Friday marked six months since Africa detected its first COVID-19 case on the continent. Marking the milestone in a statement, World Health Organisation (WHO) African Region says while the virus has raced through many other regions of the world, the pandemic’s evolution on the African continent has been different.
“Preliminary analysis by WHO finds that an exponential surge in cases which peak about two to three weeks later is not occurring in Africa. Instead, many countries are experiencing a gradual rise in COVID-19 cases and it is difficult to discern a specific peak. Transmission patterns also differ between countries, but more importantly within countries.”
According to the WHO Africa Region, COVID-19 mainly affected capital cities. However, the virus is now moving from high-density urban areas to informal settlements and then onward to rural areas that have a lower population density.
The first confirmed case was in Egypt. Currently there are 932 168 cumulative cases on the continent and 18 242 deaths.
WHO is supporting countries witnessing a large number of COVID-19 infections. Last week, the first members of a surge team arrived in South Africa. WHO is also increasing support to other countries that have requested urgent assistance by mobilising more technical experts on the ground and by scaling up training to build local capacity, particularly at the provincial and district level.