Africa could lose up to 300,000 from Covid-19 infections, UN Report


According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, covid-19 could result in the death of 300,000 people with or without interventions.

The African continent needs $200 billion to curb the adverse effects of the pandemic. Slums that are overcrowded and lack adequate water and sanitation are coupled with poor healthcare systems. This exposes the continent to disease.

Thus far, countries that have registered infections have implemented nationwide lockdowns. Most of these lockdowns have forced people to halt travel, suspended schools, allowed the purchase of food and medicine and prohibited public congregation.

The report also presented a scenario with zero government interventions. Here the continent could record 3.3 million deaths out of the 1.3 billion population. In many ways, the report was an early warning as to the consequences African governments will face if they fail to act. 

The rates of infection in the continent have drastically risen, with deaths already in the thousands. The virus threatens over 29 million people to extreme poverty. A situation that is only exacerbated by the fact that the continent accounts for two-thirds of the world’s poor. Experts indicate a possible economic contraction of 2.6 percent in 2020. Data from McKinsey & Co reveals how the lockdowns will also affect the 440 million working in formal and informal jobs - about a third of the continent. 

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UNECA gives the figure of financial assistance to curb the pandemic at $200 billion. The initial $100 billion will go into shoring up the country’s healthcare systems and social safety nets while the other funds will set up emergency economic stimulus programs.

The Secretary of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres argued for debt relief targeting poor and developing countries.

The World Health Organization had released its modeling that put the figure at 150,000 deaths out of 200 million infections. The authors of the research made their findings public in the journal BMJ Global Health.

However, their findings predicted a much lower infection rate than in areas of Europe and the United States.