Africa experiencing longest-running decline in COVID-19 infections |

Infections have plummeted from more than 308,000 weekly at the start of the year to less than 20,000 in the week ending April 10.

About 18,000 cases and 239 deaths were recorded in the past week, down 29% and 37% respectively from the previous week.

Record decline, no revival

This low level of infection has not been witnessed since April 2020. WHO speak. The previous longest sale was from August 1 to October 10 of last year.

Furthermore, no African country is currently witnessing COVID-19 resurgence, which is when there is a 20% increase in the number of cases for at least two consecutive weeks and the weekly increase is 30% higher than the previous highest weekly peak of infections.

Stay in the process

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said: “Although infection rates are declining, it is important for countries to remain vigilant against COVID-19.

Countries must also maintain surveillance measures, including rapid detection of virus variants, increased testing, and scale-up of vaccination.

“With the virus still circulating, the risk of new and potentially deadly variants is greater, and pandemic control measures are key to effectively dealing with the increase,” she said. increased infections,” she said.

Cold season warning

The WHO has also warned of a high risk of another wave of infections as the cold season approaches in the Southern Hemisphere, from June to August.

Previous pandemics in Africa have coincided with lower temperatures, people are mostly indoors and often in poorly ventilated spaces.

New variants could also have an impact on the progression of the pandemic, now in its third year.

Recently, new sublines of the Omicron variant have been discovered in Botswana and South Africa. Experts in these countries are conducting further research to determine if they are more infectious or more virulent.

Variants, known as BA.4 and BA.5, have also been confirmed in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the UK. To date, there are “no epidemiologically significant differences” between them and other known Omicron sublines, the WHO said.

Consider the risk

As infections subside in Africa, some countries have begun to relax key COVID-19 measures, such as surveillance and quarantine, as well as public health measures including wearing face masks. and prohibiting mass gatherings.

WHO is urging governments to weigh the risks and benefits of easing these measures, keeping in mind the capacity of their health systems, population immunity to COVID-19 and country’s socioeconomic priorities.

The agency further recommended that systems should be in place to quickly reinstate measures should the situation deteriorate.

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