The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Monday revealed the death toll due to illnesses related to the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 23, 253.
The continent-wide COVID-19 related death toll registered an increase of 287 deaths compared to Sunday’s 22,966 death toll report.
The Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the African Union (AU) Commission, in its latest situation update issued on Monday, said the number of COVID-19 cases across the African continent has risen from 1,036,564 on Sunday to 1,047,218 as of Monday.
The continental disease control and prevention agency also said the number of people who recovered from their COVID-19 infections also reached 733,375 so far.
South Africa currently has the most COVID-19 cases at 559,858. South Africa also has the highest COVID-19 related deaths currently standing at 10,408.
Egypt comes next with 95,492 COVID-19 cases and 5,009 COVID-19 related deaths followed by Nigeria which has so far recorded 46,577 COVID-19 cases and 945 deaths.
The Southern Africa region is the most affected area in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Northern Africa and Western Africa regions, the Africa CDC said.
Amid the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the continent, the Africa CDC had on Friday urged the African continent to increase compliance to the public health and social measures as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to gain momentum in Africa.
“We must increase mass wearing of masks as we expand testing and treatment services,” the Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said in his message following the launch of the World Mask Week, slated from August 7 to 14, as an effort to increase the use of face coverings in public across the globe.
As the pandemic spread across Africa, the Africa CDC together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 40 other global, regional and national organizations and institutions have initiated the Pandemic Action Network, which launched the World Mask Week that envisaged increasing the use of face coverings in public in Africa and beyond.
According to the Africa CDC, the newly introduced initiative encourages people and organizations in Africa and beyond to rally behind the importance of wearing a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19 during World Mask Week and every week until there is a vaccine available.
The initiative was launched by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as part of his Wear a Mask challenge to mark the beginning of World Mask Week, asking people to share their mask photos and videos, it was noted.
“Given the alarming exponential increase of infection rates in Africa and across the globe, sustained community masking in public is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19, even as situations vary around the world,” the Africa CDC statement read.
“Until we have vaccines or medicines to fight COVID-19, face coverings are one of the best tools we have — particularly where social distancing is not practical,” the Africa CDC noted.
The Africa CDC, which noted that some 41 countries are practicing mandatory public use of face masks, stressed that preventing a crisis such as acute shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers “should be prioritized by health authorities in Africa as part of the COVID-19 response.”
Amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent, the Africa CDC had also disclosed recently that some 34 African countries are under “full border closure” in an effort to halt the spread of the infectious virus.