Africa’s fourth COVID wave flattens out after six-week surge |

WHO says that this marks the shortest increase since the pandemic began on the continent, where the total number of cases has exceeded 10.2 million.

The recorded infections showed that the weekly number continued to increase in the seven days to January 9, compared with the previous week.

“Early indications of Africa’s fourth wave are steep and short but no less volatile,” speak WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti.

Omicron is recorded

In countries with a spike in cases, the fast-spreading variant of Omicron has become the dominant type.

Although it took about 4 weeks for the Delta variant to overtake the previously dominant Beta, Omicron overtook Delta within two weeks in the worst-affected African countries, according to WHO.

South Africa has seen a significant increase in infections during the pandemic but recorded a 14% drop in confirmed cases in the past week.

And South Africa, where Omicron was first reported, saw a 9% drop in weekly infections.

While the East and Central Africa regions also saw a drop in cases, North and West Africa are seeing an increase in infections, with North Africa reporting a 121% increase in the past week, compared with seven days. before.

“The critical pandemic response measures needed in Africa are still in place, and that is increasing rapidly and dramatically. COVID-19 WHO senior official said. “The next wave may not be so forgiving.”

The ‘necessary boost of interest’

Through training in bioinformatics, specimen handling and other key areas, WHO is supporting countries across the continent to increase genome sequencing to identify new mutations.

The organization is also helping to procure and deliver critical laboratory equipment and supplies.

To date, 30 African countries – and at least 142 countries worldwide – have detected the Omicron variant while the Delta variant has been reported in 42 African countries.

In West Africa, where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the number of Omicron sequencing performed by countries including Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, is increasing.

And Omicron is now the dominant variant in both Cape Verde and Nigeria.

“We have the know-how and the tools and with a concerted push we can certainly strike a balance before the pandemic,” said Dr Moeti.

Original variants, transplant

While the continent appears to be grappling with the latest wave of the pandemic, only about 10% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

However, vaccine supplies for Africa have recently improved, and WHO is stepping up support for countries to provide doses for large populations.

“This year will mark a turning point in Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination,” said Dr. Moeti.

“With a large population still unvaccinated, our chances of limiting the emergence and impact of deadly variants are slim,” she added.

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