Situation Report: What you need to know about the spread of COVID-19 in Africa

For a long time after the Coronavirus outbreak started affecting almost all parts of the world, Africa seemed to be shielded from the virus. It wasn't until February 28 that Nigeria became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have a confirmed case of Coronavirus. Prior to that, the first confirmed case on the continent was in Egypt, on February 14, 2020.

Since then the pandemic has been spreading to all regions of the continent, albeit slower than in other places around the world. Experts had been concerned that COVID-19 spreading to Africa, would cause huge socio-economic problems given that many of the healthcare systems on the continent are inadequate, and lack sufficient trained healthcare workers to handle the pandemic.

But two months later, many preventive measures implemented in different countries in Africa have helped in keeping the numbers to the barest minimum. Following travel restrictions, flight suspensions, event cancellations, school closures, and border closures, here's what you need to know about the spread of COVID-19 across the continent.


  1. As of April 20, there are a total of 23,720 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, 6,159 recoveries and 1,162 deaths according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.

2. Only two out of the 54 countries in the continent have yet to report any cases of COVID-19 (Lesotho and Comoros).

3. Egypt is the hardest-hit country in Africa with the highest number of deaths at 250 out of 3,333 confirmed cases and 821 recoveries.

4. South Africa currently has the second highest confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Africa; 3,300 with 1,055 recoveries and 58 deaths.

5. Africa's most populated country, Nigeria has recorded 22 deaths and 188 recoveries out of 665 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as of April 20.

6. Unlike in Europe, no serving head of state or president in Africa has been affected by COVID-19, although Abba Kyari, Chief aide to the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari died from COVID-19 complications on April 17. Official reports say Buhari is negative.

7. Individuals and organizations have been donating to governments across the continent in their efforts to curb the spread of Coronavirus. Chinese businessman, Jack Ma, donated a total of 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks, and 60,000 protective suits and face shields for distribution to all 54 African countries.

8. The majority of the index cases in most countries in Africa were imported by people returning from high-risk countries abroad.

9. The spread of COVID-19 in the continent is minimal compared to projected impact assessment. Many experts say the success in handling the outbreak has been largely due to experience from battling the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

10. Similar to other parts of the world, there are travel restrictions and lockdown in countries across the continent as the spread of COVID-19 continues to increase daily.

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