The coronavirus pandemic has been confirmed in over 180 countries globally since it was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic due to its spread. All African countries have since recorded cases as governments roll out measures to combat the spread.
In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent.
Major African stats: May 31 at 7:00 GMT:
- Confirmed cases = 141,599
- Number of deaths = 4,070
- Recoveries = 59,191
- Active cases = 78,338
Lesotho confirms index case
Comoros records first case
US support for Kenya, South Africa; Africa’s equipment crunch
Africa case increase worries experts
May 31: China to support Africa with virus logistics
China will give Africa 30 million test kits per month, as well as 10 000 ventilators and 80 million masks, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed on Sunday during a virtual meeting with top editors in the country.
He did not specify when this initiative will start or how long it would run. Beijing has sent logistic and human resource support to a number of African countries since the pandemic arrived on the continent.
One of the major initial supply of logistics came from businessman Jack Ma, whose foundation teamed up with Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed and the AU to distribute logistics across the continent.
China, weeks on, became the center of mass media reports bordering on racist treatment of Africans in the industrial hub of Guangzhou. African diplomats and the AU asked Beijing to take action on the issue.
Back in South Africa, Ramaphosa who is the chairperson of the African Union also defended the decision to reopen the economy of Africa’s most industrialized nation despite being the most impacted and the having carried out the most tests.
“It’s now time to open up the economy. We can not keep it shut forever,” he is quoted to have said. He confirmed that the country was running out of test kits as recently reported by the health ministry.
He also reiterated that the the main problem with the health system now was that it had far lesser Intensive Care Unit, ICU, beds that it will need at the peak of the pandemic. South Africa will need up to 25,000 ICU beds at peak of pandemic, and it only has 3,500, he disclosed.
“This is the big challenge,” he added. Some hospitals have increased their ICU beds, but health ministry needs to “focus more” on this, he stressed.
May 13: Lesotho confirms index case
Lesotho confirmed its index case of COVID-19 in a press release issued on May 13. The country becomes the last on the continent to record a case.
The statement signed by Director-General of Health Services said in part: “The Ministry of Health informs the Basotho nation and the entire community living in Lesotho, that the country now has the first confirmed case of COVID-19.
“On the 9th May, 2020, the Ministry conducted 81 (eighty one) tests for COVID-19 from travellers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia.”
It said results that came back from South Africa on the 12th May 2020 indicated that “Eighty people tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19 whiles ONE tested POSITIVE for COVID-19.”
Till date, the country have obtained out 597 specimens which have been tested by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases, NICD; 295 are negative and 301 are still pending results.
First case of coronavirus in the Comoros – President confirms
Comoros announced its index case of the novel coronavirus this Thursday, April 30, 2020. The President of the Republic Azali Assoumani explained that the patient is a 50-year-old Franco-Comorian who has since been admitted to a hospital.
Borders are closed in Comoros while a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. is in effect. During this Ramadan period, the mosques are also closed but there is no full lockdown.
Azali Assoumani explained that contact tracing is being carried out. With this development, it leaves Lesotho as the sole African country without a confirmed case.
April 24: Trump speaks with Ramaphosa and Kenyatta
President of the United States Donald Trump has spoken to two African leaders pledging his country’s support for their respective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump spoke with South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta expressing America’s support to the two countries and pledging additional support.
The South African president is also current chairperson of the African Union, AU; he is leading Africa’s most impacted country and the continent’s effort to get international support to fight the pandemic.
South Africa’s coronavirus statistics as at April 24 at 7:00 GMT were as follows: 3,953 confirmed cases, 1,473 recoveries and 75 deaths. Kenya on the other hand had 320 cases, 89 recoveries and 14 deaths.