The World Health Organization has recently announced a significant surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa over the last week. According to reports, the world’s 2nd-largest continent registered above 251,000 new cases of COVID-19 during the week that ended on 4th July.
This marks a 20% increase from the prior week and a 12% hike from the January peak. As per reliable statistics from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 642,000 active cases across the continent, eclipsing its 2nd-wave peak of 528,000 active cases recorded in January.
Above 16 African countries including Senegal and Malawi are witnessing a considerable rise in new cases, with the hyper-transmissible delta variant being detected in at least 10 of these countries. Tunisia, Rwanda, Zambia, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda are also experiencing the worst upticks in infections, according to Africa Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Over the past weeks, the rate of hospitalizations also has surged by more than 40% in the region.
In the current scenario, South Africa is grappling with the devastating 3rd wave of COVID-19, following the large-scale spread of the delta variant which forced the country to impose lockdown and other strict measures on 28th June.
Around 1% of the residents across the region have been inoculated against COVID-19, while less than 2% of the population in Africa is vaccinated against the disease, due to the sluggish international vaccine rollout in nations affected by poverty.
However, vaccine deliveries through COVAX, an initiative designed to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, have shown signs of picking up after months of delay. Through this initiative, more than 1.6 million vaccine doses have been delivered, while above 20 million doses of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are anticipated to soon be distributed across the continent.
Africa has obtained 66 million vaccine doses to date, with 40 million doses acquired via bilateral deals, 25 million supplied through COVAX, and 800,000 doses delivered by the African Union’s AVATT (African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team).