August 1, 2021

the third wave is gaining momentum

Fifteen countries face a third wave

The number of cases continues to rise in Africa with a third wave accelerating. Last week, 122,280 new contaminations were identified, an increase of 29% compared to the previous week. A figure which is approaching the peak reached during the first wave in the summer of 2020. The number of deaths has increased by 19%.

This development is partly linked to the spread of variants, which are much more contagious, across the continent. The Delta variant, detected in India, is now present in 14 countries, while the Alpha and Beta variants (identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa) circulate in 30 and 29 countries out of 55 respectively.

On a street in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in May 2020.

According to the WHO, this increase is also explained by colder seasonal weather in southern Africa, which promotes contamination, but also to insufficient compliance with health measures. More than 40% of new cases have been reported in South Africa.

“This trend should push everyone to action (…). Public health measures must be rapidly reinforced to identify, isolate and manage patients. Their contacts must be sought ”, Insisted the director of WHO in Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, during her weekly press conference on Thursday. Only 0.79% of the continent’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Tanzania to join the Covax scheme

The country transmitted this week a request form to integrate Covax, the international device for access to vaccines. ” We are counting on the arrival of vaccines in the country in the next two weeks ”Said Richard Mihigo, WHO Regional Immunization Coordinator in Africa. The Tanzanian authorities must first prepare their vaccination campaign.

The publication of figures is also expected to help identify the scale of the epidemic and the country’s needs. The latest dates back to the spring of 2020. President John Magufuli (who died in March) then refused to release any new information, claiming that the epidemic had been eliminated “Thanks to the prayers of the Tanzanians”.

The pandemic will have a lasting effect on five key countries of the continent – Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa – according to the rating agency Standard & Poors, which anticipates a contraction of 6.6% of their economic weight to l horizon 2024. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world where the resumption of growth is expected to be the slowest. The delay in vaccination will weigh on the reopening of economies, today still subject to restrictions to contain the spread of the pandemic and the import of new variants.

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« The latest experience of the wave of the virus in India, where deaths have skyrocketed and forced the country to lock down again which hurt the economy that was starting to recover reminds us that the pandemic curve continues to weigh on emerging economies and sub-Saharan Africa, even as the global economy recovers Says the WHO.

Niger relaunches its vaccination campaign

The Minister of Public Health, Idi Illiassou Maïnassara, announced Tuesday, June 15, the launch of a second phase in the vaccination campaign which will be open to all adults and throughout the territory. The aim of the operation is to convince public opinion of the ” need for everyone to be vaccinated ”. Until March 22, vaccination teams will be deployed in public health centers, but also in private structures and within neighborhoods to reach as many people as possible.

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The campaign began in the country at the end of March thanks to a Chinese donation of 400,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine. The government then received 355,000 doses of AstraZeneca through the Covax international solidarity mechanism. As of June 14, only 14,000 people had been fully vaccinated.

Uganda running out of oxygen and vaccines

As the country takes the brunt of the third wave hitting the continent, health services face a shortage of oxygen and vaccines. Some hospitals, private and public, are no longer able to accommodate new patients with Covid-19 in intensive care, as reported by the British daily The Guardian.

« Uganda is currently facing a very big challenge », Recognizes Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng. More than “8,000 oxygen cylinders” would be necessary today ” to supply the whole country ».

As for vaccines, the country’s distribution center, the National Medical Stores, has stopped supplying establishments since the start of the week. Vaccination centers and hospitals were forced to suspend their work.

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