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COVID-19: Nigeria likely to be first to get rid of coronavirus in Africa as cases rescind in the continent

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10 countries account for 87% of reported COVID-19 cases in the African

…10 countries now account for 87% of reported COVID-19 cases in the African Region-WHO report

By Audrey Lotechukwu

FRI, 18 SEPT 2020-theGBJournal-The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the WHO African Region has continued to decrease in the past weeks, with Nigeria looking the most likely to be the first African country to get rid of the virus.

Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Thursday announced the flattening of the curve after close to a month of repeated low number of infections was recorded.  The country has recorded a total of 56, 735, according the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), with just 1093 fatalities and the daily tally of new infections has been pegged back to a little above 100 in the past three weeks, in a country of over 200 million people. 48, 092 patients in total have been discharged from hospitals across the country.

In Africa there has been a 14% decrease in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO African Region), compared to the last reporting period. 83% of cases have recovered.

10 countries account for 87% (973,910) of reported COVID-19 cases in the African Region: South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar & Senegal. South Africa accounts for more than half of cases.

WHO said, since its last External Situation Report 28 issued on 9 September 2020, a total of 29,710 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 921 new deaths were reported from 46 countries between 9 and 15 September 2020.

This is a 14% and 22% decrease in incidence cases and deaths, respectively, as compared to 34 564 cases and 1 773 deaths registered during the previous reporting period (2 August – 8 September 2020). South Africa has consistently registered the largest number of reported cases for many weeks. It continues to account for more than half of the total cases, even as its cases continue to decline (a 9% decrease) in this reporting period.

According to the WHO data, Twenty-five countries recorded a decrease in new cases, with 17 of them registering a decrease of more than 20%; Congo (84%), Zimbabwe (77%), Guinea-Bissau (69%), Burundi (67%), Côte d’Ivoire (52%), Mali (45%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (42%), Gabon (39%), Rwanda (38%), Ethiopia (37%), Gambia (33%), Guinea (29%), Equatorial Guinea (25%), Madagascar (23), Eswatini (22%), Namibia (21%) and Benin (21%). We continue to maintain cautious optimism while interpreting these encouraging declining figures as they may be affected by many factors, including the current testing capacity and strategy, and delays in reporting.

During this reporting period, 14 countries reported the highest percentage increase in case-counts (above 20%); Burkina Faso (173%), Liberia (167%), Lesotho (106%), Angola (76%), Mozambique (75%), Mauritania (74%), Sierra Leone (72%), South Sudan (70%), Zambia (52%), Chad (50%), Central African Republic (44%), Senegal (44%), Uganda (42%) and Malawi (32%).

Only United Republic of Tanzania did not officially submit any report indicating any new confirmed case.

A total of 183 new health worker infections were recorded from eight countries: Ethiopia (81), Uganda (53), Namibia (44), Mozambique (2), Eswatini (1), and South Sudan (2).

During this period, 921 new COVID-19 related deaths occurred in 30 countries, with 555 (60%) of the deaths recorded in South Africa. This was followed by Ethiopia, with 86 (9.3%) deaths, Algeria with 61 (6.6%) and Kenya with 35 (3.8%). South Africa and Ethiopia registered a 32.6% and 28.9% decrease in the deaths reported, respectively; while the number of deaths in Kenya and Algeria increased by 59.1% and 15.1%, respectively.

The other 26 countries that reported new deaths during the reporting period include; Zambia (27), Nigeria (21), Namibia (17), Angola (15), Uganda (12), Ghana (11),Mozambique (9), Madagascar (8), Gambia (8), Democratic Republic of the Congo (7), Senegal (7), Togo (7), Congo (6), Zimbabwe (6), Eswatini (5), Cabo Verde (4), Botswana (2), Chad (2), Lesotho (2), Malawi (2), Rwanda (2), Côte d’Ivoire (1), Guinea-Bissau (1), Mali (1), and Mauritania (1). Cameroon, which is one of the top five most affected countries, reported no deaths in this period.

