Coronavirus Outbreak In Africa

Article by Khanyi Moshia

It’s been two months since the first positive Coronavirus case was reported in Egypt – which raised concerns throughout the world as this virus engulfed the United States and Europe. 

Medical experts and virologists worldwide, who are privy to how the virus reacts, have warned of the possible impact and the destruction that the deadly Covid-19 virus could have in a vulnerable continent such as Africa, due to the lack of adequate medical equipment and the capacity of medical staff required to fight the virus should it have a widespread.  

Although the virus has spread across 52 countries in the African continent, the confirmed number of cases continue to lag behind the global curve for infections , which approximates slightly under 2 million Covid-19 cases and nearly 120 000 deaths in other continents as recorded to date.

According to a tally compiled by AFP, Africa has only reported 14 000 positive cases and less than 800 deaths. The only countries that haven’t reported any cases yet are Lesotho and Comoros. 

As of the 13th April 2020, South Africa seems to have the most advanced healthcare system as it is the only country in the Sub-Saharan region that has conducted the most tests, which are sitting at 83 663 tests with a population of 57 million, while Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria, has only carried out 5000 tests to date for its 150 million occupants. 

African countries were expected to display the same, if not worse, patterns than Europe when hit by the pandemic. This stems from the premise discussed earlier that African countries do not have fully-developed healthcare systems and resources to handle the effect the virus could have on citizens. Rather than await a gruesome impact on nationals, African nations are employing a proactive approach to Covid-19 by implementing strict regulations whilst the virus is in its manageable stages and numbers are still low.

John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention admitted that Africa’s coronavirus statistics were far from “perfect”, but that didn’t mean that a high number of infections has slipped under the radar, and if that were the case, hospitals would be flooded with people. 

Even though the virus may not be spreading as quickly as the predictions from various experts across the globe, African governments are still encouraging citizens to adhere to their country’s lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the virus. 

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