The death toll from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Africa has peaked at 50,000 people since the first outbreak on the continent was declared, head of the African Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong, announced in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday.
African countries recorded at least 94,000 new cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 4,000 new deaths in the past week alone, highlighting the deadly manner the disease has continued to spread rapidly during its second wave across Africa, the Africa CDC director told reporters.
Across Africa, there was a 7.5 per cent increase in the number of newly confirmed cases while deaths from existing infections also showed an increasing trend.
Africa CDC Deputy Director, Ahmed Ogwel, said the rising level of new deaths from the pandemic was a result of the gaps within the national health facilities in Africa, caused mainly by the lack of a proper treatment regime for the pandemic.
“We are keen to avoid the experiences like what we had with the wild polio outbreak which affected millions of people out of remote regions in Africa,” Nkengasong said, emphasing the need for governments across Africa to push further with the implementation of public health measures to combat the spread of the virus to remote rural areas from urban centres.
South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia and Tunisia remain with the highest number of cases. Ethiopia has recorded a 7 per cent decrease in the number of new cases while Kenya recorded an 11 per cent rise in new cases, Nkengasong told reporters.
The AU CDC is currently preparing to begin the large-scale distribution of 2.7 million antigen testing kits, which produces better results much quickly and is equally much cheaper as part of a strategy to rapidly improve testing, contact tracing and the treatment of patients catching the virus.
“The antigen test is a game-changer because it catches the virus quickest,” Nkengasong said. (PANA/NAN)