Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. John Nkengasong, says five countries account for 63 per cent of over 6.3m COVID-19 cases reported in Africa so far.
Nkengasong disclosed this on Thursday during a press briefing, noting that the 6,335,702 COVID-19 cases recorded on the continent account for 3.3 per cent of total cases reported globally.
The five countries, according to the Africa CDC director, include; South Africa -37 per cent of total cases (2,327,472); Morocco – nine per cent of total cases (566,356); Tunisia – nine per cent of total cases (555,997); Egypt – four per cent of total cases (283,862) and Ethiopia four per cent of total cases (277,959).
Nkengasong said 160,648 deaths have been reported in Africa, with 5,528,468 recoveries.
He also stated that the continent accounts for 3.9 per cent of deaths reported globally with a case fatality rate of 2.5 per cent.
He noted that a total of 6,161 new deaths were reported in Africa last week compared to 5,492 from the previous week.
According to him, this represents a 12 per cent increase in new deaths from the previous week.
Nkengasong further said there has been an overall 16 per cent average increase in new cases reported in Africa each week.
Giving a regional breakdown, he said Africa saw a 41 per cent increase in new cases in the Western region while a 36 per cent increase was recorded in the Northern region.
According to him, the Southern region witnessed a 12 per cent increase while a one per cent increase was recorded in the Eastern region.
He, however, said the Central region recorded a two percent decrease in the number of new cases.
The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa says the surge in new cases is driven by public fatigue with key health measures and an increased spread of variants.
It noted that the Delta variant, which is currently the most transmissible of all variants, has been detected in 21 African countries, while the Alpha variant is in 35 countries and Beta in 30.
“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,” says Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Moeti noted, “Under-resourced health systems in countries are facing dire shortages of health workers, supplies, equipment and infrastructure needed to provide care to severely ill COVID-19 patients.
“Hospital admissions in around 10 countries have increased rapidly and at least six countries are facing shortages of intensive care unit beds. Demand for medical oxygen has spiked and is now estimated to be 50 per cent higher than at the same time in 2020.
“A rapid WHO assessment of six countries facing a resurgence found that just 27 percent of the medical oxygen needed is produced.”