Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Africa

Coronavirus infections in Africa still on upward trajectory

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2020-11-16 20:42
Share - WeChat
A health worker prepares to collect a swab sample from a man during free mass testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, Oct 17, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Africa continues to record increased cases of coronavirus, with some countries experiencing a severe second wave of the virus.

From Nov 2-8 the continent recorded 87,543 new cases, translating to a 13 percent increase compared to the previous week, and 2,248 new deaths, translating to an 18 percent increase, according to data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Cabo Verde and Botswana recorded the highest average number of new cases per 1 million population per day, while Sudan, Western Sahara, Egypt, Liberia and Niger recorded the highest case fatality rates on the continent.

From Oct 12-Nov 8, the continent recorded an 8 percent average increase in the number of new cases weekly, with the central African region leading with a 15 percent increase. This was followed by the northern region with a 10 percent increase, the eastern region with an 8 percent increase, the western region with a 4 percent increase and the southern region with a 2 percent increase.

The Democratic Republic of Congo recorded the highest average increase in the number of new cases among the six most populous countries in the past 4 weeks, with a 37 percent increase.

It was followed by Kenya with a 34 percent average increase, Nigeria with 17 percent and Egypt with 15 percent.

However, Ethiopia and South Africa recorded decreased numbers of new cases, standing at 13 percent and 1 percent in average decrease, respectively.

Kenya, one of the countries experiencing a severe second wave of coronavirus, by mid-November recorded 15,053 new cases and 263 new deaths compared to the entire month of October, when it recorded 16,663 new cases and 285 new deaths.

The situation is worsened by increasing fatalities among health workers. So far, the country has lost 30 doctors, of which 10 were senior specialists. Of the 10 senior medical professionals, four died on Friday.

Following that, on Sunday the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union issued a 21-day strike notice, expiring on Dec 6, over several unresolved issues.

The union is demanding provision of standard and adequate personal protective equipment in all healthcare facilities and comprehensive medical coverage for all doctors in the country.

This is in addition to workman's compensation for all doctors and other healthcare workers.

The union also is demanding employment of 2,000 doctors and review of contract terms of doctors to permanent and pensionable.

It also wants the government to set up dedicated healthcare facilities for healthcare workers in each of the 47 counties.

In a statement on Sunday, Mutahi Kagwe, the cabinet secretary for health, termed the past 7 days as the darkest period for the country since the first case was identified in March.

Within that week, the country recorded over 20 deaths on a daily basis, with the death of the four doctors within a day adding more sadness to the situation.

Kagwe said the National Emergency Response Committee will convene a special meeting to discuss issues affecting healthcare workers, including supply of personal protective equipment and other measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Unlike Kenya, which is recording increased cases, South Africa, the most affected country in terms of overall coronavirus infections in the continent, recently has been recording decreased new infection cases.

However, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country is working on preventing a possible second wave as Eastern Cape shows signs of resurgence.

In his address to the nation on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said of the week ending Nov 10, the Western Cape recorded a 50 percent increase in the number of new cases.

Ramaphosa attributed the increases in the Eastern Cape to outbreaks in institutions of higher learning, such as universities and schools, and attendance by people at large gatherings.

This is in addition to poor adherence to social distancing, mask wearing and other poor hygiene measures.

To contain the rise in infections, South Africa is implementing a resurgence plan developed with the surge team deployed to the country by the World Health Organization.

The government also is working closely with the provincial government, municipalities and other institutions in the Eastern Cape to ensure the surge is contained and managed.

To keep all necessary prevention measures in place, as required by the Disaster Management Act, Ramaphosa extended the National State of Disaster by another month to Dec 15.

South Africans also have been using the Covid Alert app that notifies if the user has been exposed to the virus. The app is zero-rated by mobile networks.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349