Africa’s toughest battle with Covid-19 is getting enough tests done

Aug. 7 marked a notable date in Africa’s fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as the continent passed one million confirmed cases.

Over the past 175 days since the first case was confirmed in Egypt, the disease has spread to every African country, resulting in over 23,000 deaths. Yet, experts fear the worst is yet to come as there has been a notable “acceleration” in the spread of the virus: confirmed cases more than doubled in July alone.

Much of those fears are linked to the low levels of testing as governments across the continent struggle with acquiring testing supplies to match local needs. Only 16 countries on the continent have conducted more than 100,000 tests while only three—South Africa, Morocco and Ethiopia—have conducted over half a million tests. Meanwhile, Nigeria, home to around 200 million people, has only conducted around 1,500 tests per million people.

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