JOHANNESBURG, 21 January 2021 – Africa’s COVID-19 death rate has surpassed the global average, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The continent’s average death rate now stands at 2.5 percent, compared to a global average death rate of 2.2 percent.

Africa’s rate was lower than the global average throughut the first wave of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong - Photo Devex

Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong – Photo Devex

This is “worrying and concerning”, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong told reporters, pointing out that the average rate masks countries with higher than average rates.

In 21 of Africa’s 54 countries, the average death rate – at more than 3 percent – is much worse than the global average.

Some of the 21 African countries are Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eswatini, Liberia, Mali, Niger, The Gambia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Of the 207,000 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa over the last week, more than 100,000 of them were detected in South Africa alone, according to Africa CDC.

In total, Africa has confirmed 3.33 million COVID-19 cases with more than 81,861 deaths and 2.78 million recoveries, according to Africa CDC Dashboard which holds the most updated data on the pandemic.

Funeral workers in South Africa - Photo Agencia EFE

Funeral workers in South Africa – Photo Agencia EFE

As of 20 January 2021, the ten African countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are South Africa (1.36 million cases), Morocco (462,542), Tunisia (188,373), Egypt (158,963), Ethiopia (132,034), Nigeria (114,691), Libya (111,124), Algeria (104,606), Kenya (99,444), and Ghana (58,431).

Other African countries are not too far behind, especially given that the data on confirmed cases and of deaths from complications arising from the virus are either not well kept in countries or are not systematically shared with Africa CDC, the World Health Organization, and other data centers like Johns Hopkins University.

Zambia, with the eleventh biggest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, have recorded 40,949 cases, just ahead of Uganda (38,628 cases), Namibia (31,253) and Zimbabwe (29,408).

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