AFRICAN NATIONS APPEAR TO BE BRACING THEMSELVES FOR SURGE IN COVID INFECTIONS

Health ministers across the continent met on Saturday to review a strategy that the African Union (AU) set up at the beginning of last year to tackle the pandemic and seek better ways to flatten infection curves.

FILE: WHO head Tedros Ghebreyesus warned of a new wave of COVID-19 infections in Africa due to delayed vaccine supplies, a slow rollout and new variants. Pictures: AFP

Veronica Mokhoali 

JOHANNESBURG – African countries appear to be preparing themselves to avoid another surge of COVID-19 cases as new variants, such as the one that emerged in India, could unleash a third wave on the continent.

African countries have reported a collective 4.5 million cases of COVID-19 infections so far.

Health ministers across the continent met on Saturday to review a strategy that the African Union (AU) set up at the beginning of last year to tackle the pandemic and seek better ways to flatten infection curves.

This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) said the continent was now playing catch up with the rest of the world in terms of vaccine rollouts.

The WHO has emphasized the importance of ensuring societies across Africa be provided with coronavirus vaccines, in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

WHO head Tedros Ghebreyesus spoke during a virtual joint meeting of AU health ministers.

Ghebreyesus warned of a new wave of COVID-19 infections in Africa due to delayed vaccine supplies, a slow rollout and new variants.

“What is happening now in many other parts of the world can happen in our Africa, of we let down our guard. The emergence of rapidly spreading variants combined with the premature easing of public health and social measures, and the inequitable distribution of vaccines is having tragic consequences.”

The WHO said Africa now accounts for only 2% of vaccine doses administered globally.

With South Africa still only in its first phase of inoculating its ambitious target of 1.25 million healthcare workers.



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