COVID-19 Situation Update for Africa, August

27 August, 2020

External Situation Reports on COVID-19 from the African Regional Office (AFRO) of the World Health Organization (WHO AFRO) are published on a weekly basis. The AFRO region includes 47 countries.

Note: official reports inherently have a time lag. The situation is rapidly evolving, and the number of cases and countries/territories with exported cases may have already increased since these reports were issued. See the International SOS Latest News for the latest information.

26 August: This week’s African Regional update details an ongoing declining trend in the past three weeks, despite the region reaching 1 million cases. In the week to 25 August, there were 52,544 new COVID-19 cases and 1,562 deaths across 45 countries. Among the cases this week were 214 health care workers, taking the total to 39,192.

South Africa continues to be the worst affected country, accounting for 40% of the newest cases, however cases are declining. Other heavily affected countries are also showing a declining trend; Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar and Zambia. The WHO continue to caution that delays in reporting and testing capacity may be affecting the trend.

Cases more than doubled in Comoros, Rwanda and Uganda, while Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone and Togo also reported large percentage increases.

In total, the 47 countries of the African Region have reported 1,014,834 cases and 20,787 deaths. This represents 4.3% of global cases and 2.6% of global deaths.

20 August: The latest report on COVID-19 in the African region shows that the outbreak continue to slow down for a second week. In the week to 18 August, there were 56,508 new cases and 2,071 deaths reported – a 25% decrease on the cases reported the week prior.

Declining cases in South Africa, Algeria, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria continue to fuel the downward trend, although the WHO caution this may be due to additional factors such as limited testing capacity or delays in reporting.

Increased percentage of new cases were reported in Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Namibia and Malawi. Mauritius reported their first cases in over three weeks – in returned citizens.

Infections in healthcare workers continue; Mauritania reported their first infection since the start of the outbreak. In total over 38,700 healthcare workers have been infected across 42 countries.

A cumulative total of 962,290 cases and 19,225 deaths have been reported from the 47 countries of the African Region. This represents around 4.4% of global cases and 2.5% of global deaths.

12 August: In the update for the week ending 11 August, 75,326 new cases and 2,447 deaths were reported from 44 countries in the African Region. The outbreak has been slowing in the region over the last fortnight, fueled by declining cases in the worst affected country of South Africa.

Algeria, Ghana and Nigeria have also shown declining trends in the last week. The WHO warns however that these findings may be due to testing capacity and strategy, not just the outbreak coming under control. Cases have been surging in Ethiopia and Zambia over the last month. Cases almost doubled in Gambia in the previous week.

A total of 905,782 COVID-10 cases and 17,154 deaths have been confirmed across the 47 AFRO countries as of 11 August. With the inclusion of another 157,983 cases from the seven countries in the Middle Eastern Region, over 1 million cases have been reported on the African continent.

6 August: Cases across the African region continue to increase, with over 95,000 new cases confirmed and 2,231 deaths in the week to 4 August. South Africa accounted for 68% of cases and 78% of deaths this week. A total of 830,456 cases and 14,707 deaths have been reported from the 47 countries. Community transmission is ongoing in 33 of the countries.

Large increases were reported in Gambia (326 to 799 cases), Equatorial Guinea (2,350 to 4,821), Zimbabwe (2,817 to 4,221 cases), Lesotho (505 to 726 cases), Angola (1, 000 to 1,344 cases), Zambia (5,002 to 6,580 cases) and Ethiopia (15,200 to 19,875 cases).

Large numbers of retrospective health care worker infections were reported from Kenya (681) and Ethiopia (391). A total of 15,662 health care workers have been infected in the African region to date. The 200 infections in Liberia and 184 in Niger account for 16% of all healthcare staff being infected in those countries.

The African continent, including seven countries from the Middle Eastern region, now has a total of 978,481 confirmed cases and 21,098 deaths.


See the July updates for Africa here.


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