Africa has weathered Covid-19 tide

Africa has weathered Covid-19 tide”

Africa has completely surprised the world in its well-managed response to the Covid-19 pandemic, defying doomsayers that the continent would face challenges to contain the virus due to its meagre financial, medical personnel and equipment resources, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.The reality is that the continent has escaped the "exponential" rise in coronavirus cases seen elsewhere probably due to its low population density and a hot and humid climate, the United Nations agency's regional office said.

"Africa has not witnessed an exponential spread of Covid-19 as many initially feared", said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's Regional Director for Africa.

The WHO said the "low population density, the hot and humid climate, the high level and the high percentage of youths combined" to probably contribute to the low infection rates.

Moeti said that 80% of Covid-19 cases in Africa are asymptomatic.

In the past four weeks, 77,147 new cases have been recorded in Africa "against 131,647 in the four preceding weeks".

She adds that "But we must not become complacent. Other regions of the world have experienced similar trends only to find that as social and public health measures are relaxed, cases start ramping up again".

"The slower spread of infection in the region means we expect the pandemic to continue to smolder for some time, with occasional flare-ups", said Dr. Moeti.

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But roughly nine months into the pandemic, which has sickened over 31 million people and caused more than 950,000 deaths around the world, most African countries have fared significantly better than other parts of the world. It is crucial that countries maintain public health measures that have helped curb the spread of Covid-19 to limit further infections and deaths.

She urged African countries to tailor their responses to their situations as each country is experiencing different patterns.

When the coronavirus first began spreading around the world, there was near-universal concern among experts that countries in Africa could be hit particularly hard, with high rates of transmission that could quickly overwhelm health care systems.

Africa recorded 34 706 deaths from over 1.4 million coronavirus cases.

Case incidence has continued to decrease in the past weeks, with South Africa continuing to consistently register the largest number of reported cases for many weeks.

The US - the world's worst affected country - has had almost seven million cases and over 200,000 deaths.

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