HomeHealthAfrica records 26% increase in new COVID-19 cases, says Africa CDC

Africa records 26% increase in new COVID-19 cases, says Africa CDC

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Angela Onwuzoo

The Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. John Nkengasong, says the African continent has recorded a 26 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases.

According to Nkengasong, the epidemiological review of week 22, (31 May – 6 June 2021) showed that the continent recorded 94,145 new COVID-19 cases representing a 26 percent increase.

The Africa CDC director disclosed this on Thursday during a press briefing, noting that the 4,969,847 COVID-19 cases recorded on the continent account for 2.9 percent of total cases reported globally.

He also noted that there has been an overall 13 percent average increase in new cases reported in Africa each week.

He disclosed that a total of 1,977 new deaths were reported in Africa in the week under review compared to 1,934 from the previous week, noting that this represents a two percent increase in new deaths from the previous week.

The Africa CDC director says over 133,000 deaths have been reported in Africa, with 4,477,813 recoveries.

According to him, the highest proportion of new cases is from the southern region (51 percent ). Others are the northern region (26 percent), eastern region (14 percent), central region (seven percent ) and western region (three percent ).

“To date, over 49 million COVID-19 tests (49,083,332), have been conducted in African Union Member States since the pandemic started. The overall positivity rate is 10.1 percent and the test-per-case ratio is 9.9”, he said.

The virologist stated further that 13 countries on the continent including Nigeria are now reporting the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, originally reported in India.

Speaking on vaccine update, Nkengasong said the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa CDC had earlier in the week announced the launch of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative.

The initiative, he says, aims to enable access to safe and efficacious vaccines across Africa, helping to save lives and accelerate the economic recovery of the continent.

“Specifically, the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people and enable the delivery of safe and efficacious vaccinations to millions more across the continent. 

“The initiative will strengthen the continent’s capacity to manufacture vaccines through a focus on human capital development, enabling work opportunities for young people.

“Under this initiative, the Mastercard Foundation will deploy USD 1.3 billion over the next three years under this initiative. This partnership will also lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development”, he explained.

According to him, 54.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been procured by 50 member states while 35.9 million doses have been administered, which he notes corresponds to 65 percent of the total supply available in Africa.

Recall that the World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, had last week, said as the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases increases, African countries must urgently boost critical care capacity to prevent health facilities from being overwhelmed.

According to Moeti, weak observance of preventive measures, increased population movement and interaction, as well as the arrival of winter in southern Africa, have heightened the risk of COVID-19 resurgence in many countries.

 “In the last two weeks, Africa recorded a 20 percent increase in cases compared with the previous fortnight. The pandemic is trending upwards in 14 countries and in the past week alone, eight countries witnessed an abrupt rise of over 30 percent in cases.

“South Africa is reporting a sustained increase in cases, while Uganda saw a 131 percent week-on-week rise last week, with infection clusters in schools, rising cases among health workers and isolation centres and intensive care units filling up. Angola and Namibia are also experiencing a resurgence in cases”, she said.

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