The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed,” according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief, meanwhile a South African official said that a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves.
Just one day after confirmed coronavirus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was more than 522,000 and increasing, with above 12,000 deaths. With testing levels low, the real numbers are even higher.
South Africa has the most confirmed cases with more than 224,000, and for the first time the capital, Pretoria and Gauteng province – home to Johannesburg – has the country’s most cases with more than 75,000 – about 33%.
Provincial official and also a medical doctor, Bandile Masuku, startled South Africans when he told reporters on Wednesday that Gauteng is preparing more than 1.5 million graves. He said that it’s a reality they need to deal with and it’s the public’s responsibility to make sure that they don’t get there.
But the province announced a statement on Thursday to calm fears, saying that it doesn’t have more than a million already open dug graves and also clarified that the official confirmed the province has enough space for that many. It also claimed six members of Gauteng’s COVID-19 War Room have tested positive for the coronavirus.
It is forecast that South Africa will have nowhere close to that many deaths in the next months with some models forecasting from 40,000 to 80,000 by the end of this year.
With painful memories of so many people dying in Africa while waiting for accessible HIV drugs many years ago, the Africa CDC launched a consortium on Thursday with the aim of securing more than 10 late-stage COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials on the continent as soon as possible.
In recent days, Africa has started taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials amid the increasing misinformation on the continent. Trials have been taken in South Africa and Egypt, but Nkengasong said that a continent of 1.3 billion people deserves more than just two countries participating.