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  • Construction worker waits for work in the informal sector, Cape Town, South Africa, June 24, 2020

    Construction worker waits for work in the informal sector, Cape Town, South Africa, June 24, 2020 | Photo: EFE

Published 8 July 2020
Opinion

South Africa is now the fifth nation with the highest number of cases in the world.

The African continent Wednesday surpassed the barrier of 500,000 COVID-19 cases, 40 percent of which occur in South Africa, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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As of Wednesday morning, the countries most affected by the pandemic were South Africa (215,855 COVID-19 cases and 3,502 deaths) Egypt (77,279 cases and 3,489 deaths) Nigeria (77,279 cases and 669 deaths), Ghana (29,789 cases and 129 deaths); and Algeria (16,879 cases and 968 deaths).

In total, Africa has 508,918 COVID-19 cases and 11,997 dead patients. However, recovery rates are very high in most nations.

In this continent, the rate of infections continues to speed up. Although it took 98 days for Africa to reach 100,000 cases since the first case was detected in Egypt on February 14, it only took 7 days for the number of cases to increase from 400,000 to 500,000.

The exponential increase in infections during June placed South Africa as the fifth nation with the highest number of cases in the world and as the fourth country with the highest number of new infections per day (between 8,000 and 10,000 per day).

However, lethality remains at 1.6 percent and the percentage of hospitalizations required is below what the South African Health Ministry had originally expected.

African countries, most of which opted for prompt confinement and border closure measures, are gradually returning to their usual rhythm of life.

The lifting of confinements that have been taking place in recent weeks is also beginning to apply the opening of airspaces in countries such as Kenya, Senegal, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Although this opening may generate a certain sense of optimism, the COVID-19 cases continue to multiply and the curves in most countries are far from being flattened.

On Tuesday, the African Development Bank (AfDB) published its economic forecasts for 2020 where it predicts a 3.4 percent drop in African production, which is the first recession in the last 50 years.

However, if the pandemic is controlled quickly, African economies could grow 3 percent again in 2021.

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