Brazzaville – “The spread of COVID-19 in Africa has been marked by a relatively low number of infections, which have decreased in the past two months due to various socio-ecological factors and early public health measures by governments across the region”, says a report by the World Health Organization , which seeks to explain the low prevalence of the pandemic in most African Countries.
One of the factors considered is the high proportion of young people in the African population. “About 91 percent of COVID-19 cases in sub-Saharan Africa affect people under the age of 60, and more than 80 percent of cases are asymptomatic”, it said.
In addition, a number of socio-ecological factors such as low population density and mobility, hot and humid climate contribute to the development observed in Africa.
There has been a sustained decline in new COVID-19 cases in the region since July 20. 77,147 new infections were reported in the past four weeks, compared to 131,647 in the previous four weeks.
Some of the hardest hit Countries, including Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa, have all seen a weekly decrease in infections over the past two months. The number of COVID-19-related deaths also remained low in the region.
“The downward trend that we have seen in Africa over the past few months is undoubtedly a positive development and testament to the determined and decisive action taken by governments across the region in the area of public health”, said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for WHO Africa. “Other parts of the world have seen similar trends and have found that as soon as public health and social measures are eased, cases increase again”.
“Africa has not experienced the exponential spread of COVID-19 as many originally feared”, said Dr. Moeti. “However, the slower spread of the infection in the region means that we expect the pandemic to continue to spread for some time, with occasional outbreaks”.
“The measures in African Countries must be adapted to the situation in each Country, as we see different infection patterns even within the same Country. Targeted and local responses based on what works best in a given area will become even more important as States ease restrictions and open up their economies. It is not possible to adopt generalized approaches to the region or to the countries”, concludes Dr. Moeti.