The number of coronavirus cases in Africa has reached 209,438, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said in an update on Thursday.

According to the latest data, 5,678 people have died of COVID-19 related complications, while 95,273 patients have recovered.

The total number of active cases in 54 countries now stands at 108,487, Africa CDC said.

At least 59,900 cases have been recorded in North Africa, 58,500 in Southern Africa, 45,200 in West Africa, 24,000 in East African, and 21,900 in Central Africa.

Fatalities number 2,400 in North Africa, 1,200 in Southern Africa, 878 in West Africa, 708 in East Africa, and 454 in Central Africa.

Recoveries have reached 33,100 in Southern Africa, 26,100 in North Africa, 20,500 in West Africa, 7,800 in East Africa, and 7,700 in Central Africa.

With over 55,400, South Africa is the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, followed by Egypt with over 38,300.

Nigeria is third with 13,900 cases, ahead of Cameroon with 8,700 cases and Sudan with 6,600.

Digital divide

Over a quarter of a billion children in Africa have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic and most lack the digital tools to continue their education online, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

“This is very concerning and conveys a strong message that broadband connectivity is absolutely crucial for educational institutions and businesses to continue to provide essential services,” said Jean-Paul Adam, director of technology, climate change and natural resources management at the ECA.

Presently, only 17.8% of households in Africa have internet at home and the continent accounts for only 21% of worldwide internet users, he told reporters at a virtual news briefing on Wednesday.

He said Africa contributes less than 1% to the world’s digital economy, which accounts for about 15% of global GDP, and needs about $100 billion to achieve universal, affordable, and quality internet access by 2030, according to the World Bank.

“Reliable and high-speed internet is key to ensuring that hospitals and medical institutions can access the global information network and resources necessary to fight COVID-19,” said Adam.

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