African nations are banking on aggressive screening and testing strategies as their best – and possibly only – defence against the Covid-19 virus. After a slow start, a sudden rise of more than 40% in the number of Covid-19 cases on the continent in the last 10 days – to 28,000 – and a similar increase in the number of deaths – to 1,300 – has worried specialists. The World Health Organization has warned of 10 million cases on the continent within three to six months, though experts say that the death toll could be lower if authorities are able to move swiftly to contain outbreaks of the disease. “We are at the beginning in Africa,” Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said last week.

 

Public Domain, USAID

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