Monday, July 22, 2024

The UN says Covid-19 likely to kill over 300k people in Africa

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

The United Nations has warned that the current coronavirus pandemic is likely to kill at least 300,000 people in Africa.

The global body also said the pandemic could also push nearly 30 million people into poverty over the next 3 to 6 months.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa has now called for a $100bn safety net for the continent as well as a halt to external debt payments.

In a statement the UN body said “The pandemic continues to impact on the Continent’s struggling economies whose growth is expected to slow down from 3.2 percent to 1.8 percent in a best-case scenario, pushing close to 27 million people into extreme poverty.”

In a report launched on Friday titled, COVID-19: Protecting African Lives and Economies, the UN body said “Africa’s fragile health systems could see additional costs being imposed on them because of the growing crisis that has to-date, resulted in over 16,000 infected Africans and claimed over 800 lives at the time of the report’s launch.”

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“To protect and build towards the Continent’s shared prosperity, $100 billion is needed to urgently and immediately provide fiscal space to all countries to help address the immediate safety net needs of the populations,” reiterates Vera Songwe, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa.


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Lower Pandemic figures

Since the onset of the pandemic Africa has had relatively lower death rates and infections compared to other parts of the world.

Currently 52 member states in Africa are reporting of 18,333 cases with 961 deaths and 4,352 recoveries.

But the reason why the WHO is worried about the covid-19 responses is the fear that other critical illnesses that are deadly would be neglected.

Should that happen, many could die and gains made in fighting diseases like Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Polio could be eroded.

There have always been a caution from the WHO that the continent could be the next epicenter of the pandemic due to weak health systems in Africa.

Africa also lacks Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks and other clothing. There are also limited ventilators to deal with a pandemic in many countries.

More testing

Officials are now focusing on scaling up testing across the continent so cases can be isolated early and treated.

South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana are countries where the local community spread of the disease is surging.

The World Health Organization is hoping the trend could be reversed and stopped in other countries.


Africa denies under-reporting coronavirus cases



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