By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Information coming from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa indicates that the death toll for coronavirus victims on the continent has risen to 17 with the number of infected persons increasing to 633, in 33 African countries as of March 19th 2020.
According to the WHO, 21 countries are yet to register or confirm any case on the African continent most of which were transmitted by outsiders or visitors to Africa. The information further indicates that African countries that already have the disease now register local transmission through person to person.
Egypt which is said to be the epicenter of the virus in Africa, has registered a total number of 126 cases of the virus with six confirmed deaths, followed by South Africa with 116 infected persons. Algeria is also said to register six deaths from Covid-19 with Morocco, Sudan, Mauritius and Burkina Faso all registering deaths.
The report indicate that Senegal still has the highest number of coronavirus cases in West Africa with a total of 36 people infected; that as at end Wednesday 18th March 2020, Burkina Faso registered its first death making it the first West African nation to record death from Covid-19, since the pandemic hit the sub-region.
Experts have repeatedly warned about the dangers the disease poses for the continent, given its weak health infrastructure, poverty, conflicts, poor sanitation and socialization.
Readers can recall that the coronavirus was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019. Cases have since been confirmed in most countries on all the continents across the globe.
The Gambia has just registered its first case of Covid-19 some four days ago prompting Government to take strict measures to curb the spread of the virus with the closure of Schools and the banning of public gatherings, open markets and other measures.