Africa’s Covid-19 death toll has surged by 43 percent week on week as hospital admissions increase rapidly and countries face shortages in oxygen and intensive care beds, the World Health Organisation has said on Thursday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Africa’s Covid-19 death toll has surged by 43 percent week on week as hospital admissions increase rapidly and countries face shortages in oxygen and intensive care beds, the World Health Organisation has said on Thursday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Africa’s Covid-19 deaths surge by 43% – WHO

By Chad Williams Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN, July 15 (ANA) – Africa’s Covid-19 death toll has surged by 43 percent week on week as hospital admissions increase rapidly and countries face shortages in oxygen and intensive care beds, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said on Thursday.

In a statement, the health authority has confirmed that fatalities have increased to 6,273 in the week ending July 11 from 4,384 deaths in the previous week.

The health authority says that Africa is now less than 1 percent shy of the weekly peak reached in January when 6,294 deaths were recorded.

According to the report, Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia account for 83 percent of the new deaths in the past week.

The continent’s case fatality rate, which is the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, currently stands at 2.6 percent against the global average of 2.2 percent, says the WHO.

It says that the rise in Covid-19 cases in Africa comes amid inadequate vaccine supplies, since only 18 million people in Africa are fully vaccinated, representing 1.5 percent of the continent’s population compared with more than 50 percent in some high-income countries.

The Delta variant, which is currently the most transmissible of all variants, has been detected in 21 African countries, while the Alpha variant is in 35 countries and Beta in 30.

“Deaths have climbed steeply for the past five weeks. This is a clear warning sign that hospitals in the most impacted countries are reaching a breaking point,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said.

Dr Moeti says that the number one priority for African countries is boosting oxygen production to give critically ill patients a fighting chance.

The health authority says that the rise in cases comes amid inadequate vaccine supplies.

To date, the continent has vaccinated 52 million people since the start of the vaccine rollout in March this year, accounting for just 1.6 percent of the 3.5 billion people vaccinated worldwide.

Only 18 million people in Africa are fully vaccinated, representing 1.5 percent of the continent’s population compared with more than 50 percent in some high-income countries, the WHO says.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay

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