‘Africa may suffer 300,000 to 3 million deaths from Coronavirus’ – UN Agency says

Apr 20, 2020 | Coronavirus

A United Nations Agency has forecasted that the African continent might suffer as much as 3 million deaths from the novel Coronavirus.

Compared to Europe, Asia and Southern America, Africa’s death toll from the virus isn’t so much with majority of deaths from Northern Africa but the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in a report released Friday, said things could change very quickly as the majority of the urban population in the biggest cities on the continent live in overcrowded neighborhoods without reliable access to hand-washing facilities.

According to the UN Agency if you add that factor to relatively low supplies of hospital beds and the fact that 71% of the continent’s workforce is “informally employed, then a full blown disaster is heading Africa’s way..

The report, which was launched on Friday was titled: “COVID-19: Protecting African Lives and Economies” and the report had chilling details that paint a grim picture of what the future could hold for the African continent.

The UN commission referred to a computer model composed by researchers at Imperial College London. According to the model, under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections.

Under the best-case scenario which will involve “intense social distancing.” the continent could see more than 122 million infections, the report said. According to the agency, if intense social distancing is carried out, there will be halting of large sectors of the economy that’llpush as many as 29 million people into extreme poverty.

Vera Songwe, the UNECA executive secretary, says $100 billion is needed to “urgently and immediately provide fiscal space to all countries to help address the immediate safety net needs of the populations.”

”Already countries in Africa have been suffering under the virus’ fiscal effects, even if the physical ones have not yet made their full impact felt.

“The economic costs of the Pandemic have been harsher than the direct impact of the COVID-19,” Songwe said. ”
Across the continent, all economies are suffering from the sudden shock to the economies.

”The physical distancing needed to manage the pandemic is suffocating and drowning economic activity.”

“Of all the continents Africa has the highest prevalence of certain underlying conditions, like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.”

“Collapsed businesses may never recover,” the new report said. “Without a rapid response, governments risk losing control and facing unrest.”


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