The World Health Organisation has said that it has identified some factors that potentially played a role in slowing down the Coronavirus infection rate in Africa.

There have been over 1.4 million confirmed COVID19 cases on the African continent – with more than 1.1 million recoveries & 34,000 deaths cumulatively.

In a publication by the WHO’s Africa region, it said “A mix of socio-ecological factors such as low population density and mobility, hot and humid climate, lower age group, interacting to accentuate their individual effects, are likely contributing to the pattern seen in Africa.”

WHO also said “since 20 July, the region has seen a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases. Over the past four weeks, 77, 147 new cases were reported, down from 131 647 recorded in the previous four weeks.”

“The downward trend that we have seen in Africa over the past two months is undoubtedly a positive development and speaks to the robust and decisive public health measures taken by governments across the region,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

She adds that “But we must not become complacent. Other regions of the world have experienced similar trends only to find that as social and public health measures are relaxed, cases start ramping up again.”

Some of the most-affected countries including Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa have all seen infections drop.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have also remained low in the region.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti said “Africa has not witnessed an exponential spread of COVID-19 as many initially feared.”

“But the slower spread of infection in the region means we expect the pandemic to continue to smoulder for some time, with occasional flare-ups.”

The swift application of lockdowns following the outbreak according to the WHO played in role in slowing infections although it came at a high cost for many economies.

The lack of mobility among many populations also helped to slow down infections according to analysis by the WHO panel that examined the reason behind Africa low infection rates.

“The response in African countries needs to be tailored to each country’s situation moving forward as we see different patterns of infection even within a country.

Targeted and localized responses that are informed by what works best in a given region of a country will be most crucial as countries ease restrictions and open up their economies. Blanket approaches to the region or countries are not feasible,” Dr Moeti said.