The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday emphasized the crucial need to intensify COVID-19 testing and tracing to effectively control the virus and limit transmission across the continent.
“Testing is the number one tool to fight this pandemic, because without testing we will be fighting blindly,” said John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC.
“We also need to trace people who are infected, isolate them and treat them,” he said, adding that “by supporting African Union (AU) Member States to do more testing and tracing to identify and isolate infected persons, we will be able to control the virus and limit transmission.”
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa near 3.5 million cases, the Africa CDC stressed that “with the current daily average of new cases in the second wave surpassing that of the first wave.”
According to the latest figures from the Africa CDC, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent reached 3,494,117 as of Thursday morning, as the death toll related to the pandemic in Africa stood at 87,937.
The Africa CDC, specialized healthcare agency of the AU, also called for concerted efforts to intensify funding in support of a broader effort to accelerate equitable access to testing technologies, increase testing of asymptomatic persons, and reducing community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
“Testing and tracing remain two of the strongest public health interventions for containing COVID-19 on this continent of about 1.3 billion people,” the Africa CDC said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“Yet, only a little above 30 million tests have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic,” it added.
According to the agency, by scaling up testing and tracing, health authorities on the continent will have access to more reliable epidemiologic data to advise governments, businesses and the public on how to better manage the pandemic and mitigate its socioeconomic impact.