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Africa's COVID-19 cases close to 1.24 mln amid growing economic impact

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-31 10:56
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A girl wearing a protective mask looks on through a bus window, as schools reopen amid a nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, South Africa Aug 24, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

ADDIS ABABA - The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Sunday said that the number of positive COVID-19 cases across the African continent rose to 1,237,070 amid growing impact on African economies.

The Africa CDC, which noted that only five African countries account for over 70 percent of all COVID-19 infections in the continent, also stressed that the death toll from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic rose to 29,430 on Sunday.

Some 968,962 people who were infected with COVID-19 had recovered across the continent so far, it said.

Amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, South Africa alone accounts for about 50 percent of all COVID-19 infections in the continent, followed by Egypt which has eight percent of all COVID-19 infections in the continent, the Africa CDC said.

The continental disease control and prevention agency said that South Africa is way ahead compared to the rest of the continent both in terms of number of COVID-19 cases and ratio of COVID-19 infected population, the country has so far reported 622,551 cases and 13,981 deaths as of Sunday.

The southern Africa country, which has so far registered 536,694 COVID-19 recoveries, has 1,060 cases per 100,000 population, according to the Africa CDC.

Egypt is the second most COVID-19 affected country with 98,497 positive cases and 5,376 COVID-19 related deaths, it was noted.

Morocco, which has so far reported 60,056 positive cases and 1,078 deaths, comes third with five percent of all COVID-19 infections in the continent, while Nigeria and Ethiopia round the top of five list. Nigeria has so far reported 53,727 positive cases and 1,011 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the Africa CDC.

Ethiopia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 49,654 as of Sunday morning, as the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the East African country to 770, the country's Ministry of Health said. Some 18,116 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had recovered, it was noted.

Noting that a total of 11.4 million tests have been reported by member States with an overall test per confirmed case ratio of 9.5, the Africa CDC stressed that some 11 African countries contribute 80 percent of the tests conducted so far, which are South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Mauritius, and Cameroon.

Meanwhile, in addition to the healthcare impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, the AU also revealed that the pandemic has exacerbated an "already dire" domestic revenue situation across the African continent."

"Undoubtedly, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a devastating situation for health systems and national incomes globally. Governments continue to strain their fiscal revenues as they implement emergency measures and recovery plans to sustain economies," Victor Harison, AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, said on Friday.

"This also has a significant negative effect on tax revenues, which provide a substantial source of revenue for most nations. In many African countries, the pandemic has exacerbated an already dire tax revenue situation," the AU Economic Affairs Commissioner added.

Figures from the 55-member pan African bloc show that Africa's GDP growth is projected to be between -4.9 percent and -2.1 percent in 2020, which would lead to a reduction of between 135 billion US dollars and 204 billion US dollars from pre-COVID-19 GDP of 2.59 trillion US dollars.

According to the AU, the COVID-19 crisis has increased poverty with the African Development Bank (AfDB) estimating that COVID-19 pandemic will push between 28.2 million and 49.2 million more Africans into extreme poverty.

Noting that the contracting economies are expected to translate into weaker fiscal positions for governments across the continent at a time of maximum need, the AU said the impact of the pandemic adversely impact domestic resource mobilization efforts, and likely lead to a reduction in overseas development assistance as donor countries face their own cash crunch in the midst of economic turmoil.

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