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COVID-19: Rate of new Africa cases falls amid more testing

Johannesburg: Africa's top public health official says the rate of confirmed new Coronavirus cases has fallen again, by 14% from the previous week.

John Nkengasong dismisses the idea of a hidden pandemic on the continent, telling reporters that testing has improved significantly in Africa's 54 countries and close to 1% of the total population of 1.3 billion has been tested for the virus.

He says earlier concerns about testing shortages are disappearing as countries test more, and the easing curve represents a sign of hope. Africa has a total of 1.2 million confirmed cases, roughly half in South Africa.

In the coming weeks we'll see dynamics begin to change with the introduction of antigen tests, Nkengasong says. We're very encouraged it can transform the situation as they can be easily decentralized for use beyond major cities and give a clearer picture of infections.

In response to the Trump administration saying it will not work with an international cooperative effort to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine globally, Nkengasong says we are in this together. No country will be safe if any country in the world still has cases of COVID.

The overall number of global Coronavirus cases was nearing the 26 million mark, while the deaths have increased to over 861,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 25,934,466 and the fatalities rose to 861,512, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 6,113,160 and 185,704 respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 3,997,865 infections and 123,780 deaths.

In terms of cases, India ranks third (3,769,523), and is followed by Russia (1,001,965), Peru (657,129), South Africa (630,595), Colombia (624,069), Mexico (610,957), Spain (479,554), Argentina (439,172), Chile (414,739), Iran (378,752), the UK (340,929), France (331,034), Bangladesh (317,528), Saudi Arabia (317,486), Pakistan (296,590), Turkey (273,301), Italy (271,515), Germany (247,411), Iraq (242,284), Philippines (226,440), Indonesia (180,646), Canada (131,941), Ukraine (128,833), Israel (121,464), Qatar (119,206), Bolivia (117,267), Ecuador (115,457) and Kazakhstan (105,944), the CSSE figures showed. The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the India (66,333), Mexico (65,816), the UK (41,602), Italy (35,497), France (30,692), Spain (29,194), Peru (29,068), Iran (21,797), Colombia (20,052), Russia (17,365), South Africa (14,389) and Chile (11,344).

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