Africa's surging Covid cases, deaths yet to stabilise: WHO


By NS Desk 06-Aug-2021

Nairobi, Aug 6 (IANS) The surging number of new Covid-19 cases and fatalities in Africa is yet to stabilise as the continent is grappling with spread of new variants, non-compliance to containment measures and limited vaccination, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, Phionah Atuhebwe, New Vaccines Introduction Officer at WHO Regional Office for Africa, said that the resurgence of new infections and deaths in the continent is concerning given the fragility of local health systems, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Deaths have peaked week-on-week on the continent and after a slight dip, COVID-19 cases are surging again," Atuhebwe said in the statement.

"The latest data tells us that Africa is still on the crest of the third wave, still recording more cases than in any earlier peak, and that we cannot take anything for granted," she added.

Since the onset of the pandemic early last year, Africa has registered a total of 6,866,597 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 174,054 deaths and 6,016,902 recoveries.

Statistics from WHO indicate that confirmed cases in Africa rose by 19 per cent to over 278,000 in the week ending August 1, with South Africa accounting for about 29 per cent of the infections.

Likewise, the continent recorded 6,400 deaths, a 2 per cent rise compared to the previous week with South Africa and Tunisia accounting for about 55 per cent of the figure.

Deaths linked to the virus have been on the rise in 15 African countries in the last one month and 12 have reported higher case fatality rates than the African average of 2.5 per cent.

Atuhebwe said the highly contagious Delta variant and easing of containment measures are partly to blame for the resurgence, adding that ramping up vaccination could reverse the worrying trend.

She said that ongoing shipment of large stockpiles of vaccines to the continent should be accompanied by public awareness in order to boost their uptake and hasten flattening of the curve.

According to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 53 countries have acquired 103 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far.

The Africa CDC, the specialised healthcare agency of the African Union, said on Thursday around 1.58 per cent of continent's population have been fully vaccinated.

Some 70.6 million of the total 103 million vaccine doses have been administered, the Africa CDC said.

Morocco, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Tunisia have acquired and administered the most doses.



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