WHO says South America a 'new epicentre' of pandemic; Africa tops 100,000 cases | CBC News
May 22, 2020 1 min, 17 secs
South America has become a new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic with Brazil hardest-hit, while cases are rising in some African countries that so far have a relatively low death toll, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

"The COVID-19 pandemic today reached a milestone in Africa, with more than 100,000 confirmed cases," the WHO said in a statement, noting there were 3,100 confirmed deaths on the vast continent.

Nine African countries had 50 per cent increases in cases in the past week, while others have seen a decline or have stable rates, said Dr.

The low mortality rate may be because half the continent's population is 18 or younger, he said, while saying he remains worried the disease will spread on a continent with "significant gaps" in intensive care services, medical oxygen and ventilation. About half of African countries are experiencing community transmission of the virus.

The situation in South America appears graver. Ryan said: "In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease.".

Brazil is the "most affected" South American country, and authorities there have approved broad use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19, he said.

As of Friday, Brazil had registered 330,890 coronavirus cases, passing Russia and now second only to the U.S.

Many experts said the rising death toll across Latin America showed the limits of government action in a region where millions labour in informal jobs and many police forces are weak or corrupt and unable to enforce restrictions.

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