COVID-19 in Africa | Six in seven infections go undetected, WHO estimates

(Brazzaville) The real number of COVID-19 contaminations in Africa is seven times higher than according to official figures, which do not take into account asymptomatic subjects not detected for lack of tests, estimated Thursday the World Organization of the health (WHO), in a press release.

“As of October 10, 2021, the cumulative number of cases of COVID-19 infection was estimated at 59 million in Africa, a figure seven times higher than the more than eight million officially reported cases” on the continent, according to de new WHO estimates.

“Since the start of the pandemic, until October 10, African countries have recorded more than 70 million tests for COVID-19, which represents a tiny fraction of the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the country. continent ”, notes the WHO, lamenting that“ with a limited number of tests, we continue to ignore the real situation ”in Africa.

“The majority of screening tests are done on people who show symptoms of COVID-19, but asymptomatic people are the source of much of the transmission of the disease,” D saidr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

To overcome this lack of screening tests, WHO / Africa has announced a new initiative to improve the detection of COVID-19 cases in eight African countries: Burundi, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea- Bissau, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Zambia.

“The program aims to increase screening capacity in each participating country by 40%, ensuring that it reaches the WHO-recommended baseline of 10 tests performed each week per 10,000 people,” said WHO.

“In the absence of sufficient vaccines, a more proactive community screening effort is particularly important to reduce transmission in African countries where a relatively young population contributes to a high rate of asymptomatic infections”, explains the UN agency.

“An increased number of tests means rapid isolation of infected individuals, reduced transmission and more lives saved through targeted actions,” D explained.r Moeti, which will “break the chains of transmission and put an end to larger epidemic outbreaks”.

Nearly 8.4 million cases of COVID-19, including 214,000 deaths, have been recorded in Africa, one of the continents least affected by the pandemic.

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