Coronavirus is beginning to gain a foothold in Africa, a continent once perceived as one of the safest grounds to the disease.
More than three months after Egypt became the first country in Africa to confirm a coronavirus case, the outbreak has reached every nation on the continent of 1.2 billion people.
As of Thursday morning, the confirmed coronavirus death toll on the continent exceeded 3,500, with fatalities including the former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joachim Yhombi-Opango; Somalia’s former prime ministerz Nur Hassan Hussein; and President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and scores of health workers.
Nearly 120,000 infections have been reported, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention with almost 50, 000 recoveries.
Though the tally is still relatively low compared to global figures, it has doused the debate on the continent having some kind of immunity against COVID-19 due to its sunny temperature.
According to worldometer.info, Egypt has the highest number of fatalities – 707 with over 15,000 infections. Closely following Egypt, Algeria has 592 deaths with over 8, 000. About 198 deaths and 7, 406 infections have been recorded in Morocco.
South Africa still leads the continent with over 20,000 cases including about 397 deaths, significantly due to the countries good health system.
Nigeria has 7,261 cases as of Thursday morning with 221 deaths.
The World Health Organisation officials said the statistics are likely to significantly underestimate the true number of cases in Africa, raising concerns that the disease could overwhelm the continent’s under-resourced health services.
Despite daily alerts of infections, several African countries are struggling to reopen their economies to cushion the adverse impact of the a lockdown.