Africa CDC: Rate of new COVID-19 cases falls amid more testing

A member of the public is tested for the coronavirus in Bujumbura, Burundi Monday, July 6, 2020. Burundi launched a campaign of mass screening for COVID-19 on Monday in the country's largest city Bujumbura, indicating that the new president Evariste Ndayishimiye is implementing policies to combat the spread of the disease. (AP Photo/Berthier Mugiraneza)
A woman attends a face mask distribution ceremony in Maputo, Mozambique, on July 31, 2020. The government of Maputo distributed some 13,000 face masks to 4,500 vulnerable women and girls in the city’s markets to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday. (Photo by Leo Pedro/Xinhua)

Africa’s top public health official says the rate of confirmed new coronavirus cases has fallen again, by 14% from the previous week.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, John Nkengasong dismisses the idea of a “hidden pandemic” on the continent, telling reporters that testing has improved significantly in Africa’s 54 countries, and close to 1% of the total population of 1.3 billion has been tested for the virus.

He says earlier concerns about testing shortages are disappearing as countries test more, and the easing curve “represents a sign of hope.”

Africa has a total of 1.2 million confirmed cases, roughly half in South Africa.

“In the coming weeks we’ll see dynamics begin to change with the introduction of antigen tests,” Nkengasong says. “We’re very encouraged it can transform the situation” as they can be easily decentralized for use beyond major cities and give a clearer picture of infections.

In response to the Trump administration saying it will not work with an international cooperative effort to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine globally, Nkengasong says “we are in this together. No country will be safe if any country in the world still has cases of COVID.”