COVID-19 cases rise 19% as fatalities jump 2% in Africa, record weekly high

AFRICA – COVID-19 cases rose by 19% to over 278,000 in the week ending on 1 August while over 6,400 deaths were recorded, a 2% rise compared with the previous week, with South Africa and Tunisia accounting for over 55% of the fatalities.

The death toll marks the highest seven-day toll since the onset of the pandemic in the continent, new data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows.

Mortality trends are on the rise in 15 countries, and 12 have reported higher case fatality rates than the African average of 2.5% over the last month. With more than 174,000 deaths, Africa accounts for over 4% of the 4.2 million COVID-19 related deaths recorded globally to date.

Deaths have peaked week-on-week on the continent and after a slight dip, COVID-19 cases are surging again. The latest data tells us that Africa is still on the crest of the third wave, still recording more cases than in any earlier peak, and that we cannot take anything for granted,” said Dr Phionah Atuhebwe, New Vaccines Introduction Officer at WHO Regional Office for Africa.

Of the 278 thousand new weekly Covid-19 cases, South Africa accounted for 29% of the cases. The number comes close to Africa’s record highest week-in-week cases witnessed in July of over 286,000 cases.

Twenty-two African countries have seen cases rise by over 20% for at least two weeks running. The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 29 African countries. The Alpha variant has been detected in 39 countries and Beta variant in 35.

This comes as COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa ramp up. Nearly 12 million doses arrived through COVAX in July, more than the doses received in April, May and June combined. The last two weeks of July saw a 12-fold rise in deliveries from the first half of the month.

Africa has received 91 million COVID-19 vaccine doses so far. About 24 million people, just 1.7% of Africa’s population, are fully vaccinated.

The continent needs up to 183 million more doses to fully vaccinate 10% of its population by the end of September and up to 729 million more doses to meet the end of year goal of fully vaccinating 30% of Africa’s population.

COVAX aims to deliver 520 million doses to Africa by the end of 2021. Almost 90 million of these doses have now been allocated to African countries and will be delivered by the end of September.

The African Union also plans to deliver at least 16 million of the 400 million Johnson & Johnson doses it has sourced for African countries by the end of September.

Africa has so far reported a cumulative total of 6,963,13 cases and 5,992,356 recoveries aco5rding to data published by the Africa Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC).

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