WHO Warns COVID-19 Surging In Africa, 43 Percent Surge In Deaths In A Week

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said COVID-19 deaths in Africa jumped 43% last week as several countries continue to face a shortage of oxygen and intensive-care beds for patients, reported Reuters.

During a virtual press briefing on Thursday, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director, said Africa is recording its highest number of COVID-19 cases since the virus hit the continent in early 2020.

The number of deaths associated with Covid-19 in the African region rose to 6,273 in the week of July 5-11, compared with 4,384 in the previous week.

 “Deaths have climbed steeply for the past five weeks. This is a clear warning sign that hospitals in the most impacted countries are reaching a breaking point,” Dr. Moeti said.

She said under-resourced health systems in countries are facing dire shortages of the health workers, supplies, equipment, and infrastructure needed to provide care to severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The WHO official added that It is crucial that African countries increase oxygen production to help patients suffering from the disease’s worst symptoms.

The increase in fatalities linked to coronavirus can partly be blamed on the delta coronavirus variant that is said to be the most transmittable of all the variants. It has been reported in 21 African countries so far.

 The chronic shortage of vaccines and public fatigue with coronavirus prevention measures are also driving the case numbers. Notably, most African countries have eased health measures meant to combat the spread of the virus for economic reasons.

Africa has officially recorded more than six million cases of COVID-19, a figure that is far lower as compared to other continents. So far, only 18 million people out of the 1.3 billion living in the African continent have been vaccinated. Some of the countries blame the slow vaccination process on the shortage of vaccine doses in the global market.  

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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