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Covid-19 cases rise in Africa

by Bustop TV News

By Lerato Ndlovu

Africa has in the past days recorded an increase in Covid-19 positive cases, marking the worst week in the pandemic for the continent.

According to WHO, Covid-19 cases increased for seven consecutive weeks in Africa since the onset of the third wave on 3 May 2021. Sixteen countries are now in resurgence with the addition of Senegal and Malawi this week.

World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti said more than 251 000 new Covid-19 cases were recorded on the continent by the end of last week, amounting to a 20% increase over the previous week and a 12% jump from the January peak.

“Africa has just marked the continent’s most dire pandemic week ever. But the worst is yet to come as the fast-moving third wave continues to gain speed and new ground,” said Dr Moeti. 

“The end to this precipitous rise is still weeks away. Cases are doubling now every 18 days, compared with every 21 days only a week ago. We can still break the chain of transmission by testing, isolating contacts and cases and following key public health measures.”

After almost grinding to a halt in May and early June, vaccine deliveries across the continent are gathering momentum. In the past two weeks, more than 1.6 million doses were delivered to Africa through COVAX, and more than 20 million Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses are expected to arrive imminently from the United States through COVAX, in coordination with the African Union.

“COVAX partners are working around the clock to clinch dose-sharing pledges and procurement deals with manufacturers to ensure that the most vulnerable Africans get a COVID-19 vaccination quickly, forty-nine countries have been notified of the allocations they will receive.

“These efforts are paying off. Our appeals for ‘we first and not me first’ are finally turning talk into action, other significant donations from Norway and Sweden are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, but the deliveries can’t come soon enough because the third wave looms large across the continent.”

“With much larger COVID-19 vaccine deliveries expected to arrive in July and August, African countries must use this time to prepare to rapidly expand the roll-out.

“Governments and partners can do this by planning to expand vaccination sites, improving cold chain capacities beyond capital cities, sensitizing communities to boost vaccine confidence and demand, and ensuring that operational funding is ready to go when it is needed.”

So far, 66 million doses have been delivered to Africa, including 40 million doses secured through bilateral deals, 25 million COVAX-supplied doses and 800 000 doses supplied by the African Union African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team. The 50 million doses administered to date account for just 1.6% of doses administered globally.

Sixteen million, or less than 2%, of Africans are now fully vaccinated. Nineteen countries have used more than 80% of their COVAX-supplied doses, while 31 countries have used more than 50%.

Zimbabwe recently received 2 million doses of Sinovac.

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