countries have relaxed the restrictions to prevent a collapse of their economy.

Here is an update on the situation in key countries in sub-saharan Africa:

South Africa, the epicenter

South Africa is by far the continent most affected, with more than 450 000 cases, of which 7.067 death. On a global scale, it ranks in the fifth position of the countries with the highest number of infections.

The mortality rate remains low (1.6% of cases). But it could be very widely under-estimated. According to researchers, about 17 000 additional deaths not accounted for among the dead of the COVID-19, have been recorded since the beginning of may, compared to the same period last year.

The minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has warned that “the peak (of the pandemic) will be in July, August and September.”

The country has taxed the end of march one of the confinements the most stringent in the world, before you soften it. Before the explosion of the contamination, the schools come again to be closed for a month and a night-time curfew has been reinstated.

Nigeria, the most populous

Nigeria, home to 200 million inhabitants, is the second the most affected country in sub-saharan Africa with more than 41 000 cases, of which at least 860 dead.

However, the figures could be vastly under-estimated lack of available tests. The country makes only 3000 tests a day, about a tenth of the number of tests performed in South Africa, which has a quarter of the nigerian population.

For each case identified, more escape us, because we can not test all the world”, has recognized Sani Aliyu, at the head of the taskforce responsible for fighting the virus.

In the economic capital Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, will quickly arise a problem of place to isolate the patient, has accused the city official of the health, Akin Abayomi.

School year white in Kenya

The number of cases in Kenya has tripled in a month, with close to 18,000 infections have been confirmed, including 285 deaths.

Under pressure from the private sector, the country has recently lifted the prohibition to leave or to go to Nairobi and Mombasa (is), the main foci of the epidemic.

But on Monday, president Uhuru Kenyatta announced the prohibition of the sale of alcohol in restaurants and the extension of one-month night-time curfew to stop the spread “aggressive” of the COVID-19.

The primary and secondary schools do will re-open in January 2021.

First peak past Cameroon

Cameroon, which has not imposed containment is strict, that is, the country in central Africa is the most affected with more than 16 000 cases.

“A first peak of the epidemic occurred between the end of the month of June and the beginning of the month of July,” according to Yap Boum, representative for Africa of the Epicentre, the research branch and epidemiology of Doctors without borders (MSF). But “this does not mean that the pandemic is over, no!” he insists.

Madagascar and its “tea”

President Andry Rajoelina praises the virtues, according to him, preventive and curative herbal tea against the COVID-19, to the base of the plant artemisia. No scientific study has however confirmed its efficacy.

The decoction has been widely distributed free of charge in the country, but the number of infections continues to increase (9690, including 91 deaths).

The case of Djibouti

Djibouti, State of confetti with a million inhabitants, is the second country in Africa Is the most affected in number of cases (more than 5000 infections).

The government explains these figures by its strong capacity test (+5% of the population) and its policy of aggressive tracking of patients.

Tanzania in denial

Tanzania is one of the few countries in the world denying the severity of the virus. She has published the end of April its latest figures on the COVID-19 of 509 cases.

President John Magufuli said that there is more contamination. “This is the reason why people do not wear the mask. You think that you are not afraid to die ? This is because there is no COVID”, he launched on Monday.

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