Covid-19 could ‘smoulder’ in Africa for years to come, WHO
The coronavirus pandemic could ‘smoulder’ on the African continent for years to come resulting in 190,000 deaths over the course of the next year, the World Health Organisation has said.
The impact would depend upon the actions of individual governments but Africa could see 10 million infections over the next six months. It is likely that a major outbreak would overwhelm local medical facilities where there is a mere 9 intensive care beds per million people.
More than 51,000 people in Africa have been diagnosed with the infection and over 2,000 have died. Since most countries on the continent do not possess the same testing facilities as elsewhere in the world it is feared that the actual figures may be significantly higher. Somalia, for instance, had to change official statistics significantly after it became apparent that many deaths had gone unrecorded due to internal instability. Concerns have also been raised regarding the accuracy of statistics reported by Nigeria and Tanzania. The latter refused to impose restrictions on the operation of places of worship.
South Africa, however, has been praised as having had among the best responses to the pandemic with only 7,808 recorded cases and 150 deaths. According to the country’s scientific advisers, South Africa was temporarily on the same course as the United Kingdom, currently with the second highest number of fatalities in the world, before they were able to rapidly turn the tide by actively looking for outbreaks in the community. The lockdown in the country has since been eased.