Amid lack of testing, real spread of virus on continent unknown, experts say, as countries struggle to curb infections.
A million people across Africa have now been confirmed to have had the new coronavirus, as health experts warn the peak of the pandemic has yet to hit the continent.
The sombre milestone, reported on Thursday, came more than five months after Egypt reported the continent’s first confirmed case of coronavirus on February 14.
More than 21,000 people have so far died across Africa from the COVID-19 disease, while over 670,000 have recovered.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) voiced alarm at the “acceleration” of the disease in Africa, which until recently had remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic compared with the rest of the world – even as many experts believe the actual number of coronavirus infections is likely much higher.
South Africa, which accounts for more than half of the continent’s registered cases, is the worst-affected African nation and the fifth worst-hit globally. Egypt is in second place with 94,000 confirmed infections, followed by Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Morocco and Kenya.
“We haven’t seen the peak in Africa yet,” Mary Stephen, technical officer at the WHO’s regional office for Africa, told Al Jazeera.
“Since countries started relaxing lockdown measures, we have seen an increasing number of cases and most of these – more than 80 percent – are coming largely from 10 countries,” she said..