In South Africa, the number of infected increased by 30 percent in one week. In other African countries, the increase is higher.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday sounded the alarm over the spread of coronavirus in Africa.
– I am very concerned right now that we are starting to see an acceleration of the disease in Africa, says WHO’s crisis manager, Michael Ryan.
South Africa in particular has been hit hard by over 350,000 confirmed cases of infection and more than 5,000 deaths.
May be a warning
And South Africa’s growing number of infected people could be a warning of new outbreaks elsewhere on the continent, the crisis chief fears.
I think it is in fact an indicator of what the continent may face if nothing urgent is done to provide support, says Michael Ryan.
At the same time, he points out that the corona outbreak in South Africa began earlier than in a number of other African countries. First, the virus spread to the more affluent areas. But now it has moved into the poorer areas and the rural areas.
That is why we are experiencing that acceleration here, says Michael Ryan.
Although South Africa has by far the largest number of infected, the number of confirmed cases has “only” increased by 30 percent in the past week, he adds.
By comparison, in Kenya it has risen by 31 per cent, while the increase in Madagascar is 50 per cent, Zambia 57 per cent and Namibia 69 per cent in the number of new cases of infection in one week. A development that worries the crisis manager.
We have to take what is happening in Africa very seriously, he emphasizes.
The numbers are cheating
So far, it has otherwise looked as if Africa has escaped relatively easily during the corona pandemic.
Official figures show that there are around 725,000 confirmed cases of infection across the continent and just over 15,000 deaths among corona infected.
The figures indicate that Africa is the continent beyond Oceania that has escaped with the fewest sick and dead.
But the numbers are cheating, Ryan says, because the under-reporting is assumed to be high. In many African countries, only a few have been tested.