The number of COVID-19 cases in Africa rose above 200,000 after doubling in just 18 days.
As of Thursday, a total of 205,520 persons had contracted the coronavirus which has killed at least 5,560 in the continent.
The World Health Organisation said while the number of infections doubled in Africa in less than three weeks, it took the continent 98 days to reach 100,000 cases.
Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director in Africa, said although there has been increased testing on the continent, an ongoing community transmission in most of the countries is also driving the rise in cases.
Moeti also said about 10 countries account for nearly 80 percent of all cases, with South Africa having a quarter of the total cases.
“For now, Africa still only accounts for a small fraction of cases worldwide,” she was quoted as saying.
“But the pace of the spread is quickening. Swift and early action by African countries has helped to keep numbers low, but constant vigilance is needed to stop Covid-19 from overwhelming health facilities.”
Moeti further noted the “considerable socioeconomic cost” of lockdowns enforced to slow the spread of the virus, but warned that easing of restrictions must be accompanied with widespread testing and “vigilance”.
“The need to balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods is a key consideration in this response, particularly in Africa.”