Health, Africa

WHO praises Africa's response as virus cases decline

Official says preliminary analysis suggests over 80% of coronavirus cases in African countries asymptomatic

Rodrigue Forku   | 24.09.2020
WHO praises Africa's response as virus cases decline


YAOUNDE, Cameroon 

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday praised Africa's coronavirus response as the continent has seen a decrease in the infection rate.

There are over 1.4 million reported COVID-19 cases on the African continent, and 34,000 “people have sadly lost their lives," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa region director, said at a virtual media briefing.

Moeti said most African governments quickly implemented restrictions on movement and gathering and this created a window of opportunity to keep case numbers low, and strengthen public health capacities.

"Overall, I really commend the response in African countries. We are making progress thanks to the concerted efforts of governments, communities, and partners," Moeti said.

"Although cases are being missed, this does not affect the deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the region. We are not seeing evidence of excess mortality due to COVID-19 or missing deaths."

She said the WHO’s preliminary analysis suggests that over 80% of coronavirus cases in the African countries are asymptomatic, and this is reinforced by the fact that in most communities, health facilities have not been overwhelmed by severe COVID-19 cases.

“Studies are now underway to test if communities have antibodies for COVID-19, meaning people were infected, but not detected. Some early results... suggest a higher number of infections than those reported,” she said.

“Even before the first cases were reported in Africa in February, at WHO we were working with governments and partners to ramp-up preparedness and response capacities for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” according to Moeti.

Africa, during the past one week, recorded 82% of recovery rate, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said in his weekly media briefing, adding that the recovery rate has been steady over the past several weeks.

According to the latest figures by the Africa CDC, 1.18 million people recovered across the continent out of the 1.45 million continental caseload.

“That is a good news for the continent,” he said.

Moeti urged the African countries to keep updating data and information about implementing the key public health tools of surveillance, testing, isolation and contact tracing.

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