The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to accelerate with over 700 000 cases and 12 000 deaths reported in the WHO African Region. Since our last External Situation Report 21 issued on 22 July 2020, a total of 114 394 new confirmed COVID-19 cases (an 18% increase) was reported from 45 countries between 22 and 28 July 2020, compared to a 23% increase recorded during the previous reporting period (15 – 21 July 2020). Of the 114 394 reported new cases, the majority, 68% (77 963), were recorded in South Africa, which remains the hardest hit country across the continent and ranks fifth globally after the United States of America (3 748 248), Brazil (2 098 389), India (1 155 191), and the Russian Federation (783 328). Even with high case numbers in South Africa, the reported deaths are comparatively low.

From 22 to 28 July 2020, Gambia (which had previously reported the least case incidence in the past months) registered the highest percentage increase of 147% (132 to 326 cases). This was followed by Zimbabwe with a 55% increase (from 1 820 to 2 817 cases) and Zambia (50% increase; from 3 326 to 5 002 cases). Other countries with high percentage increase included; Botswana 42% (from 522 to 739 cases), Lesotho 41% (from 359 to 505 cases), and Namibia 40% (from 1 366 to 1 917 cases).

United Republic of Tanzania did not officially submit reports indicating any confirmed case. A total of 147 new health worker infections were recorded from nine countries: Madagascar (68), Senegal (25), Gambia (23), Malawi (19), Sudan (4), Namibia (3), Mozambique (2), Togo (2) and Sierra Leone (1). Algeria retrospectively reported 2 300 health worker infections during this reporting period, while Uganda recorded two new deaths for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak. The WHO African Region and South Africa hit an unfortunate milestone with their highest daily deaths of 625 and 572, respectively, on the 22 July 2020.

During this period, 2 360 new COVID-19 related deaths (23% increase) were reported from 33 countries, with 1 889 (80%) of the deaths recorded in South Africa. This was followed by Algeria, with 74 (3.1%) deaths and Nigeria with 63 (2.7%) deaths. Other countries that reported new deaths during the reporting period include; Ethiopia (59), Kenya (49), Malawi (32), Madagascar (28), Senegal (24), Angola (17), Eswatini (15), Ghana (15), Zambia (14), Zimbabwe (14), Democratic Republic of the Congo (12), Cameroon (9), Lesotho (6), Côte d’Ivoire (5), Guinea (5), Central African Republic (4), Congo (4), Gambia (3), Togo (3), Gabon (3), Benin (2), Liberia (2), Mali (2), Uganda (2), Botswana (1), Cabo Verde (1), Mauritania (1), Namibia (1), and South Sudan (1).

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