PERC: Biweekly Report (28 October – 10 November 2020)
The Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) released a brief on 13 November that delves deeper into findings from its 24,000-person survey conducted in 18 African Union (AU) Member States on disruptions to essential health services since the start of the pandemic. As governments across Africa start to reinstitute more restrictive public health and social measures (PHSMs) to respond to the continent’s second wave, ensuring continued access to health care services will be critical in preventing morbidity and mortality not only from the virus itself, but from other infectious diseases. Although some vaccination campaigns have resumed, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that millions of children have been left unvaccinated and are at increased risk for tuberculosis, measles and malaria, among other diseases.
Disease Situation (28 October – 10 November)
• In Africa, new cases and deaths increased by 20% and 26%, respectively, between 28 October – 10 November compared to the previous two-week reporting period (14-27 October). Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia, Kenya and Libya accounted for more than three-fourths of new cases and deaths. The test per case ratio remains below the recommended range in 15 AU Member States (see table below). Three-fourths of AU Member States are reporting community transmission.
• Morocco (61,432 new cases) continues to be at the epicenter of Africa’s second wave, reporting nearly three-fold the number of cases South Africa (22,403 new cases) reported between 28 October – 10 November. Kenya reported its highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases, and a 50% increase in new deaths during this reporting period.
• Algeria, Benin, Ghana, Somalia and Sudan saw new cases increase by more than 100% in this reporting period. Sudan reported a 665% increase in cases (574 new cases) and 279 new deaths in this reporting period, compared to only 77 new cases and 1 new death between 14-27 October. The test per case ratio remained below the recommended range in Algeria, Sudan and Somalia, at less than 7 tests per case, indicating many cases are likely going undetected.
• Uganda, which saw an 84% increase in new cases, reported 39 tests per case, which is within the recommended range.1 However, despite the recent rise in cases, the government moved to loosen restrictions on public gatherings in an effort to restore the economy.
• In Kenya, the media continued to report on rising cases among health care workers, with the increase attributed to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) available at hospitals. A large referral hospital in rural Kenya closed after 8 health care workers tested positive on 5 November.