Africa has completely surprised the world in its well-managed response to the Covid-19 pandemic, defying doomsayers that the continent would face challenges to contain the virus due to its meagre financial, medical personnel and equipment resources, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.The reality is that the continent has escaped the “exponential” rise in coronavirus cases seen elsewhere probably due to its low population density and a hot and humid climate, the UN agency’s regional office said.
In addition, the decline in Africa’s caseload was a testimony to the decisive public health measures taken by all the governments on the continent, WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said.
According to her office in Brazzaville, Africa has so far recorded 34,706 deaths from 1,439,657 cases — far below the other continents whose figures are in multiple millions.
In North America, for instance, the United States alone has recorded 202,827 Covid-19 deaths from 6,979,937 confirmed cases, and the numbers were increasing daily, the agency noted.
“The transmission of Covid-19 in Africa was marked by relatively fewer infections which have subsided in the last two months,” the UN agency said.
WHO said some of the worst-hit African countries such as Algeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa had seen infections steadily fall in the past two months.
In the past four weeks, 77,147 new cases have been recorded in Africa “against 131,647 in the four preceding weeks.”
The WHO said the “low population density, the hot and humid climate, the high level and the high percentage of youths combined” to probably contribute to the low infection rates.
“Around 91 percent of the infections in sub-Saharan Africa concerned people less than 60 years old, and over 80 percent of these cases were asymptomatic,” it said.
While South Africa is the continent’s worst-affected country, it has seen its figures fall steadily to allow it to ease from the tough Level 3 coronavirus pandemic restrictions to Level 1 in the past week.
Some 16,283 people have succumbed to the disease from 667,049 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic broke out in South Africa in March 2020.