The number of Covid-19 cases in Africa has doubled in less than 20 days and the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of a shortage of test kits.
“It took 98 days to reach the first 100,000 cases and only 19 days to move to 200,000 cases, so even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3% of the global total, it's clear that the pandemic is accelerating,” WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said Thursday during a press briefing.
There are currently more than 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,000 deaths on the continent, he said.
Moeti added that until a vaccine is developed, he expects a “steady increase” of coronavirus cases in the region, “with some hotspots having to be managed in a number of countries, as is happening now in South Africa, in Algeria, in Cameroon for example, which really require very strong measures, public health measures, social distancing measures to take place.''
According to Moeti, in most African countries coronavirus entered through the capital cities with travelers.
“It was through international travel, particularity people traveling in from Europe and as far as we know it has not yet reached in significant numbers those areas where we tend to find refugee camps or camps of internally displaced people but we certainly done the work with our partners to prepare for that,” Moeti said.
Moeti stressed that one of the biggest challenges in the African continent is the availability of supplies, “particularly test kits and this is due to disruptions in the global supply chain”, Moeti said, adding that “the U.N. has established a supply chain task force and other mechanisms are in place to address these shortages including work done by the African Union and more than 8 million diagnostic supplies and 200 million items of personal protective equipment are in the pipeline to be shipped to African countries.''