The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa surged to 1,187,937 as the death toll from the pandemic rose to 27,779, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Monday.
The number of people who recovered from their COVID-19 infections rose to 906,691 as of Monday, said Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the African Union (AU) Commission, in its latest situation update.
South Africa currently has the most COVID-19 cases, which hit 609,773. The country also has the highest number of deaths related to COVID-19, at 13,059, according to figures from the Africa CDC.
Egypt came next with 97,340 confirmed cases and 5,262 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 52,227 cases and 1,002 deaths, Africa CDC said.
The southern Africa region is the most affected area in terms of confirmed cases, followed by northern Africa and western Africa regions, it was noted.
According to the Africa CDC, Ethiopia is also one of the African countries that have reported a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases during the past few weeks.
The East African country had until Monday morning reported 40,671 total confirmed COVID-19 cases as the death toll from the pandemic rose to 678. Some 14,995 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered so far, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.
On Saturday, the continental disease control and prevention agency had urged the continent to avoid coronavirus “prevention fatigue.”
The urgent call was made by John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC, who noted “a slight decrease” in COVID-19 infection rates on the continent, and said this “gives some signs of hope that we are beginning to bend the curve slowly,” an AU statement issued on Saturday quoted Nkengasong as saying.
The Africa CDC Director, however, cautioned the continent “to maintain and increase the use of masks, social distancing, and to ramp up testing, even as countries begin to ease lockdown measures.”
“We do not want the population to show prevention fatigue,” Nkengasong said, adding that “we are dealing with a delicate virus that can easily flare up again very quickly, as has been witnessed in other parts of the world.”
In the past week, Africa reported an average of 10,344 new cases per day, compared to 11,494 the week before and 14,447 the previous week, according to figures from the Africa CDC.
The Africa CDC also announced that Africa is working towards “trusted testing” for COVID-19 to protect travel and borders. This will entail mutual recognition of certified COVID-19 testing among all member states, to allow for smooth movement across the continent.
Nkengasong said the Partnership for Increased COVID19 Testing (PACT) “will be used to enhance surveillance in different economic sectors.”
The continental PACT initiative, which was rolled out in June when the continent had conducted under 400,000 tests, had a target of 10 million tests across the continent.
A few months later, 10,256,000 tests have been conducted, the majority of them in ten countries that are South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda and Mauritius.
The Africa CDC also disclosed a new target of 20 million tests has now been set for the period from now until the beginning of November, to capitalize on the gains recorded so far.