COVID-19 cases in Africa up by 30% in past week

By Rodrigue Forku

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AA) – Coronavirus cases in Africa are up by nearly 30% in the past week and deaths are up by 15%, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Thursday.

At a media briefing, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said the rise in cases is similar to the first wave peak in July 2020 and about 50% of the second wave peak in January 2021.

Coronavirus cases have surpassed 5 million in Africa, with over 136,000 deaths and more than 4.5 million recoveries. "After four weeks of consecutive increases, Africa’s third wave is surging upward and accelerating fast," she said.

Moeti said COVID-19 cases are rising by over 20% week-on-week in 22 African countries, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Uganda have passed their second wave peaks.

"Africa is in the midst of a full blown third wave. The sobering trajectory of surging COVID-19 cases should rouse everyone to urgent action. We’ve seen in India and elsewhere how quickly COVID-19 can rebound and overwhelm health systems," she added.

"Turning to COVID-19 vaccines, Africa’s rollout is picking-up speed with over 5 million doses administered in the past five days, compared to around 3.5 million doses per week for the past three weeks.

"Almost 12 million people are now fully vaccinated, but this is still less than 1% of Africa’s population," she added.

Moeti said 23 countries have used less than half of the doses they have received, including four of the countries experiencing a resurgence. "These countries are facing logistical challenges, gaps in operational funding and vaccine hesitancy."