BRAZZAVILLE, Congo | Africa has been spared the “exponential spread” of the feared COVID-19 epidemic when the new coronavirus appeared on the continent, welcomed the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The transmission of COVID-19 in Africa has been marked by a relatively lower number of infections, which have declined over the past two months,” said the regional directorate of the WHO, based in Brazzaville, in a report. press release reached AFP on Friday.
“Since July 20, the region has seen a sustained decline in new cases of COVID-19. During the past four weeks, 77,147 new cases have been reported, against 131,647 in the previous four weeks, ”detailed the WHO.
“Some of the worst affected countries, including Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, have all seen the infections drop every week for the past two months ”.
The WHO estimates “that the low density (…) of the population, the hot and humid climate, the lower age group, combine to accentuate their individual effects and probably contribute” to these good results.
The pandemic in Africa has thus mainly affected young people, the majority on the continent: “About 91% of cases of infection by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa concern people under the age of 60, and more than 80% of cases are asymptomatic ”.
The downward trend “reflects the energetic and decisive public health measures taken by governments across the Region,” also noted WHO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti in a virtual meeting on Thursday.
African countries have gone as far as total or partial containment measures, very costly for their economy, as in South Africa.
“But we must not relax our vigilance,” warned the regional director, because “the slower spread of the infection in the region means that we expect the pandemic to continue to smolder for some time, with occasional outbreaks ”.
“In recent weeks, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire, which are among the countries which have recorded a drop in infections since mid-July, have seen their number of cases increase slightly.”
The level of tests “remains low”, finally notes the WHO, without worrying about the overall statistics: “the missed cases of COVID-19 are largely due to the fact that they are asymptomatic. In addition, there is no evidence that the death figures were wrong, as they are more difficult to omit statistically ”.