CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Africa has registered a 43 % leap in reported COVID-19 circumstances within the final week, with officers highlighting a warning from the World Well being Group (WHO) that the continent of 1.three billion may grow to be the subsequent epicenter of the worldwide outbreak.
Africa additionally has a “very, very restricted” and “very, very strained” testing capability, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention mentioned in his weekly briefing on Thursday.
It signifies that the surge in confirmed infections on the continent is prone to be even greater in actuality, he mentioned.
WHO’s latest report painted a grim image for Africa. It warned the virus may kill greater than 300,000 folks and push 30 million into determined poverty.
Africa nonetheless has time to avert such a catastrophe, however testing folks and tracing virus circumstances is vital, mentioned Nkengasong.
“All of it will depend on what we’re discussing right here,” Nkengasong mentioned, “which is, are you testing? Are you discovering the circumstances? Are you isolating and monitoring the contacts? It’s not a prediction which means it should occur.”
By Nkengasong’s personal standards, Africa is struggling on the testing entrance.
Within the two months for the reason that continent started mobilizing to battle the outbreak, lower than 500,000 assessments have been performed on a inhabitants of greater than 1 billion. That’s simply 325 folks examined per 1 million folks, Nkengasong mentioned. That’s far decrease than Italy, one of many world’s worst-hit international locations, he mentioned by the use of comparability.
African governments reported almost 26,000 circumstances as of Thursday, in keeping with the Africa Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, up from simply over 16,000 per week in the past. Though these figures are nonetheless comparatively small within the world image, the sharp enhance is a trigger for concern, mentioned Nkengasong. The earlier week noticed a rise of 29%.
“For those who don’t check, you don’t discover. And if you happen to don’t check, you’re blinded. For those who don’t check, you aren’t forward of the curve,” Nkengasong mentioned.
The Africa Facilities for Illness Management has a goal of conducting 1 million extra assessments in Africa over the subsequent 4 weeks and 10 million assessments within the subsequent 4 months. The general effort is badly hampered, Nkengasong mentioned, by a significant impediment: The prevailing fragility of the well being companies in lots of African international locations.
“I’d like to verify I make this very clear,” he mentioned. “It’s an uphill battle to construct well being methods when you want them. … That’s what we are literally doing now. We’re enjoying catch-up and that may be a very, very robust factor to do.”