- Africa has officially registered over 4.8 million COVID-19 cases and 130,000 deaths, WHO says.
With vaccine deliveries at a near-standstill and lacking key resources in frontline care, Africa is poorly prepared for the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the UN warned on Thursday.
“Many African hospitals and clinics are still far from ready to cope with a huge rise in critically ill patients,” the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said.
“The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising,” she said.
Africa has officially registered over 4.8 million COVID-19 cases and 130,000 deaths, according to the WHO, a figure representing 2.9 percent of global cases and 3.7 percent of deaths.
In a survey last month, the agency found that health facilities and personnel that are crucial for critically ill Covid patients are grossly inadequate in many African countries.
Of 23 countries surveyed, it found that most had less than one intensive care unit (ICU) bed per 100,000 population and only one-third had mechanical ventilators.
By comparison, rich countries such as Germany and the United States have more than 25 ICU beds per 100,000 people.
“Treatment is the last line of defence against this virus and we cannot let it be breached,” Moeti stressed in an online briefing, calling for better equipment for hospital and medical staff.
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In recent weeks, the continent has seen a rise in infections. The WHO warned in a statement that the pandemic is trending upwards in 14 countries.
“In the past week alone, eight countries witnessed an abrupt rise of over 30 percent in cases,” it said.
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