COVID-19 kills over 137,000 in Africa as confirmed cases surpass 5.2m

Angela Onwuzoo

Over 137,000 people have died of COVID-19 on the African continent since the outbreak of the viral infection, says the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Africa CDC says more than 5.2m cases have been recorded on the continent so far with over 4.6m recoveries.

The agency disclosed this in its latest update on Monday, noting that the continent has now recorded 5,208,206 cases with 137,600 fatalities.

The African Union health agency stated that 4,620,442 recoveries had been recorded despite the increase in fatalities.

In the Africa CDC’s latest report, the Central African region has recorded 187,195 cases; 2,944 deaths, and 167,610 recoveries while Cameroon has the highest figures with 80,090 cases; 1,310 deaths and 77,305 recoveries.

East Africa, according to the report, recorded 698,035 cases; 13,722 deaths and 577,063 recoveries with Ethiopia leading the region with 275,194 cases; 4,283 deaths and 254,948 recoveries.

In Northern Africa, there are now 1,534,111 cases; 46,568 deaths and 1,342,751 recoveries while Morocco has the highest figures with 526,651 cases; 9,238 deaths and 513,382 recoveries.

According to the report, Southern Africa has now recorded 2,308,057 cases; 68,000 deaths and 2,070,495 recoveries as South Africa is still the leading country on the continent with 1,823,319 cases; 58,702 deaths and 1,647,503 recoveries.

The Africa CDC report shows that Nigeria has the highest figures in the West African region with 167,206 cases; 2,117 deaths and 163,557 recoveries out of 480,808 cases; 6,366 deaths and 462,523 recoveries recorded.

The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, says 22 African countries—nearly 40 percent of Africa’s 54 nations—cases rose by over 20 percent in the week ending on 13 June.

Moeti noted that during the same week, deaths rose by nearly 15 percent to over 2200 in 36 countries.

In her latest statement on the WHOAFRO website, Moeti said, “Africa is in the midst of a full-blown third wave, noting that the sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action.

“We’ve seen in India and elsewhere just how quickly COVID-19 can rebound and overwhelm health systems. So public health measures must be scaled up fast to find, test, isolate and care for patients and to quickly trace their contacts.

“Along with other factors, a lack of adherence to transmission prevention measures has fuelled the new surge that coincides with colder seasonal weather in southern Africa and as more contagious variants spread. 

“The Delta variant has been reported in 14 African countries and the Alpha and Beta variants have been found in over 25 African countries,” she said.

According to her, 24 African countries have used less than half of the doses they have received so far, including four of the countries experiencing a resurgence.

“The rise in cases and deaths is an urgent wake-up call for those countries lagging behind to rapidly expand vaccination sites, to reach priority groups for vaccination and to respond to community concerns. 

“A number of African countries have shown that they can move vaccines quickly, so while we welcome the recent international vaccine pledges, if we are to curb the third wave Africa needs doses here and now,” Moeti said.

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