Africa: Covid-19

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Deaths from COVID-19 in Africa have surged by 40 per cent in the past month. On February 14, 2020, Egypt became the first African country to record a COVID-19 case. The virus has since spread to the other 53 countries in the continent. In many African countries, borders were closed, confirmed cases quarantined, and curfews imposed early, which helped countries to slow down the spread of the virus. But there was deep anxiety about how African countries with largely poor populations, informal economies and far fewer healthcare facilities would cope with the highly infectious disease. A report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) had predicted up to 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections in Africa. However, one year after the pandemic broke in the region, Africa is the least affected region so far, accounting for less than 5 per cent of global COVID-19 cases and 4 per cent of global deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). While Africa fared better at the beginning of the outbreak compared to other regions, the continent suffered a devastating economic crisis which triggered the continent's first recession in 25 years, according to the World Bank. "In sub-Saharan Africa last year, the GDP fell by 2.6 per cent and the IMF predicts that Africa will be the slowest growing large region in 2021," Regional Director of the WHO, Matshidiso Moeti, said at a press briefing marking one year of COVID-19 in Africa "The sociology economic impact of this pandemic will have ongoing repercussions for several years in African countries." An African Union (AU) study had projected that 20 million jobs were at risk in Africa due to the impact of the pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa's biggest oil producers, Nigeria and Angola, could lose $65 billion in income, the report stated.

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