Africa has yet to overcome fourth wave fueled by Omicron, WHO says

The World Health Organization on Thursday said Africa has yet to overcome the fourth wave of COVID-19 fueled by Omicron.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti has warned African countries against complacency in the fight against the pandemic.

She said so on Thursday as she spoke at an online briefing organized by the global health body to update the continent on the latest developments on COVID-19 in Africa.

Moeti said the continent had recorded over 10.4 million cases and over 234,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

She urged African countries to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 even though the continent has seen a significant reduction in new COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“For the first time since the start of this fourth wave powered by Omicron, Africa is seeing a significant drop in new cases and a promising drop in reported deaths.

“Cases fell 20% in the week to January 16, while the number of deaths fell 8%. The decrease in deaths is still small and further monitoring is needed to determine if the trend will continue.

“I take this opportunity to stress that while the impact of this latest peak has been moderate, the continent has yet to turn the tide of this pandemic. So there is no room for complacency. Vaccination remains our best defense, along with other WHO-approved prevention measures such as regular and correct wearing of masks, as well as hand washing.

“As long as the virus continues to circulate, new pandemic waves are inevitable. Africa must not only expand vaccinations, but also gain increased and equitable access to essential #COVID19 treatments to save lives and effectively fight this pandemic.

“The deep inequity that has left Africa at the back of the vaccine queue must not be repeated with life-saving treatments. Universal access to diagnostics, vaccines and treatments will provide the shortest route to ending this pandemic,” Moeti said.

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All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]