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Africa’s COVID-19 cases surpass 800k, with over 17k deaths

Some countries are now approaching a critical number of infections with fears the virus could put further strain on health systems.

FILE: A man walks with a face mask at the Kantamanto market after the partial lockdown in parts of Ghana to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus was lifted in Accra, Ghana on 20 April 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa has surpassed the 800,000 mark with infections expected to surge as the economic impact of the pandemic has forced most governments to ease restrictions.

Some countries are now approaching a critical number of infections with fears the virus could put further strain on health systems.

South Africa is now among the worst-hit countries in the world. with the fifth-highest caseload and makes up more than half of the confirmed cases on the continent.

While the virus hit Africa later than other continents, the pandemic is now gaining momentum with South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria the leading countries with the most cases on the continent.

At least 828,219 cases have been confirmed so far with over 17,000 deaths reported across Africa’s 54 states.

The pandemic has put pressure on healthcare systems with those in the front lines hardest hit.

This week the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 10,000 health workers have contracted the virus in the African region.

Meanwhile, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called for more aggressive testing after concerns that the real number of infections could be unknown due to limited testing capabilities, while countries like Tanzania have stopped supplying the centre with statistics since May.

With 37 countries reporting less than 5,000 cases, Africa’s COVID-19 recovery rate per country stands at 54%.

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