As of 15 September 2020, a cumulative total of 1 120 722 COVID-19 cases was reported in the region, including 1 120 721 confirmed, with one probable case reported in Democratic Republic of the Congo. South Africa has registered more than half, 58% (651 521), of all reported confirmed cases in the region. The other countries that have reported large numbers of cases are Ethiopia (65 486), Nigeria (56 478), Algeria (48 734), Ghana (45 655), Kenya (36 301), Cameroon (20 303), Côte d’Ivoire (19 100), Madagascar (15 803) and Senegal (14 529). These 10 countries collectively account for 87% (973 910) of all reported cases.

Of the 1 120 722 COVID-19 cases reported, 930 366 (83%) have recovered from across all the 47 countries in the region. Six countries are still reporting fewer than 1 000 cases: Sao Tome and Principe (907), Burundi (472), Comoros (457), Mauritius (365), Eritrea (364) and Seychelles (138).

The total number of deaths reported in the region is 24 244, reported in 45 countries, giving an overall case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.2%. Two countries, including Eritrea and Seychelles have not registered any COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in the region, the majority of the deaths have been reported from: South Africa 65% (15 641), Algeria 6.7% (1 632), Nigeria 4.5% (1 088), Ethiopia 4.3% (1 035), Kenya 2.6% (634), Cameroon 1.7% (415), Zambia 1.3% (324), Senegal 1.2% (298), Ghana 1.2% (294), Democratic Republic of the Congo 1.1% (267), and Zimbabwe 0.9% (224). The top five countries: South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria, Nigeria, and Kenya account for 83% (19 769) of the total deaths reported in the region. Chad (7.5%), Liberia (6.2%), Niger (6.0%), Mali (4.4%), Angola (4.0%), Sierra Leone (3.4%) and Burkina Faso (3.3%) have the highest country specific case fatality ratios.

WHO said, the current figures in the region represent 3.8% of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2.6% of deaths reported worldwide. South Africa remains the hardest hit country on the African continent and is ranked eighth globally, although with relatively low numbers of deaths.

Health worker infections continue to increase gradually with 42 236 (3.8%) infections reported in 42 countries since the beginning of the outbreak. South Africa remains the most affected, with 27 360 (65%) health workers infected, followed by Algeria (2 300), Ghana (2 065), Nigeria (2 025), Ethiopia (1 291), Kenya (970), Cameroon (803), Equatorial Guinea (429), Namibia (416), Senegal (349), Mozambique (305), Guinea-Bissau (282), Malawi (280), Eswatini (259) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (256). The other 28 countries that have recorded health worker infections are shown in Table 1. Liberia 16% (208/1 327), Niger 16% (184/1 180), Guinea Bissau 12% (282/2 275), Equatorial Guinea 8.6% (429/5 000) and Sierra Leone 8.2% (175/2 126), have the highest country specific proportion of health worker infections among confirmed cases.

Complete data on age and gender distribution is only available for 1.1% (11 852), males (61%) 7 219 in the 31-39 and 40-49 age groups are more affected than females (39%) 4 633 across the same age groups in the African region. The male to female ratio among confirmed cases is 1.6, and the median age is 37 years (range: 0 – 105).

Diverse transmission patterns have been observed across the region; with established community transmission seen in 35 (74%) of countries, only nine (19%) countries showing clusters of cases and three (6%) with sporadic cases.

As of 15 September 2020, the seven African countries in the WHO EMRO Region reported a total of 245 752 confirmed COVID-19 cases: Egypt (101 340), Morocco (90 324), Libya (24 144), Sudan (13 535), Tunisia (7 623), Djibouti (5 396), and Somalia (3 390). Additionally, a total of 8 828 deaths has been recorded from Egypt (5 679), Morocco (1 648), Sudan (836), Libya (383), Somalia (98), Tunisia (123) and Djibouti (61).

According to WHO, ‘’cumulatively, 1 366 474 confirmed COVID-19 cases 33 072 deaths (case fatality ratio 2.4%) with 1 117 576 cases that have recovered have been reported in the African continent.’’

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