Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Global Epidemic – 31 March 2020

31 March 2020

Outbreak Update: Globally, a total of 693,839 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) confirmed cases and 33,214 (CFR 5%) related deaths have been reported to date. Since the last brief (24 March 2020), 360,141  new COVID-19 cases and 18,706 new deaths have been reported globally. Fourteen countries and territories, including five African countries, are reporting cases while  33 countries, including eight African countries, are reporting deaths for the first time this week.  The distribution of cumulative cases (proportion of global cases %) from the WHO reporting regions (excluding Africa) are as follows: Eastern Mediterranean Region 44,856 (6%),  European Region 392,757 (57%), Region of the Americas 142,081 (20%), South-East Asia Region 4,084 (0.6%) Western Pacific Region 104,487 (15%). For more detailed information on cases and deaths being reported outside of Africa, refer to the WHO daily situation reports.

As of 3 pm EAT 31 March 2020, 5,287  total COVID-19 cases and 172  (CFR 3%) deaths have been reported in 48 African countries. Africa CDC is working with all affected countries and is mobilizing laboratory, surveillance, and other response support where requested. See Table 1 for the full list of countries in Africa reporting cases, deaths, and those recovered.

Table 1. Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Reported in Africa 24- 31 March 2020, 3pm EAT

CountryNo. of cases (new)No. of deaths (new)No. recoveredTransmission Type
Central Region
Cameroon142 (86)8 (8)3Local transmission
Central African Republic6 (2)3Imported cases only
Chad7 (4)Imported cases only
Congo19 (15)2Imported cases only
DRC83 (47)8 (6)1Local transmission
Equatorial Guinea14 (5)Local transmission
Gabon16 (10)1 (0)Imported cases only
Eastern Region
Djibouti26 (23)Local transmission
Eritrea15 (14)Imported case only
Ethiopia25 (14)4Local transmission
Kenya50 (34)1 (1)1Local transmission
Madagascar46 (34)Imported cases only
Mauritius143 (107)3 (1)Local transmission
Rwanda70 (51)Local transmission
Seychelles10 (3)Imported cases only
Somalia3 (2)Imported cases only
Sudan6 (4)2 (1)Imported cases only
Tanzania19 (7)1 (1)1Imported cases only
Uganda33 (24)Local transmission
Northern Region
Algeria582 (352)35 (18)77Local transmission
Egypt656 (290)41 (22)150Local transmission
Libya8 (8)Local transmission
Mauritania3 (1)Imported cases only
Morocco556 (413)33 (29)15Local transmission
Tunisia362 (248)9(6)1Local transmission
Southern Region
Angola7 (5)2 (2)Imported cases only
Botswana3 (3)Imported cases only
Eswatini9 (5)Local transmission
Mozambique8 (7)Local transmission
Namibia11 (7)Imported cases only
South Africa1,326 (924)2 (2)31Local transmission
Zambia35 (32)Local transmission
Zimbabwe8 (6)1 (1)Local transmission
Western Region
Benin6 (1)1Imported cases only
Burkina Faso246 (147)12 (8)31Local transmission
Cape Verde6 (5)1 (1)Imported cases only
Côte d’Ivoire168 (143)1 (1)6Local transmission
Gambia4 (2)1 (0)Imported cases only
Ghana152 (128)5 (4)2Local transmission
Guinea16 (12)1Imported cases only
Guinea-Bissau2 (2)
Imported cases only
Liberia3 (0)Local transmission
Mali18 (18)1 (1)Local transmission
Niger18 (16)1 (1)Local transmission
Nigeria131 (91)2 (1)3Local transmission
Senegal175 (96)40Local transmission
Sierra Leone1 (1)Imported cases only
Togo34 (16)1 (1)10Local transmission
Total5,287 (3,465)172 (115)383

NEW Africa CDC Response Activities:


  1. The distribution of test kits from the Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy-Jack Ma & Alibaba Foundations Initiative has been completed in Member States. Africa CDC is following the validation of the new testing protocol with Member States
  2.  Africa CDC is planning for distribution of additional 40,000 tests to countries that are in critical need.
  3. In collaboration with ASLM, a community of practice (online training program) was conducted on March 25. More than 110 participants attended and the forum helped to address some frequently asked questions and to provide guidance on the laboratory testing issues.
  4. Shipment of Oxford Nanonpore Technologies equipment and reagents has started to build capacity in seven Member States. Online training will be organized once shipment is completed.
  5. Africa CDC completed an equipment footprint analysis across the continent for GeneXpert, similarly for Roche and Abbott platforms. The projected testing needs for GeneXpert have been submitted to the company.
  6. Shortage of viral transport media, swabs and extraction kits is now the main challenge to expanding testing. Africa CDC is looking for all possible sources for these items and will update the Member States when items are available.

Healthcare Preparedness

  1. Africa CDC initiated a continent-wide network of clinicians which met for the first time on 9 March 2020 and has been holding weekly webinars including ~300 clinicians from across the continent. The next webinar is scheduled for 2 April 2020.
  2. Africa CDC has established an online portal with training materials via online courses, online case studies, and social media vignettes to support evidence-based care of COVID-19 patients.

Risk Communication

  1. Africa CDC continues to provide and receive updated information about the outbreak through the WhatsApp groups created for Member States communication officers and journalists. Twenty-seven journalists have been added to the media group in the last week.
  2. Africa CDC produced two podcasts to provide information about the outbreak
  3. Africa CDC held discussions with the Facebook team to enhance Africa CDC campaigns and messaging for COVID-19. Full proposals about this will be submitted by Facebook for consideration.
  4. Africa CDC transitioned to a new Africa CDC website which provides access to more information about COVID-19 from Africa CDC
  5. Africa CDC is working on a rumour tracking system for Africa CDC to monitor, aggregate, and respond to rumours, mis- and dis-information, and misconceptions about COVID-19
  6.  Africa CDC is collaborating with the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading technology innovation Centre in Africa, to launch a call for innovative communication projects on COVID-19 based on African languages targeted at the semi-urban and rural population across Africa. The communication projects are expected to help counter disbelief and misinformation, catalyse citizens actions and solidarity as well as combat stigmatization.
  7. Africa CDC is initiating a collaboration with Resolve to Save Lives, WHO, and a private opinion research company to survey attitudes and behaviors regarding COVID-19 and community social distancing. Reports will be provided to Member States after the initial round of surveys.

Recommendations for Member States: 

  1. All Member States should enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases. Examples of enhanced surveillance include: 
    1. Adding questions about travel and testing for coronaviruses to existing influenza surveillance systems;
    2. Notifying healthcare facilities to immediately inform local public health officials about persons who meet the case definition for SARI and/or have recent travel or contact history with someone who has traveled to a country with local transmission.
  2. Member States that receive direct or connecting flights from affected countries should screen incoming passengers for severe respiratory illness and a history of recent travel to any country/area or territory reporting local transmission. Member States should be prepared to expand questions about recent travel to additional countries as the outbreak evolves. 
  3. Notify WHO and Africa CDC immediately if suspected or confirmed cases of infection with novel coronavirus are identified. Africa CDC should be notified by emailing
  4. Provide guidance to the general public about seeking immediate medical care and informing healthcare providers about recent travel or contact history in anyone who develops symptoms of severe respiratory illness.

Resources for more information: 

Africa CDC Resources

Other Resources