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COVID-19 Situation update for the WHO African Region, External Situation Report 29 (16 September 2020)

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1. Situation update

The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the WHO African Region has continued to decrease in the past weeks. Since our last External Situation Report 28 issued on 9 September 2020, a total of 29 710 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 921 new deaths were reported from 46 countries between 9 and 15 September 2020. This is a 14% and 22% decrease in incidence cases and deaths, respectively, as compared to 34 564 cases and 1 773 deaths registered during the previous reporting period (2 August - 8 September 2020). South Africa has consistently registered the largest number of reported cases for many weeks. It continues to account for more than half of the total cases, even as its cases continue to decline (a 9% decrease) in this reporting period.

Twenty-five countries recorded a decrease in new cases, with 17 of them registering a decrease of more than 20%; Congo (84%), Zimbabwe (77%), Guinea-Bissau (69%), Burundi (67%), Côte d'Ivoire (52%), Mali (45%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (42%), Gabon (39%), Rwanda (38%), Ethiopia (37%), Gambia (33%), Guinea (29%), Equatorial Guinea (25%), Madagascar (23), Eswatini (22%), Namibia (21%) and Benin (21%). We continue to maintain cautious optimism while interpreting these encouraging declining figures as they may be affected by many factors, including the current testing capacity and strategy, and delays in reporting. During this reporting period, 14 countries reported the highest percentage increase in case-counts (above 20%); Burkina Faso (173%), Liberia (167%), Lesotho (106%), Angola (76%), Mozambique (75%), Mauritania (74%), Sierra Leone (72%), South Sudan (70%), Zambia (52%), Chad (50%), Central African Republic (44%), Senegal (44%), Uganda (42%) and Malawi (32%).

Only United Republic of Tanzania did not officially submit any report indicating any new confirmed case. A total of 183 new health worker infections were recorded from eight countries: Ethiopia (81), Uganda (53), Namibia (44), Mozambique (2), Eswatini (1), and South Sudan (2).

During this period, 921 new COVID-19 related deaths occurred in 30 countries, with 555 (60%) of the deaths recorded in South Africa. This was followed by Ethiopia, with 86 (9.3%) deaths, Algeria with 61 (6.6%) and Kenya with 35 (3.8%). South Africa and Ethiopia registered a 32.6% and 28.9% decrease in the deaths reported, respectively; while the number of deaths in Kenya and Algeria increased by 59.1% and 15.1%, respectively.

The other 26 countries that reported new deaths during the reporting period include; Zambia (27), Nigeria (21), Namibia (17), Angola (15), Uganda (12), Ghana (11), Mozambique (9), Madagascar (8), Gambia (8), Democratic Republic of the Congo (7), Senegal (7), Togo (7), Congo (6), Zimbabwe (6), Eswatini (5), Cabo Verde (4), Botswana (2), Chad (2), Lesotho (2), Malawi (2), Rwanda (2), Côte d'Ivoire (1), Guinea-Bissau (1), Mali (1), and Mauritania (1). Cameroon, which is one of the top five most affected countries, reported no deaths in this period.

As of 15 September 2020, a cumulative total of 1 120 722 COVID-19 cases was reported in the region, including 1 120 721 confirmed, with one probable case reported in Democratic Republic of the Congo. South Africa has registered more than half, 58% (651 521), of all reported confirmed cases in the region. The other countries that have reported large numbers of cases are Ethiopia (65 486), Nigeria (56 478), Algeria (48 734), Ghana (45 655), Kenya (36 301), Cameroon (20 303), Côte d’Ivoire (19 100), Madagascar (15 803) and Senegal(14 529). These 10 countries collectively account for 87% (973 910) of all reported cases.