Africa on alert for 2nd Covid-19 wave, as cases top 2mn

Updated: Nov 19,2020 10:12 GMT

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Addis Ababa, Nov 19 (IANS) African countries are on high alert for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as the number of confirmed cases on the continent hit 2 million on Thursday.

Africa reported its first 1 million confirmed cases on August 7 after it registered the first infection on February 14 in Egypt, reports Xinhua news agency.

As of Thursday, the continent's overall caseload and death toll stood 2,013,388 and 48,408, repectively, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the testing level in Africa was still very low compared to other regions.

"Most African countries are focused on testing travellers, patients or contacts, and we estimate that a significant number of cases are missed," says WHO's regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti in late October.

The most COVID-19 affected African countries in terms of the number of positive cases include South Africa, Morocco, Egypt and Ethiopia, figures from the Africa CDC show.

One of the worst-hit country at present is Morocco, which reported 6,195 cases on November 12, the highest daily spike since the onset of the pandemic in the country on March 2.

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, said that Africa has recorded an 8 per cent rise in new coronavirus cases in the past month.

"We cannot relent on our efforts to bend the curve. The virus tends to give you a sign that you are winning and it comes back more severely. We are strongly advocating for the control measures including the wearing of masks which we appeal to countries to subsidize masks," he said.

In Africa and throughout much of the world, the increase in new cases coincided with the easing of restrictions and other measures put in place earlier this year to help stem the spread of the virus.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sounded alarm over the sudden increase in the infections and deaths earlier this month, adding that the government would not hesitate to impose stringent measures and avert a looming implosion.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged citizens to be responsible in adhering to social distance measures in an effort to avoid or delay the second wave.

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