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IOM West and Central Africa Regional Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan COVID-19

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Progression of The Pandemic in West and Central Africa

The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, which was first identified in Wuhan,
Hubei Province in China in December 2019, spread over the following weeks to all regions of the world, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

While the virus was slow to reach the African continent compared to other parts of the world, the illness has grown exponentially since the first known cases and continues to spread. The WHO has warned that Africa may become the pandemic's next epicentre. As of 31 May 2020, Africa has reported 100,610 confirmed cases including 2,554 deaths, a case fatality rate of 2.54 per cent. The pandemic has also affected West and Central Africa (WCA), with all 23 countries in the region reporting cases and deaths related to the virus. As of 31 May 2020, there were just more than 46,000 reported cases, including over 1,000 deaths, in the region (source WHO).

Furthermore, to date, analyses show active community transmission in all countries except in the Central African Republic, Cabo Verde, Mauritania and Sao Tome facing cluster cases while The Gambia is experiencing sporadic cases.

It should however be noted that the actual number of cases may be much higher, because of low testing capacity and underreporting of cases.

For this reason, a more accurate representation of the situation in the region is the reporting curve, which, as shown in the graphs below, demonstrates a likely rapid evolution of the virus in the region.