Africa exceeds 1.5M coronavirus tests, passes grim case milestone

2020 05 26 18 38 2532 African Continent 400

Africa has passed the milestone of 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and has run more than 1.5 million tests, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While the cases have been mounting, the region is the least hard hit globally and the death rate remains low.

"The virus has now spread to every country in the continent since the first case was confirmed in the region 14 weeks ago," the WHO noted in a statement on May 22.

To date, more than 1.5 million tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted, according to the WHO. Africa has a population of more than 1.2 billion, so while the testing rate reflects a lot of progress, it's still relatively low and capacity needs to ramp up.

While the number of cases has grown in Africa, the death count has not mounted that quickly compared to other regions.

"Early analysis by WHO suggests that Africa's lower mortality rate may be the result of demography and other possible factors," the organization explained. "Africa is the youngest continent demographically with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25."

The WHO's May 22 report (not updated yet for the 100,000-case milestone) shows that American and European regions have suffered the most cases and deaths (see table).

WHO figures, COVID-19 cases and deaths*
Area Confirmed cases Deaths
Global 4,993,470 327,738
Americas 2,220,267 131,605
Europe 1,966,244 171,327
Eastern Mediterranean 389,588 10,648
Southeast Asia 173,159 5,347
Western Pacific 171,748 6,817
Africa 71,752 1,981
*WHO situation report, May 22
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