Coronavirus Update: Europe’s 26,000 New Cases a Day Versus Africa‘s ‘Hopeful’ Daily Drop

Written by | Friday, August 21st, 2020

European countries are registering an average 26,000 new cases of coronavirus every day, Hans Kluge, the Director General of the WTO‘s Europe office said on Thursday (20 August), as he warned of a potential resurgence of the pandemic. While the “epicentre” of the pandemic had moved to the Americas, the European region still accounted for 17% of the global total of coronavirus cases, Kluge noted, adding that „this is due in part to the relaxation of public health and social measures, where authorities have been easing some of the restrictions and people have been dropping their guard.“ He also said WHO Europe would convene a virtual meeting for its 53 member states on reopening of schools, to discuss “concrete actions … to ensure children receive proper education in safe settings”.
On the same day, Germany announced that it has recorded 1,707 new COVID cases over the previous 24 hours, the highest number since late April. The country has widely been seen as a model for containing the virus in Europe, due in part to an early, aggressive, test and trace policy. But like in most countries across the EU, an uptick in infections has been observed in recent weeks. The surge in cases has led the federal government to put all of Spain – except the Canary Islands – as well as large swathes of the Balkans on its list of high-risk areas which imposes a mandatory 14-day self-isolation and test upon arrival from there. In neigbouring Belgium, schools will reopen on 1 September when the academic year starts, with children above 12 years old and teachers required to wear masks, the country’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes has said “The goal is to avoid a second wave, we see today that the situation is stabilising and improving,” she told a news conference. Belgium has recorded a downward trend in daily new cases in the past days.
Meanwhile, average daily cases of coronavirus in Africa fell last week, a “hopeful sign” for the continent’s fight against the disease, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said. The continent-wide daily average was 10,300 last week, down from 11,000 the week before, Dr. John Nkengasong said, adding that officials were greeting the news with “cautious optimism”. „We have begun to bend the curve slowly. It is very, very early. We are dealing with a very delicate virus that spreads very quickly, but it’s important to recognise those slight tendencies that are positive,“ Dr. Nkengasong added. South Africa has now seen its number of daily confirmed cases fall from a peak of over 12,000 to an average of 5,000, driving the drop in the continent-wide average, whereby countries in West and Central Africa were showing “similar trends”.

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