Twenty-one African countries have seen cases rise by over 20% for at least two weeks running which is an increase of three countries over the previous week and the highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 26 African countries. The Alpha variant is in 38 countries and Beta is in 35.
cases in Africa have slowed down, although this development may be short-lived.
This is according to new data from the World Health Organization-WHO.
New case numbers in Africa fell by 1.7% to nearly 282 000 in the week
ending 18 July. Yet removing data from South Africa, which accounts for 37% of
these cases, reveals a uniquely steep and unbroken nine-week surge.
The current peak is 80% higher than Africa’s previous peak when data
from South Africa is excluded. Without the data from South Africa, cases rose
in Africa by 18% to over 182,000 in the week ending on July 18.
“Be under no illusions, Africa’s third wave is not over. This small step
forward offers hope and inspiration but must not mask the big picture for
Africa. Many countries are still at peak risk and Africa's third wave surged up
faster and higher than ever before" said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World
Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa at the weekly press
briefing on Thursday.
She predicts that Eid celebrations which we marked this week may also
result in a rise in cases.
Twenty-one African countries have seen cases rise by over 20% for at least two
weeks running which is an increase of three countries over the previous week
and the highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 26 African
countries. The Alpha variant is in 38 countries and Beta is in 35.
With infection levels predicted to remain high in many countries, WHO urges
African countries to urgently ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as the squeeze on
vaccine shipments eases.
Around 60 million doses are set to arrive in the coming weeks from the
United States of America, Europe, the United Kingdom, purchased doses and others through
the COVAX Facility. Over half a billion doses are expected through COVAX
alone this year.
“A massive influx of doses means that Africa must go all out and speed up the
vaccine rollout by five to six times if we are to get all these doses into arms
and fully vaccinate the most vulnerable 10% of all Africans by the end of
September,” said Dr Moeti.
Many countries are still at peak risk and Africa's third wave surged up faster
and higher than ever before, WHO reports.
of African countries will not reach the 10% vaccination target for all
countries by the end of September at the current pace.
million to 4 million doses are administered weekly on the continent, but to
meet the September target this must rise to 21 million doses at the very least
Just 20 million Africans, or 1.5% of the continent’s population, are fully
vaccinated so far and just 1.7% of the 3.7 billion doses given globally have
been administered in Africa.
High-income countries have administered 62 times more doses per
person than low-income countries. The World Bank estimates that in
addition to the US$ 9.5 billion needed to buy enough vaccines to ensure
adequate protection from COVID-19, another US$ 3 billion is required to fund
uptake, countries must scale up operations, investments on operational costs
and address vaccine confidence. Countries need sufficient vaccine sites and
health care workers, sufficient vaccine storage, and adequate transport and
logistics for distribution,” said Dr Moeti.
To boost the uptake of vaccines, she says African countries must address
the fear of side effects which are major drivers of people’s reluctance to get
vaccinated. This includes using political and traditional leaders as vaccine
champions, community mobilization efforts and addressing mis- and
disinformation on social media.