Nairobi, Apr 3 (efe-epa).- The spread of coronavirus has accelerated in Africa with infections in 50 of the 54 countries on the continent and more than 7,000 confirmed cases and 280 deaths in total.
Malawi was one of the latest nations to announce its first cases with three infections that were confirmed on Thursday.
In a message to the nation President Peter Mutharika said a Malawian national who had travelled to India, one of her relatives and domestic worker had all tested positive for Covid-19.
Mutharika urged people to “remain calm” in the face of the outbreak, which emerged in China in December and has since spread around the world.
The cases in Malawi brought the number of African countries affected by the outbreak to 50, which will be a challenge for many of their vulnerable health services.
Comoros, Lesotho, Sao Tome and Principe and South Sudan were the only nations that have not announced any infections.
The first case in Africa was reported on 14 February, a Chinese citizen in Egypt.
Since then the continent has seen more than 7,000 infections and almost 300 deaths, according to government statements and data from the John Hopkins University in the United States.
Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization for Africa, said during an online press conference on Thursday that the number of cases in the region was increasing exponentially.
“There needs to be very careful, thoughtful analysis and mitigation measures are needed to make sure people do not suffer unduly,” she added.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday in another virtual press conference that it was difficult to make projections on how the contagion will evolve on the continent.
He warned that some countries could have more than 10,000 cases by the end of this month.
Many African countries have applied strict social distancing measures, including banning gatherings and the movement of people as well as population confinement.
South Africa and Rwanda have imposed total lockdowns while others such as Kenya have introduced partial restrictions such as a nighttime curfew.
Many people in Africa live in overcrowded conditions or work in the informal sector and need to continue earning money to survive.
The WHO has warned that it is important that governments take steps to ensure people can access essential services.
Some African leaders, such as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, have asked the international community for solidarity and financial support to deal with the health crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than one million people globally and caused more than 54,000 deaths in 181 countries, according to John Hopkins figures. EFE-EPA