UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic threatens Africa’s progress and could push millions into extreme poverty.
The U.N. chief said in a video message launching a policy report on “The Impact of COVID-19 in Africa” that countries on the continent have responded swiftly to the crisis, and as of now reported cases are lower than feared with more than 2,500 deaths.
The virus is present in all African countries with most recording fewer than 1,000 cases, the 28-page U.N. report said.
The relatively low numbers of COVID-19 cases confirmed thus far “have raised hopes that African countries may be spared the worst of the pandemic,” the report said. “Caution is warranted, however, as these are early days in the life cycle of a disease that is still not fully understood and where we have seen repeated patterns of first slow, then exponential growth in the number of cases.”