The number of people in Africa who have recovered from the coronavirus topped 1.18 million, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

The death toll from the virus reached 35,007, it said, adding more than 1.43 million people have so far contracted the virus, with the Southern Africa region being the most affected with 727,500 cases.

North Africa recorded 314,100 cases, West Africa 173,900, East Africa 164,200 and Central Africa 57,400.

At least 640,500 patients have recovered in Southern Africa, 246,900 in North Africa, 154,500 in West Africa, 92,700 in East Africa and 50,000 in Central Africa.

Downward trend

COVID-19 transmission in Africa has been marked by relatively fewer infections, which have been on the decline over the past two months, owing to a variety of socio-ecological factors as well as early and strong public health measures taken by governments across the region, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa office said on Thursday.

“Africa has not witnessed an exponential spread of COVID-19 as many initially feared,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO director for Africa.

“But the slower spread of infection in the region means we expect the pandemic to continue to smoulder for some time, with occasional flare-ups.”

“The downward trend that we have seen in Africa over the past two months is undoubtedly a positive development and speaks to the robust and decisive public health measures taken by governments across the region.

“But we must not become complacent. Other regions of the world have experienced similar trends only to find that as social and public health measures are relaxed, cases start ramping up again,” she added.

The pandemic has largely been in a younger age group and has been more pronounced in a few countries, suggesting country-specific aspects are driving the pattern of disease and death.

About 91% of COVID-19 infection in sub-Saharan Africa are among people below 60 years, and over 80% of cases are asymptomatic, according to WHO.

It said, a mix of socio-ecological factors such as low population density and mobility, hot and humid climate, lower age group, interacting to accentuate their individual effects, are likely contributing to the pattern seen in Africa.

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