More 52,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Africa from over 2.1 million infections, according to the latest data released by the Africa CDC.
The data show the continent of 1.3 billion people recorded less than 200 deaths on Wednesday.
Africa has been less impacted by the coronavirus than other continents, and many reasons have been given for the low death toll, including its younger population, and the lack of controversy over public health measures such as social distancing and wearing of face masks.
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Most of the cases in Africa have come from southern and northern Africa, followed by Eastern and Western Africa.
Central Africa has the lowest number of cases at the moment. The region has recorded only a little over 66,000 cases since the pandemic began.
Overall, about 48 000 new cases and just under 1000 new deaths were reported last week; a 3% and -10% change from the previous week, respectively, according to weekly data released by the World Health organization.
The highest number of new cases and deaths were reported from South Africa (19 730 new cases, 333 new cases per 1 million), Algeria (7438 new cases, 170 new cases per 1 million), Kenya (6201 new cases, 115 new cases per 1 million), Ethiopia (3578 new cases, 31 new cases per 1 million), and Uganda (2277 new cases, 50 new cases per 1 million), which collectively account for 81% of all new cases in the Region.
For the past three weeks, cases in South Africa have increased by over 20% week-on-week, and last week 19 730 new cases were reported (3500 more than the previous week).
The WHO said the rise in new cases in the Western Cape (including in Cape Town) and Eastern Cape provinces remain a cause for concern. As of 30 November, Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, and Kwa-Zulu-Natal provinces have reported 79% of total cumulative cases.
In East Africa, Ethiopia reported 3578 new cases (31 new cases per 1 million) and 59 deaths (0.5 new deaths per 1 million) in the past week. The number of new cases being reported from Ethiopia has fallen considerably since a peak at the end of August when there were over 10 000 new cases per week. This week the number of new cases rose by 18%, while new deaths fell by 17% from the previous week.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned that a full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding as thousands of refugees in the Tigray region seek safety in eastern Sudan. At the 70th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa held last week, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health highlighted the need to continue to be vigilant in COVID-19 testing, isolation and treatment, and maintaining strong communication on public health and social measures.
In Central Africa, Cameroon reported 589 new cases (22 new cases per 1 million) and 2 new deaths (0.1 new deaths per 1 million) in the past week.
Since first declaring cases on March 6, new cases rose to peak at around 2000 cases per week at the end of June and in early July. However, the number of new cases declined in July and have averaged below 400 per week since early August.
For the past two weeks cases have risen above this average, with 836 new cases two weeks ago and nearly 600 cases reported this last week.
Last week UNHCR warned that as the pandemic continues, a lethal mix of state at home orders, deepening poverty and economic duress is unleashing a wave of violence against refugee, displaced and stateless women and girls. UNHCR report that in North-West and South-West Cameroon where the security situation remains volatile, a staggering 26% of gender-based violence incidents logged since the onset of the pandemic relate to children.