AFRICA – Africa is not winning its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic as a third wave sweeps the continent and countries struggle to access enough vaccines for their populations, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) director Dr John Nkengasong has said.
The continent has thus far reported 5,394,709 cases, 140,976 deaths and 4,736,725 recoveries out of 52,059,658 tests conducted.
In many African countries, the health facilities are under immense pressure due to the high numbers being reported.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reported in South Africa in the last 24 hours is 1,928,897 with 15,036 new cases reported.
There are 158,998 active cases in the country and 122 reported deaths which brings the total to 59,900. The recovery rate stands at 88.7%.
Eswatini reported 429 new confirmed cases raising the cumulative total to 19,035 while fatalities stand at 678.
In Rwanda, there were 741 new cases reported and nine new fatalities. The country has a test positivity rate of 9.4% so far.
Kenya recorded 508 new infections raising the national tally to 182,393. There were 18 new deaths raising total covid-19 fatalities to 3,574.
Ethiopia, a country hard hit by the pandemic, reported 112 new cases with 164 severe active cases. The nation has so far reported 275,881 cases and a death toll of 4,309 following 7 new fatalities.
South Africa’s neighbor, Zambia, reported 2,816 new cases and 52 new deaths on Saturday, a clear representative of a fast deteriorating situation in the South.
Nkengasong said he was more worried about getting vaccines in time, regardless of where the doses came from.
“The third wave has come with a severity that most countries were not prepared for. So, the third wave is extremely brutal,” Nkengasong said during a weekly online briefing.
Nkengasong says at least 20 countries are in the middle of the third wave, with Zambia, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo among those whose health facilities are being overwhelmed.
The Covax program’s initial lofty ambitions to act as a clearing house for the world’s vaccines, collecting from manufacturers in the most developed countries and quickly distributing to those in the most urgent need, have fallen flat.
About 1.12% of people have been fully vaccinated on the continent, which has recorded 5.2-million infections, Nkengasong said.
Globally, about 2.7-billion doses have been administered, of which just under 1.5% have been administered in Africa, according to the WHO.