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COVID-19 External Situation Report 11 March 2020

On 11 March 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly, with the number of countries affected in the WHO African Region steadily growing. Since our last situation report on 4 March 2020 (External Situation Report 1), six new countries in the WHO African Region have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases; namely Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa and Togo – this in addition to Algeria, Nigeria and Senegal who confirmed cases in the past week. As of 11 March 2020, a total of 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with no deaths, have been reported across nine countries in the region: Algeria (20), South Africa (13), Senegal (5), Nigeria (2), Cameroon (2), Burkina Faso (2), Cote d’Ivoire (1), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1), and Togo (1). Figures 1 and 2 show the temporal and geographical distribution of cases, respectively. In the rest of the African continent, a total of 66 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported from three countries: Egypt (59), Tunisia (5), and Morocco (2). All index cases reported in the WHO African Region had a travel history to Europe (mostly Italy and France).

Algeria alone accounts for 42.5% of confirmed cases reported in the region. The male to female ratio among the cases is 0.7, and the median age is 41.5 years old (range 1-83 years). Of note, information on age and sex is currently available for 38 and 41 cases, respectively. All case-patients are in stable conditions and no severe or critical cases have been reported to date. The distribution of cases according to age and sex is presented in Figure 4.

Among the 47 confirmed cases, 28 (60%) were imported cases who became infected while travelling to another country prior to returning to the country in which they were detected. The majority (68%) of these imported cases had a travel history to Italy (n=12; 43%) and France (n=7; 25%). Other travel destinations linked to case importation included Spain (n=2), Germany (n=2), Portugal (n=1), Austria (n=1) and the United Kingdom (n=1). Two imported cases had a history of travel to multiple destinations; their place of exposure is still under investigation. Among the remaining 19 cases who acquired the disease locally, 17 (89%) were infected in Algeria and belong to the same cluster of cases that are linked to two confirmed cases of French nationality who travelled from France to Algeria from 14 to 21 February 2020. As of 11 March 2020, only three of the nine affected countries (Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria) reported locally infected cases which were all contacts of imported confirmed cases. Figure 5 shows the temporal distribution of cases according to whether they were imported or infected locally.

Between 22 January to 11 March 2020, 561 people were investigated across 34 Member States. Of these, 47 were confirmed COVID-19 cases, 508 people were ruled out as non-COVID-19 cases as they either did not meet the case definition or tested negative and six are still under investigation.

Please click here to download the complete situation report (PDF).

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