The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the African continent reached 2,304,485 with a death toll of 54,856 as of Thursday afternoon, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
A total of 1,968,447 people infected with COVID-19 have recovered across the continent so far, according to the continental disease control and prevention agency.
The most COVID-19 affected African countries in terms of the number of positive cases include South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia, figures from the Africa CDC showed.
The southern Africa region is the most COVID-19 affected region both in terms of the number of confirmed positive cases as well as the number of deaths. The northern Africa region is the second most COVID-19-affected African region, it was noted.
Meanwhile, African experts stressed that the continent “is better prepared to deal with a second wave of COVID-19 after stakeholders put measures in place to counter the initial pandemic’s adverse health effects.”
The joint statement was made by a panel of experts who took part in a special event on the second day of the 2020 virtual Africa Economic Conference, with the theme, “Africa Beyond COVID-19: Acceleration Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Development.”
John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC, told the high-level continental gathering that the African continent “is much more prepared to deal with the second wave than we were 11 months ago.”
According to the Africa CDC Director, much has been done to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic, including increasing laboratory testing capacity, beefing up primary healthcare defence mechanisms, and leveraging technology to reduce human contact.
Nkengasong, however, emphasized that there are concerns that Africa lacks a competent workforce, and remains a spectator of research and development with regards to anti-COVID-19 efforts.
One area where Africa lags behind other regions is with the development of the vaccines, on which a number of developed countries are already working on administering to their citizens.
Nkengasong also lauded African governments for speedily putting in place diagnostic measures against the outbreak.
According to Nkengasong, within one year six countries have been able to develop diagnostics for this viral disease. These countries are Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal and Morocco.