Expert warns of Africa’s rapidly growing trend of new COVID-19 cases

An expert on Sunday expressed concern over the rapidly growing trend of new COVID-19 positive cases across countries in Africa, with a few African countries accounting for the largest share of new COVID-19 cases.

Between June 2 and 10 African countries reported 43,812 new COVID-19 cases, registering a 29 percent increase in new cases reported compared to what was reported in the previous week, according to figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as a socioeconomic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told Xinhua on Sunday that the rapidly increasing new COVID-19 positive cases are “extremely concerning.”

“Africa had been just recently accounting for a small fraction of the infections globally, but African countries have taken a disproportionate hit due to plummeting oil and commodity prices and weaker currencies, which ramp-up external debt servicing costs,” the expert said.

Costantinos, however, stressed that as new COVID-19 positive cases surged across countries in Africa in recent weeks, the pandemic is presently “taking its toll on both the health as well as the socioeconomic condition of Africa’s populous.”

According to figures from the continental disease control and prevention agency that five African countries account for about 72 percent of the new COVID-19 cases reported last week. The five countries are South Africa accounting for 38 percent of total newly reported cases, Egypt with 21 percent, Nigeria with 5 percent, Cameroon with 4 percent, and Ghana with 4 percent.

It also said that some seven African countries have reported COVID-19 case fatality rates comparable to or higher than the global average case fatality rate of 5.8 percent.

As Africa experiences spike in terms of new COVID-19 cases, experts are calling for international solidarity and support to Africa’s fight against the infectious virus.

“It’s only through global partnerships, with collaboration, and with supporting each other that we will be able to combat this virus,” said Antonio Pedro, Director of the UNECA’s Sub-regional Office for Central Africa, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

“The global solidarity against the COVID-19 is important because if we do not address the pandemic in Africa, it will affect the entire planet,” Pedro affirmed.

The ECA director also stressed that the global solidarity against the COVID-19 “goes beyond the short term imperative of curing people that have been affected and ensuring that people don’t infect, but also building back better.”

As of Sunday morning, the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the African continent surpassed 232,815 as the death toll from the pandemic also rose to 6,244, according to the Africa CDC.

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