Africa COVID-19 cases reduction slow – WHO

Africa COVID-19 cases reduction slow – WHO

The World Health Organisation on Thursday hinted that the weekly COVID-19 cases had declined by more than 20 per cent in Africa.

The organisation disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘COVID-19 variants prolong Africa’s pandemic wave.’

The statement reads partly, “Weekly COVID-19 cases in Africa fell by more than 20 per cent –  the sharpest seven-day decline in two months – as the third wave pandemic tapers off.

“However, the rate of deceleration is slower than the previous waves owing to the impact of more transmissible variants.

“The continent recorded more than 165,000 cases in the week ending on 5th September – three per cent ‘lower than the week before, yet still higher than the weekly cases recorded at the peak of the first wave.

“The more contagious Delta variant that partly fuelled the third wave has been dominant in several countries that experienced COVID-19 surge. In southern Africa, for instance, where more than 4,000 COVID-19 genome sequencing data was produced in August, the Delta variant was detected in over 70 per cent samples from Botswana, Malawi and South Africa, and in over 90 per cent from Zimbabwe.”

Also quoted in the statement was the Africa regional Director for the WHO, Dr Matshidioso Moeti, who said the continent was working towards increasing the rate of genomics sequencing.

She said, “We are spearheading critical work and supporting countries in scaling up pathogen surveillance through genome sequencing to detect and respond effectively to COVID-19 variants.”

The statement added that the WHO had recently provided financial support to countries including Eswatini, Sao Tome and Principe and Senegal, to reinforce genomic surveillance.

To date, the dominant Delta variant has been detected in 31 African countries, while the Alpha and Beta variants have respectively been identified in 44 and 39 countries.

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