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COVID-19 External Situation Report 18 March 2020

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to rapidly expand through the African continent. Since our last situation report on 1 April 2020 (External Situation Report 5), three new countries in the WHO African Region, including Malawi, Sao Tome & Principe and South Sudan have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases. Forty-five (96%) out of 47 Member States of the WHO African Region are now affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving only Comoros and Lesotho with no reported cases to date.

Over the past week, the number of cases has nearly doubled and the number of deaths has more than tripled with 3 339 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 229 new deaths reported in the WHO African Region. As of 7 April 2020, a cumulative total of 7 105 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 324 deaths (case fatality ratio 4.6%) have been reported across the 45 affected countries in the region. The list of affected countries and their respective number of cases is presented in Table 1.

Figure 1 shows the temporal distribution of cases by country. The most affected countries in the WHO African Region are: South Africa (1 749 cases), Algeria (1 468 cases), Cameroon (555 cases), Burkina Faso (364 cases), Cote d’Ivoire (349 cases) and Ghana (287). Together, these countries account for 67% of the cases reported in the region. In the past week, the number of cases in Cameroon and in Algeria have increased by 4 and 2.5 folds, respectively. Fourteen countries have recorded over 100 cumulative confirmed cases. The highest case fatality ratios were observed in Algeria (CFR: 13%) and Burkina Faso (7%). Figures 2 shows the temporal distribution of cases in these six most affected countries.

Information on sex and age is currently available for 1 757 and 1 372 cases, respectively. The male to female ratio among the confirmed cases is 1.7, and the median age is 42 years old (range: 0 – 105). The distribution of cases according to age and sex is presented in figure 4; older males continue to be disproportionately affected by this outbreak.
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