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Africa's COVID-19 cases pass 100,000 mark

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-23 09:35
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People wearing protective face masks stand in a queue to receive food aid amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Itireleng informal settlement, near Laudium suburb in Pretoria, South Africa, May 20, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

ADDIS ABABA - The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa surpassed 100,000 as of Friday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC in its latest situation update issued on Friday revealed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the continent rose from 95,201 on Thursday to 100,330 as of Friday afternoon.

The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent had surged to 3,101, according to the Africa CDC.

It disclosed that some 39,416 people who had been infected with the COVID-19 had recovered across the continent as of Friday afternoon.

The continental disease control and prevention agency also noted that the virus had spread into all of the 54 African countries.

It said that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

The African countries are mobilizing resources and taking measures to fight against COVID-19.

Many countries on the continent have imposed night curfew and suspended international flights so as to curb the spread of the virus. Wearing face masks is mandatory at public places in many countries.

They also have the support from international organizations, and countries including China.

In addition to taking actions including sending medical teams to relevant African countries and providing anti-epidemic materials in short supply within its capacity, China said it will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals.

The Asian country added it will also accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity.

The World Bank announced on Wednesday that it had approved 107 billion shillings (about 1 billion US dollars) for Kenya to address the COVID-19 fiscal financing gap.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Thursday that it is working with governments in Africa to train health workers, improve surveillance, testing, contact tracing and treatment.

More than 7,000 health workers, including over 400 in Tanzania, have been trained in WHO African Region since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the statement.

The WHO said in the statement that most countries on the continent, however, do not have the capacity to manage many critically ill COVID-19 patients.

There are on average nine intensive care unit beds per one million people, according to a March 2020 survey based on self-reports by 47 countries in the WHO African Region.

Improvements are being made to increase the number of ventilators in intensive care units and more critical care clinicians are being trained, it added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for international action to help Africa deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These are still early days for the pandemic in Africa, and disruption could escalate quickly. Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative -- now and for recovering better," said Guterres in a video message for the launch of a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on Africa.

Ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world, he said.

"We are calling for international action to strengthen Africa's health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings," said Guterres.

He warned that the pandemic threatens African progress. "It will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease. Already, demand for Africa's commodities, tourism and remittances are declining. The opening of the trade zone has been pushed back, and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty."

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