Africa had more cases of Covid-19 in the second wave last year than in the first, yet did not implement stricter measures, a study shows.

The study published on Wednesday by medical journal Lancet shows that at the peak of the first wave in July last year, the mean daily number of new cases was 18, 273

It progressed to about 23,790 cases per day by 31 December, with 73% of African countries being affected by the second wave.

By 15 April, the medical journal shows, nearly all (96%) African countries had “five or more stringent public health and social measures in place”.

“But this number had decreased to 72% as of Dec 31, 2020, despite an increase in cases in the preceding month,” the journal notes.

The study is described as the first comprehensive analysis of the pandemic in Africa, providing greater insights into the impacts of the virus.

It looked at Covid-19 cases, deaths, recovery and test data in all 55 African Union (AU) member states between 14 February and 31 December.

“These insights reveal a need to improve testing capacity and reinvigorate public health campaigns,” study author and head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention John Nkengasong says.

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