Africa: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Global Epidemic

As of 3 pm EAT 31 March 2020, 5,287 total COVID-19 cases and 172 (CFR 3%) deaths have been reported in 48 African countries

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia- Outbreak Update: Globally, a total of 693,839 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) confirmed cases and 33,214 (CFR 5%) related deaths have been reported to date. Since the last brief (24 March 2020), 360,141  new COVID-19 cases and 18,706 new deaths have been reported globally. Fourteen countries and territories, including five African countries, are reporting cases while  33 countries, including eight African countries, are reporting deaths for the first time this week.

The distribution of cumulative cases (proportion of global cases %) from the WHO reporting regions (excluding Africa) are as follows: Eastern Mediterranean Region 44,856 (6%),  European Region 392,757 (57%), Region of the Americas 142,081 (20%), South-East Asia Region 4,084 (0.6%) Western Pacific Region 104,487 (15%). For more detailed information on cases and deaths being reported outside of Africa, refer to the WHO daily situation reports.

As of 3 pm EAT 31 March 2020, 5,287 total COVID-19 cases and 172 (CFR 3%) deaths have been reported in 48 African countries. Africa CDC is working with all affected countries and is mobilizing laboratory, surveillance, and other response support where requested. See Table 1 for the full list of countries in Africa reporting cases, deaths, and those recovered.

ALSO READ: 139 Coronavirus Cases Reported In Nigeria

Table 1. Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Reported in Africa 24- 31 March 2020, 3pm EAT

Country No. of cases (new) No. of deaths (new) No. recovered Transmission Type
Central Region
Cameroon 142 (86) 8 (8) 3 Local transmission
Central African Republic 6 (2) 3 Imported cases only
Chad 7 (4) Imported cases only
Congo 19 (15) 2 Imported cases only
DRC 83 (47) 8 (6) 1 Local transmission
Equatorial Guinea 14 (5) Local transmission
Gabon 16 (10) 1 (0) Imported cases only
Eastern Region
Djibouti 26 (23) Local transmission
Eritrea 15 (14) Imported case only
Ethiopia 25 (14) 4 Local transmission
Kenya 50 (34) 1 (1) 1 Local transmission
Madagascar 46 (34) Imported cases only
Mauritius 143 (107) 3 (1) Local transmission
Rwanda 70 (51) Local transmission
Seychelles 10 (3) Imported cases only
Somalia 3 (2) Imported cases only
Sudan 6 (4) 2 (1) Imported cases only
Tanzania 19 (7) 1 (1) 1 Imported cases only
Uganda 33 (24) Local transmission
Northern Region
Algeria 582 (3521) 35 (18) 77 Local transmission
Egypt 656 (290) 41 (22) 150 Local transmission
Libya 8 (8) Local transmission
Mauritania 3 (1) Imported cases only
Morocco 556 (413) 33 (29) 15 Local transmission
Tunisia 362 (248) 9(6) 1 Local transmission
Southern Region
Angola 7 (5) 2 (2) Imported cases only
Botswana 3 (3) Imported cases only
Eswatini 9 (5) Local transmission
Mozambique 8 (7) Local transmission
Namibia 11 (7) Imported cases only
South Africa 1,326 (924) 2 (2) 31 Local transmission
Zambia 35 (32) Local transmission
Zimbabwe 8 (6) 1 (1) Local transmission
Western Region
Benin 6 (1) 1 Imported cases only
Burkina Faso 246 (147) 12 (8) 31 Local transmission
Cape Verde 6 (5) 1 (1) Imported cases only
Côte d’Ivoire 168 (143) 1 (1) 6 Local transmission
Gambia 4 (2) 1 (0) Imported cases only
Ghana 152 (128) 5 (4) 2 Local transmission
Guinea 16 (12) 1 Imported cases only
Guinea-Bissau 2 (2) Imported cases only
Liberia 3 (0) Local transmission
Mali 18 (18) 1 (1) Local transmission
Niger 18 (16) 1 (1) Local transmission
Nigeria 131 (91) 2 (1) 3 Local transmission
Senegal 175 (96) 40 Local transmission
Sierra Leone 1 (1) Imported cases only
Togo 34 (16) 1 (1) 10 Local transmission
Total 5,287 (3,465) 172 (115) 383

NEW Africa CDC Response Activities:


The distribution of test kits from the Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy-Jack Ma & Alibaba Foundations Initiative has been completed in Member States. Africa CDC is following the validation of the new testing protocol with Member States

Africa CDC is planning for distribution of additional 40,000 tests to countries that are in critical need.

In collaboration with ASLM, a community of practice (online training program) was conducted on March 25. More than 110 participants attended and the forum helped to address some frequently asked questions and to provide guidance on the laboratory testing issues.

Shipment of Oxford Nanonpore Technologies equipment and reagents has started to build capacity in seven Member States. Online training will be organized once shipment is completed.

Africa CDC completed an equipment footprint analysis across the continent for GeneXpert, similarly for Roche and Abbott platforms. The projected testing needs for GeneXpert have been submitted to the company.

Shortage of viral transport media, swabs and extraction kits is now the main challenge to expanding testing. Africa CDC is looking for all possible sources for these items and will update the Member States when items are available.

Healthcare Preparedness

Africa CDC initiated a continent-wide network of clinicians which met for the first time on 9 March 2020 and has been holding weekly webinars including ~300 clinicians from across the continent. The next webinar is scheduled for 2 April 2020.

Africa CDC has established an online portal with training materials via online courses, online case studies, and social media vignettes to support evidence-based care of COVID-19 patients.

Risk Communication

Africa CDC continues to provide and receive updated information about the outbreak through the WhatsApp groups created for Member States communication officers and journalists. Twenty-seven journalists have been added to the media group in the last week.

Africa CDC produced two podcasts to provide information about the outbreak

Africa CDC held discussions with the Facebook team to enhance Africa CDC campaigns and messaging for COVID-19. Full proposals about this will be submitted by Facebook for consideration.

Africa CDC transitioned to a new Africa CDC website which provides access to more information about COVID-19 from Africa CDC

Africa CDC is working on a rumour tracking system for Africa CDC to monitor, aggregate, and respond to rumours, mis- and dis-information, and misconceptions about COVID-19

Africa CDC is collaborating with the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading technology innovation Centre in Africa, to launch a call for innovative communication projects on COVID-19 based on African languages targeted at the semi-urban and rural population across Africa. The communication projects are expected to help counter disbelief and misinformation, catalyse citizens actions and solidarity as well as combat stigmatization.

Africa CDC is initiating a collaboration with Resolve to Save Lives, WHO, and a private opinion research company to survey attitudes and behaviors regarding COVID-19 and community social distancing. Reports will be provided to Member States after the initial round of surveys.

Recommendations for Member States: 

All Member States should enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases. Examples of enhanced surveillance include:

Adding questions about travel and testing for coronaviruses to existing influenza surveillance systems;

Notifying healthcare facilities to immediately inform local public health officials about persons who meet the case definition for SARI and/or have recent travel or contact history with someone who has traveled to a country with local transmission.

Member States that receive direct or connecting flights from affected countries should screen incoming passengers for severe respiratory illness and a history of recent travel to any country/area or territory reporting local transmission. Member States should be prepared to expand questions about recent travel to additional countries as the outbreak evolves.

Notify WHO and Africa CDC immediately if suspected or confirmed cases of infection with novel coronavirus are identified. Africa CDC should be notified by emailing

Provide guidance to the general public about seeking immediate medical care and informing healthcare providers about recent travel or contact history in anyone who develops symptoms of severe respiratory illness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *