Declining new cases
The pick-up in vaccine shipments comes as Africa sees its second week of falling case numbers after a steep and unbroken eight-week surge. Reported case numbers fell by 18% from over 282, 000 to 230,500 in the week ending on 25 July.
According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control— the AU’s institution established to support African states to strengthen public health facilities to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease outbreaks—the decline was largely driven by South Africa, which accounts for 37% of all reported cases, and Tunisia, which accounts for 8%.
Twenty-two African countries saw cases rise by over 20% for at least two weeks running in the week ending 25 July and reported deaths rose in 17 African countries to nearly 6300 in the same week.
Dr. Moeti said the current surge has been Africa’s fastest rising—powered mainly by people’s fatigue with COVID-19 preventive measures, the presence of more transmissible variants and the continent’s low vaccination coverage.
The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 26 African countries while the Alpha variant has been detected in 38 countries and Beta variant in 35.
“Africa is still in the throes of a third wave. The limited slowdown in cases is heartening and cause for a very cautious optimism, but we are far from out of the woods yet. We must all stay vigilant.
“One third of all African countries are still living through a dangerous resurgence and we must stick with the prevention measures that we know save lives, like mask wearing, good hand hygiene and physical distancing,” said Dr Moeti.
“Africans, just like the rest of the world, are eager to see a return to normal life. But we all must do our part, by getting vaccinated when the jab is offered, and adhering to the preventive measures that have been so important in limiting infection.”