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Africa’s Covid cases surpass 11 million, only 11% fully vaccinated

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Almost two years after Africa identified its first case of Covid-19, the World Health Organization finds that, if current trends continue, the continent can control the pandemic in 2022.

File picture: Pixabay

THE NUMBER of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa reached 11,001,034 cases as of Friday, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

Almost two years after Africa identified its first case of Covid-19 ( February 14, 2020), the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that, if current trends continue, the continent can control the pandemic in 2022.

The Africa CDC reported that southern Africa remains the epicentre of the pandemic on the continent with 5.1 million cases, followed by northern Africa with 3.4 million cases, east Africa 1.4 million cases, western Africa just over 800,000 cases and central Africa with just over 350,000 cases, according to the latest real-time data.

Furthermore, WHO warned that continued vigilance is key, the global health authority said during a press briefing discussing Covid-19 in Africa and the continent’s response in the last two years.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said WHO’s support to countries has included procuring 8.5 million Covid-19 tests, 433 million vaccines (together with its Covax partners), and boosting laboratory capacity to detect Covid-19, from two to more than 900 laboratories in the past two years.

“We need to maintain the groundswell that we’re now seeing in support of local manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Increased access, and affordability, is the only solution to the vaccine inequity witnessed since the start of this pandemic,” said Moeti.

She added that although Africa still lags behind on vaccination, with only 11% of the adult population fully vaccinated, the continent now has a steady supply of doses flowing in.

“While vaccination is critical, we must not forget testing and surveillance which we know are basic tools for returning our lives to some semblance of normalcy.”

According to the World Bank, the Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to have pushed up to 40 million people into extreme poverty on the continent, and every month of delay in lifting containment measures is estimated to cost Africa $13.8 billion (R209.9bn) in lost gross domestic product.

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