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WHO: Covid-19 accelerating in Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that cases of the coronavirus are spreading from capital cities to rural areas in Africa, and that more testing kits are needed.

By Vatican News

WHO's Africa regional director, Matshidiso Moeti said that ten countries are driving Africa's epidemic, but there was no indication that severe cases and deaths were being missed.

The continent has over 200,000 cases and 5,000 deaths.

South Africa, is the hardest-hit African nation, accounting for a quarter of all cases.

In South Africa, high numbers of daily cases and deaths are being reported in two provinces, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, Moeti said.

"Even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3 percent of the global total, it's clear that the pandemic is accelerating," she told a news briefing.

The WHO regional director noted that many African countries had already put in place "point of entry" screening measures against Ebola fever. These two factors may have so far limited the spread of COVID-19, she said.

Dr Moeti highlighted, a major challenge on the continent remains the availability of test kits. She also said that lockdowns and market closures intended to contain the coronavirus outbreak were likely to have taken a heavy toll on marginalized communities and low-income families.

"Until such time as we have access to an effective vaccine, I'm afraid we'll probably have to live with a steady increase in the region, with some hotspots having to be managed in a number of countries, as is happening now in South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon for example, which require very strong public health measures, social distancing measures to take place." 

11 June 2020, 14:25