Confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infections have continued to grow across Africa, with the total number of infections reaching 15,249, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these cases, 816 have died, and 2,895 have recovered so far.
South Africa leads the continent in terms of confirmed infections with 2,272 cases, followed by Egypt which has recorded 2,190 cases at time of writing. Algeria, however, has had the most fatalities from the virus, recording 313 deaths.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced on Monday that it would provide immediate debt relief to 25 member countries under its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).
Most of the 25 countries are in Africa, and are among the poorest in the world. The IMF decision aims to allow these countries to focus more financial resources on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The first African countries that will receive debt service relief include Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Meanwhile, the first WHO solidarity flight of medical supplies landed in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday. The supplies include 1 million masks, goggles, gloves, gowns and other protective gear for health workers. Also in the supplies are ventilators for patients in five African countries, namely Djibouti, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Tanzania.
As part of the efforts to curb the coronavirus’ spread, some African nations have put in place severe restrictions. Nigeria is the latest country to extend for an additional 14 days its lockdown in the capital Abuja, in addition to Lagos and Ogun states. The country has confirmed 343 cases and 10 deaths from the coronavirus so far.
Moreover, Sudan announced late on Monday that it will impose a lockdown on its capital, Khartoum, for three weeks starting on Saturday, after recording 10 more cases.