68 percent of people who contracted COVID-19 in Africa have recovered while five countries – South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria account for 75 percent of all cases

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About 68 percent of people who contracted COVID-19 in Africa have recovered, the Africa CDC announced at a briefing on Thursday.

“Nearly 68% of all cases have recovered, (673,757 recoveries),” Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of Africa CDC, said at his regular press briefing from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As of Thursday morning, 992,710 infections and 21,617 deaths have been reported in Africa, giving a case fatality rate of 2.2 percent, he said.

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“Total new cases in the past week were 99,599, a 11% increase over the previous week. Compared to a 16% increase (121,323 new cases) for the week of 23-29 July 2020, the number of new cases for this week has decreased. Total new deaths were 2,739 and total new recoveries were 129,616. Average daily new cases for the week was 14,228,” he added.

According to him, “out of the total number of cases reported, the information for gender is available for 656,539 cases or 66% of all cases reported. Out of these, 48% (315,232) were male and 52% (341,307) female.”

To date 50 Member States have reported 15,291 healthcare workers infected with COVID-19. This is equivalent to 1.8% of the cases reported from these countries.

Dr. Nkengasong said, “though the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase on the continent, just 5 countries account for 75% of all cases in Africa. The countries are South Africa 529,877 (53.4%), Egypt 94,875 (9.6%), Nigeria 44,890 (4.5%), Ghana 39,075 (3.9%), Algeria 32,499 (3.3%)”.

Below are excerpts of his remarks.

Good morning from Addis Ababa, and thank you to everyone joining us for this week’s press briefing.

I’d like to first share my deepest gratitude to all of the health care workers who are working nonstop under challenging situations to support response efforts to the ongoing pandemic across Africa.

As we continue on in the fight against COVID-19, it is important that we recognize those on the frontlines, working day and night to slow transmission, as well as detect and treat those affected by the virus.

Situational Update

At this time, I’d like to provide an update on the epidemiologic situation in Africa

As of 9:00 am East Africa Time today, the global number of reported COVID-19 cases has risen to over 18 million and close to 700,000 deaths

Africa Union Member States have reported 992,710 cases and 21,617 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 2.2%.

Nearly 68% of all cases have recovered, (673,757 recoveries)

Total new cases in the past week were 99,599, a 11% increase over the previous week. Compared to a 16% increase (121,323 new cases) for the week of 23-29 July 2020, the number of new cases for this week has decreased.

Total new deaths were 2,739 and total new recoveries were 129,616

Average daily new cases for the week was 14,228

Out of the total number of cases reported, the information for gender is available for 656,539 cases or 66% of all cases reported. Out of these, 48% (315,232) were male and 52% (341,307) female

To date 50 Member States have reported 15,291 healthcare workers infected with COVID-19. This is equivalent to 1.8% of the cases reported from these countries.

Though the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase on the continent, just 5 countries account for 75% of all cases in Africa are:

South Africa 529,877 (53.4%)

Egypt 94,875 (9.6%)

Nigeria 44,890 (4.5%)

Ghana 39,075 (3.9%)

Algeria 32,499 (3.3%)

Countries reporting the highest number of cases per 1,000,000 population are

South Africa (9,120)

Djibouti (5,330)

Cabo Verde (4,481)

Sao Tome and Principe (4,390)

Gabon (3,708)

countries are reporting case fatality rates comparable to or higher than the global case fatality rate of 3.8%[SD1] 

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (20.0%)

Chad (8.0%)

Sudan (6.5%)

Liberia (6.4%)

Niger (6.0%)

Egypt (5.2%)

Burkina Faso (4.7%)

Angola (4.4%)

Tanzania (4.1%)

Algeria (3.8%)

For the latest information on the epidemiologic situation in Africa, I encourage the public to visit the Africa CDC’s COVID-19 dashboard on our website at: africacdc.org/covid-19

Testing and Supplies Update

We have now seen total tests conducted across Africa reach over 8.8 million

This is 9.4% increase over the past week

This indicates that we have reached nearly 90% of our PACT goal to facilitate 10 million tests on the continent.

