COVID-19 positive cases in Africa are increasing by 20% on a weekly basis, as most countries on the continent enter a third wave.
A World Health Organization (WHO) official said Thursday.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said the continent was already reeling from the third wave of coronavirus infections that could overwhelm already fragile public health systems.
“Africa is in the middle of a full-fledged third wave.
“The sobering trajectory of the increase in cases should prompt everyone to act urgently,” Moeti said in a statement, adding that public health measures must be scaled up quickly to find, test, isolate and to treat patients and to quickly find their contacts.
WHO statistics show that new cases of COVID-19 in Africa jumped to more than 116,500 in the week ending June 13, up from 91,000 the week before amid a peak of a month that pushed the continent’s case count beyond the five million mark.
Moeti said 22 African countries saw a more than 20% increase in coronavirus infections during the week of June 13, while the number of deaths increased by 15% in 36 countries during the same week.
She said the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Namibia and Uganda had reported the highest number of new weekly cases since the pandemic was reported on the continent.
According to Moeti, the easing of COVID-19 measures combined with the cold in the southern African region and new variants is behind the new outbreaks on the continent.
The Delta variant from India had been reported in 14 African countries, while the Alpha and Beta variants, originating from Great Britain and South Africa respectively, were detected in 25 countries on the continent.
She said WHO is helping African countries to establish contingency plans, including enhanced surveillance; rapid testing and reorganization of intensive care facilities to enable them to cope with the increase in coronavirus infection. (Xinhua / NAN)