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Joint Continental Effort Helps Africa Weather the COVID-19 Storm

The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has praised African states for managing to curb the spread of coronavirus. Africa has seen about 1.4 million cases, and 34,000 deaths since March. These figures are far lower than those in Europe, Asia or the Americas, with reported cases continuing to decline. Early interventions played a crucial role in curbing the virus’ spread, Africa CDC head John Nkengasong told the BBC’s Newsday programme. Africa CDC is the health agency of the 55-member African Union (AU). The continent of more than one billion people accounts for just under 5% of cases globally and 3.6% of deaths. Africa’s relatively young population also contributed to the low number of cases, Dr Nkengasong said. Furthermore, the emphasis on community-driven initiatives, and experience in contact-tracing from fighting diseases like Ebola, had helped countries to tackle the virus, he said. While there may be cases that have gone undetected, experts such as Dr Nkengasong say there is no indication of a large number of unexplained deaths in most countries. But there are warnings there could be second wave of infections as more and more countries relax restrictions.