10 countries contribute 79.7% of these tests, having conducted more than 200,000 tests – South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Mauritius

Provided 900 GeneXpert cartridges to Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, in addition to 240,000 test kits and 250,000 extraction kits distributed to 14 Member States and 2 research institutes

Capacity Development for Member States

In light of many AU Member States beginning to open up their borders for travel and business, Africa CDC this week, conducted webinars on the resumption of travel and reopening of borders as well as discussions on lockdowns and the easing of restrictions.

These webinars highlighted implications for cross-border surveillance, as well as what can be done to adapt to the local context and protect vulnerable populations.

Furthermore, our team shared updates on transmission of COVID-19 and clinical ventilation (droplets and airborne), and hosted a webinar discussing the clinical community of practice titled Innovations in the Management of Severe and Critical COVID-19 – The Ghanaian experience, with an audience of over 300.

On the ground, advanced training in the use of the GeneXpert machine for COVID-19 testing is being conducted in Central Africa region.

In total, the clinical community of practise has trained nearly 9,000 clinicians

Upcoming Events

World Mask Week, a global movement led by the Pandemic Action Network to encourage more people to wear face covering to help stop the spread of COVID-19, will begin tomorrow, Friday 7 August until Friday 14 August.

Consistent and widespread mask wearing is one of the best tools that we have to slow transmission and turn the tide against COVID-19

Today, at 6:00 PM Eastern Africa Time, Africa CDC will hold a training on infection prevention and control for journalists. All journalists are invited. Registration and more details can be found on the Africa CDC website.

Saving Lives & Saving Economies Announcement

Now, with many Member States beginning to reopen their borders and economies, we must be alert and take pre-emptive measures to ensure that our progress in fighting the pandemic is not lost.

That is why I am pleased to announce Africa CDC’s “Saving Lives and Saving Economies” campaign, aimed at protecting our borders, economies, and schools.

The campaign will take a three-prong approach, first, focusing on scaling up testing at borders and during travel using the PACT initiative of test, trace, treat.

Secondly, we aim to partner with the private sector for innovative approaches to enhance surveillance and data within inter- and intra- economic regions, in order to protect the livelihoods and economies across the continent.

And finally, with schools reopening later this year, we will look to develop and/or leverage existing testing programs at schools through PACT, while focusing on risk assessment and management in order to safely resume educational instruction for all our students.

Dealing with a pandemic as challenging as COVID-19 has highlighted the need to share critical COVID-19 data – as it relates to surveillance, demographic and geo-location information, treatments, and more.

Technology, which plays a fundamental role in our daily lives, now plays a critical role in aiding public health professionals, governments, businesses, and communities with COVID-19 response efforts, and will be an underpinning of this campaign.

In line with our desire to partner with the private sector for innovative solutions, we are in ongoing discussions with a coalition of pan-African institutions that have united to deploy a common technology intervention to support the Saving Lives and Saving Economies campaign.

These institutions have united behind the need to create a unified technology platform based on the PanaBIOS framework, currently being piloted in Ghana, to support the African Union’s harmonized approach to responding to the opening of borders and travel.

These technologies will help us address cross-border travel restrictions, enhanced surveillance of potential hotspots across countries, and lowering the costs and inconvenience of travel-related quarantine.

While discussions are ongoing, we are in talks with institutions such as African Organization of Standards, Africa Academy of Sciences, AfroChampions, African Scientific Research and Innovation Council, MTN, Afreximbank, and many more.

More details on this exciting technology will be shared at a later date.

We are tremendously proud of the outstanding collaboration between public and private sectors to support African-led efforts in fighting the ongoing pandemic.

Without such partnerships, we alone cannot win the battle against COVID-19.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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