Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | The COVID-19 positive cases in Africa are surging by 20 percent on a weekly basis as most countries in the continent enter a third wave, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Thursday.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa said the continent is already reeling from the third wave of coronavirus infections that could overwhelm the already fragile public health systems.
“Africa is in the midst of a full-blown third wave. The sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action,” Moeti said in a statement, adding that public health measures must be scaled up fast to find, test, isolate and care for patients and to quickly trace their contacts.
Statistics from WHO indicate that Africa’s new COVID-19 cases rose to over 116,500 in the week ending June 13, up from 91,000 in the previous week amid a month-long spike that has pushed the continent’s caseload past the five million mark.
Moeti said that 22 African countries experienced over 20 percent rise in coronavirus infections in the week ending June 13 while fatalities rose by 15 percent in 36 countries in the same week.
She said that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia and Uganda have reported the highest number of new weekly cases since the pandemic was reported in the continent.
According to Moeti, easing of COVID-19 measures combined with cold weather in the southern African region and new variants is behind the new surges in the continent. The Delta variant from India has been reported in 14 African countries while Alpha and Beta variants, whose origin is Britain and South Africa respectively, have been detected in 25 countries in the continent.
She said WHO is helping African countries establish contingency plans including enhanced surveillance; rapid testing and revamping of critical care facilities to enable them to cope with surging coronavirus infection.