Medical experts say South Africa has conducted about 58,000 coronavirus tests – the most done by any country in Africa so far – but could have done about 300,000 tests by now, other things being equal.
Head of the Medical Research Council Glenda Gray says the country should even be testing about 25,000 people a day. “We’re far behind.”
Reports reveal that many African countries do not know the extent of the novel coronavirus’ spread among their people.
South Africa is said to have had one of the speediest and most forceful responses to the Covid-19 pandemic — it shut down its borders and put residents into physical lockdown before it announced its first death from Covid-19, a respiratory disease that has caused more than 50,000 deaths worldwide.
However, reports from the grassroots in the country indicate that people are largely unmotivated to avail themselves for testing. Authorities in South Africa confirm that people are refusing to be hospitalised or self-isolate. Others refuse to comply with wearing masks even after they have been infected.
Today (April 6), South Africa had recorded 11 deaths and 1,655 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Globally, 1,274,976 cases have been recorded with 69,501 deaths and 265,883 recoveries.
Countries which were slow to react are seeing some of the highest numbers of deaths due to the disease.
World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test.”
South Africa has braced up for mass testing campaign, with plans to increase its surveillance. Its large health research and disease-tracing machinery, honed by years of dealing with with its HIV epidemic has helped in this critical time.