The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating in Africa, spreading to the hinterland from capital cities where it arrived with travellers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (June 11).

But the WHO said there was no indication that severe cases and deaths were being missed, nor has the virus caused significant infections in refugee camps across the continent.

Ten countries are driving Africa’s epidemic, accounting for 75% of the some 207,600 cases on the continent, with 5,000 deaths reported, according to Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director.

South Africa, which last month began a phased easing of the lockdown, is the hardest-hit, accounting for a quarter of all cases, she said.

“Even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3 percent of the global total, it’s clear that the pandemic is accelerating,” Moeti told a news briefing for Geneva-based U.N. correspondents.

Moeti said Africa will have a “steady increase” in COVID-19 cases until a vaccine is developed and strong public health measures are needed in current “hotspots” including South Africa, Algeria and Cameroon.

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