Africa’s top public health official says the rate of confirmed new coronavirus cases has fallen again, by 14% from the previous week. John Nkengasong dismisses the idea of a “hidden pandemic” on the continent, telling reporters that testing has improved significantly in Africa’s 54 countries, and close to 1% of the total population of 1.3 billion has been tested for the virus.
He says earlier concerns about testing shortages are disappearing as countries test more, and the easing curve “represents a sign of hope.” Africa has a total of 1.2 million confirmed cases, roughly half in South Africa. “In the coming weeks we’ll see dynamics begin to change with the introduction of antigen tests,” Nkengasong says. “We’re very encouraged it can transform the situation” as they can be easily decentralized for use beyond major cities and give a clearer picture of infections.
In response to the Trump administration says it will not work with an international cooperative effort to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine globally, Nkengasong says “we are in this together. No country will be safe if any country in the world still has cases of COVID.”