Increased testing needed as Africa sees rise in virus cases

Increased testing needed as Africa sees rise in virus cases
Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: As a result of holiday gatherings, African officials warn of a resurgence of coronavirus on the continent and urge increased testing to handle it.

The level of testing in African countries is considerably less than what health experts say is needed to effectively control the spread of the virus.

Africa makes up about 3.3% of the global total of confirmed Covid-19 cases, but this is believed to be just a fraction of the actual cases in Africa, home of 1.3 billion people.

When the coronavirus pandemic began only two of Africa’s 54 countries had laboratories to test for the disease. Now virtually every country in the continent can carry out the tests. According to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together Africa’s countries have conducted at least 25 million coronavirus tests, with a recent increase of 3%.

Compared to the small amount of Covid testing at the beginning of the pandemic, John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Director, has said the increased testing is “good progress and we continue to be hopeful of this.”

The distribution of the tests is very uneven. Just 10 countries — Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya and Cameroon — are carrying out more than 70% of the continent’s testing. To make the Covid-19 testing more widespread, 2.7 million additional tests have been procured by member states, the Africa CDC said some weeks ago.

Increased testing is needed to help the continent to locate where infections are rising and where additional medical responses are needed. And, when they become available to Africa, where vaccines should go.

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