Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa?

Nigeria has been one of the worst-affected countries

Africa is seeing coronavirus cases rapidly increasing and deaths rising, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO).

We’ve looked at the specific situation across the continent, and examined which countries are of all concern.

How fast is coronavirus spreading?

In terms of over all numbers, Africa currently is the reason only a small proportion of total worldwide cases, nevertheless the acceleration in rates of infection in some countries is obviously a cause for concern.

While it took not exactly 100 days for Africa to reach a preliminary 100,000 cases, it took only 18 days for that to double to 200,000. It doubled again to 400,000 cases over the next 20 days.

The upward trend in Africa is starting to resemble other parts of the world which were badly hit by the coronavirus. Most African countries are now experiencing community transmission, according to the WHO.

This is whenever a person gets Covid-19 with no been in contact with a known case from abroad or a confirmed domestic case, which makes it hard for for the authorities to track down the foundation of an area outbreak.

Where are Africa’s hotspots?

The two countries with the greatest numbers of cases are South Africa and Egypt. They accounted for over 60% of all the new cases reported in late June.

South Africa has the highest recorded amount of total cases, while Egypt has the largest number of recorded coronavirus deaths.

South Africa, which imposed one of many world’s strictest lockdowns in late March, has seen cases rise steadily next was relaxed in early May.

The Western Cape province (where Cape Town is located), is the reason nearly 1 / 2 of all cases in the united states and more than half of the deaths. But cases are steadily rising in Gauteng province, which include Johannesburg.

Egypt has seen case numbers rising rapidly since mid-May, but there are indications that this might now have reached a peak with recorded new infections levelling off slightly in early July.

There is also concern in what is happening in Nigeria, which recorded the second-highest increase in deaths from Covid-19 after South Africa in the WHO report for 1 July.

Confirmed cases round the world


Group 4

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Source: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies

Figures last updated

6 July 2020, 09:44 BST

Note: Data for Egypt are available by selecting the Middle East region from the drop-down menu in the map and country dining table below.

Mauritania in West Africa in addition has seen a steep increase in cases, and has been among those recording the highest increases in recent weeks.

It’s worth stressing that parts of the continent have experienced relatively few cases, such as for instance some aspects of East Africa.

In fact, the most recent WHO Africa region report said just 10 countries accounted for more than 80% of all the reported cases on the continent.

How many people are dying in Africa?

The over all death rate has been low set alongside the global average, despite the fact that many countries have poor health infrastructure.

Scroll dining table to see more data

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This information is regularly updated but might not reflect the most recent totals for every single country.

** The past data for new cases is a three day rolling average. Due to revisions in the number of cases, an average can not be calculated because of this date.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies and UN populace data

Figures last updated: 6 July 2020, 09:44 BST

The WHO says this could be partly because of the relatively young populace in Africa – a lot more than 60% underneath the age of 25. Current analysis suggests a lower mortality rate in younger people.

But there are still five countries with death rates that are much like or higher compared to the most recent worldwide average rate of 5% deaths from confirmed cases:

  • Chad (8.5%)
  • Algeria (6.6%)
  • Niger (6.2%)
  • Burkina Faso (5.5%)
  • Mali (5.3)

Githinji Gitahi, the top of Amref Health Africa, an NGO which specialises in health matters, says the higher rates could be an illustration of greater infection levels than those being recorded, but it could also be because of relatively low levels of testing. The fewer tests you carry out, the fewer confirmed cases you will find, and so the amount of deaths appears relatively high.

The WHO says using community surveillance, where community health workers along with other frontline staff report Covid-19 deaths, might be behind the high death rate reported, for example, in Chad.

How much testing is done in Africa?

Ten countries account for about 80% of the total tests conducted – South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

There are wide variations in testing rates, with South Africa doing the most and Nigeria doing relatively few, according to Our World in Data, a UK-based project which collates Covid-19 information.

On 4 July, South Africa was doing just over 30 tests per 1,000 people, compared with 72 in the united kingdom and 105 in the united states.

Nigeria is achieving 0.7 tests per 1,000 people, Ghana 10 and Kenya 3.

It’s worth pointing out that for some African countries, it is impossible to know what precisely is happening due to a not enough any data or data being incomplete.

“We have to take the numbers with a pinch of salt,” says Chiedo Nwankwor, a lecturer in African affairs at Johns Hopkins University in the united states.

In Tanzania, President John Magufuli has voiced doubts concerning the validity of virus testing results at the national laboratory, and it has allowed only limited data on disease rates and testing to be made public.

Equatorial Guinea had a row with the WHO after accusing its country representative of inflating the number of Covid-19 cases. For a while it held straight back its data, but has started sharing it again.

And in Kano state in northern Nigeria, an unusual spike of near to 1,000 deaths was reported in late April, but the government has not still confirmed just how many were because of Covid-19.

Note: The graphics in this page make use of a different source for figures for France from which used by Johns Hopkins University, which results in a slightly lower overall total. US figures do not include Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands.

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