Africa Coronavirus (COVID-19) World

Thu 30 July 2020:

Death toll on continent stands at 18,901 with 361 fatalities in last 24 hours

The number of coronavirus cases in Africa surpassed 890,000 Thursday as the continent struggles to contain the pandemic.

A total of 894,421 people are infected, with 16,828 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to data from statistics website Worldometer.

The death toll stands at 18,901 with 361 fatalities.

More than 543,500 people have recovered from the virus.

The most affected countries are South Africa, Egypt and Algeria, which have reported 7,497; 4,728 and 1,186 deaths, respectively.

No deaths have been reported in Seychelles and Eritrea.

There are 471,123 cases in South Africa, 93,356 in Egypt and 42,208 in Nigeria.

Sharpening hunger

Nearly 45 million people in 13 countries in southern Africa are food-insecure as a result of drought and flood and the impact of coronavirus, the region’s bloc said Tuesday.

The tally has risen almost 10% over last year, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said in a report.

“Common climate-induced shocks… economic challenges and poverty have been further exacerbated by the devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities,” it said.

Coronavirus restrictions have badly affected business activity, jobs and remittances.

“This has been particularly evident in the urban poor, who rely heavily on livelihoods from the informal sector and local markets,” it said.

“It is likely that the projected number of the food insecure will rise further.”

Some 8.4 million children are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition across the region in 2020, of whom 2.3 million will require life-saving treatment, it said.

School closures since March have hit youngsters who depend on school meals for nutrition, it said.

Coronavirus-linked malnutrition

Coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, killing an estimated 10,000 more young children a month as meagre farms are cut off from markets and villages are isolated from food and medical aid, the United Nations warned Monday.

In the call to action, four UN agencies warned that growing malnutrition due to the Covid-19 pandemic would have long-term consequences, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe.

More than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, or malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies, according to the UN. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally. 

“The food security effects of the Covid crisis are going to reflect many years from now,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, the WHO head of nutrition. “There is going to be a societal effect.”

The leaders of four international agencies — the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization — have called for at least $2.4 billion immediately to address global hunger.

But even more than lack of money, restrictions on movement have prevented families from seeking treatment, said Victor Aguayo, the head of UNICEF’s nutrition program. 

“By having schools closed, by having primary health care services disrupted, by having nutritional programs dysfunctional, we are also creating harm,” Aguayo said. He cited as an example the near-global suspension of Vitamin A supplements, which are a crucial way to bolster developing immune systems.

Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The US, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.

The COVID-19 virus has killed more than 664,950 people worldwide, with nearly 17 million confirmed cases, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University. Just under 10 million people have recovered from the disease.

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