Africa denies under-reporting COVID-19 cases
London, March 11, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Director of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar. Dr Amadou Sall, has strongly rejected the insinuation that the low cases of COVID-19 infections in the continent was as a result of delibrate low reportage or low testing
Some international experts and observers have speculated that Africa’s relatively low number of COVID-19 cases might simply be the result of poor reporting and low testing rates.
“I’m happy and proud [about] what Africa has done this time because usually we spend time running after epidemics when it is there but in this time we have been prepared,” said Dr Amadou Sall
At the onset of the outbreak, the institute trained 35 laboratories around the continent to do Covid-19 testing.
Dr Sall says African health officials have also learned a lot from the West African Ebola crisis in 2014, and have created critical communications and collaborative networks aimed at containing the virus.
“We put together a whole group of people that are going to be together working on referral of samples and confirmation, we’re going to do the [genetic] sequencing.
“And also very important we’re going to do research. Research is absolutely critical because three months ago nobody knew about this virus so understanding how it evolves in an African context is… absolutely important
Nigeria for instance has identified more than 200 people who had come into contact with an Italian man who brought the first case of the virus into the country, but it has so far tested only 33.
Still, many African health officials bristle at the suggestion that they are not adequately addressing the crisis, saying there has been an unprecedented level of mobilisation for Covid-19, as well as a growing reserve of experience to draw on.
There are now more than 100 cases recorded in 11 countries in Africa, according to figures from the World Health Organization.Egypt remains the nation with the most reported cases with 59, more than half of all confirmed cases on the continent
.The countries with reported cases as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization, include Egypt (59), Algeria (20), DR Congo (1), Nigeria (2) Tunisia (5), Togo (1), Cameroon (2), Morocco (2), Burkina Faso (2), South Africa (7) and Senegal (4) are the cases so far.
The continent has also recorded its first Coronavirus death in Egypt, where the first case on the continent was also confirmed.