COVID-19 transmission in Africa has been marked by relatively fewer infections, which have been on the decline over the past two months.
A mix of socio-ecological factors such as low population density and mobility, hot and humid climate, lower age group, interacting to accentuate their individual effects, are likely contributing to the pattern seen in Africa.
Since 20 July, the region has seen a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases. Over the past four weeks, 77 147 new cases were reported, down from 131 647 recorded in the previous four weeks.
“The downward trend that we have seen in Africa over the past two months is undoubtedly a positive development and speaks to the robust and decisive public health measures taken by governments across the region,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
“But we must not become complacent. Other regions of the world have experienced similar trends only to find that as social and public health measures are relaxed, cases start ramping up again.”
Dr Moeti “But the slower spread of infection in the region means we expect the pandemic to continue to smoulder for some time, with occasional flare-ups.”
In recent weeks, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire which are among the countries that have recorded a decline in infections since mid-July, have seen a slight increase in cases. It is crucial that countries maintain public health measures that have helped curb the spread of COVID-19 to limit further infections and deaths.
“The response in African countries needs to be tailored to each country’s situation moving forward as we see different patterns of infection even within a country. Targeted and localized responses that are informed by what works best in a given region of a country will be most crucial as countries ease restrictions and open up their economies. Blanket approaches to the region or countries are not feasible,” Dr Moeti said.
Dr Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today organized by APO Group.