The United States of America (USA) is only able to test for Covid-19 at 25% (253 per 1,000 population) and South Africa, the country with the best capability for testing for Covid-19 in Africa sits at 6% (62 per 1,000 population) – the challenges to test effectively for Covid-19 puts Africa at a high risk.
Media reports says modelling suggests that the actual number of infections may be threefold to twelvefold higher in different countries than has been documented.
Report says despite 54% (680,000) of the 1.253-million Covid-19 cases reported in Africa being documented in South Africa, this itself probably represents a gross underestimate (possibly sevenfold to tenfold) of SARS-CoV-2 infections that have occurred in South Africa. This under-estimation and documentation of Covid-19 cases is a global challenge.
Additionally, n Africa, the capabilities to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection is severely constrained because of limited laboratory capacity.
Testing facilities are generally only available at a single central laboratory across Africa.
The limited test capabilities is crippled further by the high costs of such tests and the global shortage of SARS-CoV-2 testing materials. The high cost is more challenging to overcome in Africa as the continent almost completely depend on the import of the required reagents for Covid-19 testing.