WHO: Almost 86% of COVID-19 infections in Africa go unnoticed

The WHO puts the number of all infections on the continent at 59mln, over seven times the more than 8mln reported cases, said DPA international.

  
The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) are pictured during the World Health Assembly (WHA) following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Geneva, Switzerland, May 18, 2020.

The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) are pictured during the World Health Assembly (WHA) following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Geneva, Switzerland, May 18, 2020.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

CAPE TOWN — Almost 86 percent of all coronavirus infections in Africa go unnoticed, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.

The WHO puts the number of all infections on the continent at 59 million, over seven times the more than 8 million reported cases, said DPA international.

The high number of unreported cases can be explained by the fact that health facilities have so far focused on testing people with symptoms of the disease, which has led to extensive under-reporting, the WHO said.

"With limited testing, we're still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa ... what we see could just be the tip of the iceberg," said WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti.

So far, only 70 million COVID-19 tests have been reported on the continent of 1.3 billion people, the WHO said.

By comparison, the United States, with about a third of the population, had conducted more than 550 million tests, while Britain, with less than 10 percent of Africa's population, had conducted more than 280 million tests, it said.

In total, more than 8.4 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in Africa, including 214,000 deaths.

Less than half of the African countries that have received vaccines have fully vaccinated an average of about 2 percent of their population, according to WHO data. — BNA


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