A Million Test Kits To Be Rolled Out Across Africa to Address Coronavirus Testing Gap
The Africa Centre for Disease Control, however, says the continent will need 15 million kits in the next three months to address the gap in coronavirus testing.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow across the continent, the The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has announced that it will begin rolling out one million coronavirus testing kits across the continent in order to address it "big gap" in testing.
According to the organization, testing rates on the continent are strikingly low, particularly in countries with the highest populations like Nigeria (≈ 200 million) and Ethiopia (≈ 100 million).
While one million kits is a start, Africa CDC's director John Nkengasong says the continent will need significantly more in order to address the gap in testing. "Over the next three months or six months, we probably need like 15 million tests, however, a journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first mile," he said.
Experts warn that Africa may be the new site of the pandemic, which has spread across China, Western Europe and the US. On Thursday, The African Union condemned President Donald Trump on Thursday for suspending funding to the World Health Organization (WHO). The US is the organization's biggest funder, and the move which will further complicate global relief efforts.
Several African nations have taken precautions to fight the spread of the virus by initiating lockdowns and bans on non-essential services, however Amnesty International says that such restrictions, while necessary, put millions of Africans—many of whom rely on their daily earnings for food—at risk of hunger.
According to BBC Africa, 17,700 cases of infection have been confirmed in 52 countries across Africa. The death toll is at 915 while more than 3,500 people have recovered. On Friday, the UN reported that the continent could see 300,000 deaths due to the pandemic.
The number of worldwide cases of the virus has now topped 2 million, according to The New York Times. The number of unconfirmed cases is belived to be higher.
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