The coronavirus has arrived in the most remote place of the World and 213 countries and territories are affected. Namibia has now 18 cases and South Africa 19 137. China reported only one death. Namibia emerged with stage 2 out of the lockdown on 5 May as expected. The latest cases and deaths are the following:
Table 1: Coronavirus cases – 27 January – 21 May
|Region/Country||Cases27 Jan||Cases27 Feb||Cases26 Mar||Cases30 Apr||Cases14 May||Cases21 May|
|China||4 581||78 499||81 285||82 862||82 929||82 967|
|Europe||–||556||246 327||1 219 278||1 392 455||1 451 954|
|Africa||1 005||36 703||70 558||94 971|
|North America||74||89 478||1 116 169||1 502 626||1 675 460|
|Rest of the World||–||2 495||53 322||766 572||1 381 555||1 818 402|
|Total||4 581||82 183||471 417||3 221 584||4 430 123||5 123 754|
From the middle of March the epicentre of the coronavirus has shifted from China to Europe, the US and then to the rest of the World with 35.5% of all reported cases. The US reported 1 595 318 cases and 95 021 deaths. Only 1.8% of the reported cases and 0.9% of the deaths are on the African continent; however one should keep in mind that testing is not done as expected.
Table 2: Coronavirus deaths – 27 January – 21 May
|Region/Country||Deaths27 Jan||Deaths27 Feb||Deaths26 Mar||Deaths30 Apr||Deaths/14 May||Deaths/21 May|
|China||106||2 747||3 287||4 633||4 633||4 634|
|Europe||–||14||14 143||131 603||154 344||162 336|
|Africa||28||1 557||2 484||3 019|
|North America||–||1 334||64 665||90 499||101 052|
|Rest of the World||–||43||2 503||25 805||46 220||59 762|
|Total||106||2 804||21 295||228 263||298 180||330 803|
 North America is Canada and the US
If the current trend continues the total number of deaths will be around 363 000 in a weeks’ time. The USA, UK, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium have today 68.7% of the number of deaths reported in the whole World.
Africa was out of limelight in the beginning and Egypt reported the first cases. Slowly the coronavirus pandemic is reaching the African continent and all countries reported 94 971 cases and 3 019 deaths. There are only 23 659 cases reported in the SADC region and 483 deaths.
Table 3: Coronavirus cases and deaths in the SADC region – 2 Apr – 21 May 2020
|SADC country||Cases2 Apr||Cases30 Apr||Cases14 May||Cases21 May||Deaths2 Apr||Deaths30 Apr||Deaths14 May||Deaths21 May|
|South Africa||1 353||5 350||12 074||19 137||5||103||219||369|
|DRC||109||491||1 169||1 835||9||30||50||61|
|Total||1 791||7 200||15 229||23 659||23||173||319||483|
Graph one below illustrate that the peak has been reached and we are in a declining trend for 8 weeks already.
Graph 1: Weekly change of the World’s coronavirus cases and deaths
The graph above depicts the weekly change since beginning of March 2020 in the whole World of reported cases and deaths. The situation is improving by the week.
Graph 2: COVID 19 cases and deaths in Africa and the rest of the world
Source: Compiled from Worldometers data
From the data which is available one can see that a third wave is not on the way as the WHO predicted five weeks ago. The number of cases has risen by 1.4%, but this mainly due to the rise of number of cases in Russia and Brazil.
The World economy is in a severe recession as the MSCI World Index (below) is signalling. The MSCI World Index consists of the stock exchange performance of 28 countries.
Graph 3: MSCI World Index
The MSCI index was at 2401 on 22 February 2020 and closed on Wednesday at 1998, a fall of 14.9%. The latest improvement in stock exchanges is contrary to the normal investment logic. It seems to be that the Dow discounted already the world recession and low profitability of many companies and stocks are back in favour due to the low interest policy of central banks.
Table 4: Selected international commodity prices
|Winners for Namibia|
|Energy: Brent oil||60.34%||-45.04%|
Source: Trading economics. 21 May 2020
The commodity prices relevant to Namibia reached a turning point five weeks ago and with the weakening exchange rate one can probably see an increase in exports from May onwards. The N$ is currently trading 17.67 to the US Dollar and 19.31 to the Euro.
On the home front the Government gazetted a directive that businesses should not dismiss employees or reduce their salaries from 28 March until the 2nd of June. The Namibian Employers Federation took Government to court arguing that under the declared State of Emergency they (business) do still have rights under the constitution and parts of the Labour Act cannot be set aside willy nilly. Trade Unions support Government and they see the actions by NEF as not ‘supportive of tripartite cooperation’ and business should ‘be sensitive towards the plight of the workers’. Policymakers often do not understand that any business will not just reduce wages or dismiss employees just for fun, any business owner and director has also a fiduciary duty towards the company under the Companies Act. The parties will be heard on next week and even if NEF will win the case, the level of trust has reached a low. Government knows that without the private sector economic recovery will be an illusion due to limits in fiscal space and thus the current political message is difficult to comprehend and might even backfire in coming months.
Compiled by: Rainer Ritter
21 May 2020