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17 Apr 2020

#COVID19: UN Report Says Over 300,000 Africans Will Die, 27 Million Thrown In Extreme Poverty

The UN Economic Commission for Africa in a new report on the coronavirus pandemic says over 300,000 Africans may lose their lives due to COVID-19.
This is as the pandemic continues to impact on the continent’s struggling economies whose growth is expected to slow down from 3.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent in a best-case scenario.

The report made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday by its Communications Section, the ECA said the scenario would also push close to 27 million people into extreme poverty.

The report, which was launched virtually on Friday and titled: “COVID-19: Protecting African Lives and Economies”, the ECA said Africa’s fragile health systems could see additional costs being imposed on them.

The UN agency explained that this is because of the growing crisis that has, to date, resulted in over 16,000 infected Africans and claimed over 800 lives at the time of the report’s launch.

Ms Vera Songwe, UN Executive Secretary, ECA, said that to protect and build toward the continent’s shared prosperity, 100 billion dollars is needed to urgently and immediately provide fiscal space to all countries.

She said this is to help address the immediate safety net needs of the populations

Songwe noted that Africa is particularly susceptible, because 56 per cent of its urban population is concentrated in slums or informal dwellings and only 34 per cent of African households have access to basic handwashing facilities.

“The economic costs of the pandemic have been harsher than the direct impact of the COVID-19.

“Across the continent, all economies are suffering from the sudden shock to the economies.

“The physical distancing needed to manage the pandemic is suffocating and drowning economic activity,” she said.

NAN reports that the ECA report is the culmination of in-depth analyses presented to African Ministers of Finance in two virtual meetings.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s hospital death toll from COVID-19 rose by 847 to 14,576, as of 1600 GMT on April 16, the Health Ministry said.

In all, 341,551 people have been tested of whom 108,692 tested positive, it added.

The highest daily death toll reported in the UK was on April 9, when the government said 980 people had died.

Since then the daily toll has declined slightly and was under 800 for much of this week, until it rose by 861 as of April 15.

The death toll in English hospitals rose by 738 to 13,134, the health service said.

“Thirty of the 738 patients (aged between 34 and 92 years old) had no known underlying health condition,’’ it added. (Reuters/NAN)

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