The World Well being Group’s regional director for Africa stated Thursday the variety of new COVID-19 circumstances on the continent fell by 23 p.c final week, the steepest drop in eight weeks since a peak in July.
Throughout her weekly COVID-19 briefing, although, WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti stated that whereas these figures are excellent news and a sign the third wave of infections is on a “downward slide,” variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, significantly the Delta variant, have sparked flare-ups, prolonging the “acute part” of the third wave for longer than anticipated.
On the similar time, she stated, Africa has handed the unhappy milestone of 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 because the pandemic started.
Moeti stated scientists are also monitoring a brand new variant, C.1.2, a variant present in 130 circumstances in 10 nations globally, together with 5 African nations with over 90 p.c of the circumstances. However she stated up to now there isn’t a proof that C.1.2 is extra transmissible or that that it impacts the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
With reference to vaccines, Moeti stated shipments to the continent proceed to develop, with about 5.5 million doses acquired by the WHO-managed vaccine cooperative COVAX within the first week of September.
Nonetheless, Africa’s Middle for Illness Management says simply over three p.c of the continent’s inhabitants is totally vaccinated. And Moeti stated COVAX Wednesday revised downward its vaccine cargo forecast for the remainder of the 12 months, for various causes, which suggests the continent can count on 25 p.c fewer vaccine doses.
She blamed the decreased shipments, at the least partly on “the prioritization of bilateral offers” between rich nations and pharmaceutical firms “over worldwide solidarity.”
Moeti stated that high-income nations have pledged to share 1 billion doses globally, however up to now, solely 120 million have been launched. She stated, “Each dose is valuable. If firms and nations prioritize vaccine fairness, this pandemic could be over shortly.”
She stated to finally tip the scales towards the pandemic, efforts to cut back transmission by public well being measures like mask-wearing have to be accompanied by a big enhance in vaccine provides and vaccinations.
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