Burkina Faso on Wednesday announced its first death from Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. It is the first recorded death from the coronavirus in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Medical authorities in the Sahel state of Burkina Faso announced Wednesday that the number of infections there had risen by seven to 27 — and that one of them, a 62-year-old diabetic woman, had died overnight.
The country’s main opposition party, the Union for Progress and Change (UPC), said in a statement that the victim was its lawmaker Rose-Marie Compaore, the first-vice president of the parliament.
“This tragic event calls us all to recognise the scale and seriousness of the problem which confronts us all,” said Martial Ouedraogo, the West African nation’s Covid-19 response coordinator.
“This is a very contagious illness that is potentially fatal and that for now has no treatment aside from prevention.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now urged African continent to ‘prepare for the worst’.
“Africa should wake up,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, pointing out that “in other countries we have seen how the virus actually accelerates after a certain tipping point”.
Africa has lagged behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, but in the past few days has seen a significant rise in cases.
Experts have repeatedly warned about the perils for the continent, given its weak health infrastructure, poverty, conflicts, poor sanitation and urban crowding.
As of Wednesday, a tally of reported cases, compiled by AFP, stood at more than 600 for all of Africa.
Of these, 16 cases have been fatal: six in Egypt, six in Algeria, two in Morocco, one in Sudan and one in Burkina Faso.
Those figures are relatively small compared to the rest of world — the global death toll has passed 8,800 with almost 210,000 total infections.
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