Africa, which has been spared the mass outbreak seen in China, Europe and elsewhere, is now facing the real risk of the virus spreading rapidly beyond capital cities underscoring the risk of weak health infrastructure.
As the virus spreads to Africa’s rural areas, “a lack of tests and other supplies was hampering responses,” said WHO’s Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti.
South Africa had more than a quarter of the 200,000 reported cases in the continent where some 5000 people lost their lives because of the virus.
Some 75% of the cases are concentrated in 10 countries. All African cases account for 3% of infections globally.
WHO officials are worried however of a major outbreak in Africa’s rural areas especially in countries where health services are concentrated in big cities.
It took 98 days to reach the initial 100,000 cases in Africa but it has taken only 18 days to double from 100,000 to 200,000.
Tone of the reasons for the rise in new cases could be the hasty easing of lockdowns without implementation of precautionary measures.
Another factor is that some countries have increased their testing capacity and are reporting more confirmed cases.