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Virus cases surge in Africa, less than 0.8% of fully vaccinated, say officials

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Covid-19 cases rose by over 20 percent week-on-week in nearly two dozen African countries and progress on vaccinating Africans is proceeding slowly, with just 0.79 percent of people on the continent fully vaccinated, senior health officials said.

“Africa’s rollout is picking-up speed with over 5 million doses administered in the past five days, compared with around 3.5 million doses per week for the past three weeks. Almost 12 million people are now fully vaccinated, but this is still less than 1% of Africa’s population,” read a news release by WHO Africa.

“Africa is in the midst of a full blown third wave…We’ve seen in India and elsewhere how quickly Covid-19 can rebound and overwhelm health systems,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, told a news conference.

Covid-19 cases rose to over 116 500 in the week ending on 13 June, up from the previous week’s nearly 91 000 cases, following one month of progressively rising case numbers that pushed the continent over the 5 million case mark. In 22 African countries—nearly 40% of Africa’s 54 nations—cases rose by over 20% in the week ending on 13 June. During the same week, deaths rose by nearly 15% to over 2200 in 36 countries.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia and Uganda have reported their highest number of new weekly cases since the pandemic began.

The Delta variant has been reported in 14 African countries and the Alpha and Beta variants have been found in over 25 African countries.

Coronavirus has claimed lives of more than 3.8 million people and infected over 177 million globally.

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