These five countries account for more than 80% of Africa’s almost record Covid-19 infections

  • Africa has now recorded a total of more than 6.1 million cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • Oxygen demands are also spiking, while countries face an ICU bed shortage.  
  • Only 1.5% of Africans are fully vaccinated.

Hospitals across the continent are filling up, and oxygen supplies are running low as Africa experiences another record week of Covid-19 infections, the World Health Organisation said.

In the past month, Africa has recorded a million new Covid-19 infections. The number of infections has risen for eight weeks in a row, reaching six million cases during this period.

Africa has now recorded a total of more than 6.1 million cases since the start of the pandemic. And while the continent has seen over 5.3 million recoveries, Africa’s fatality rate stands at 2.6% – higher than the global average of 2.2%.

Deaths rose from 4 348 deaths in the first week of July, to 6 273, for the week ending 11 July. This accounts for a 43% week-on-week rise, and just one percent short of the records reached in January.

Five countries accounted for 83% of the week’s new deaths: Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, and Tunisia.

While South Africa still has the highest number of cases on the continent, Tunisia now has over 526 000 cases, which amount to 4 462 cases per 100 000 people. Similarly, Namibia, with a population of about 2.5 million, now has 4 374 positive cases per 100 000 people.

READ | Worst of Covid-19 is yet to come for Africa: WHO

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

“The number one priority for African countries is boosting oxygen production to give critically ill patients a fighting chance.”

The demand for oxygen has spiked to 50% more than this time last year, and six countries are facing a shortage of intensive care unit beds. Not only are many countries struggling with existing healthcare shortages, many cannot keep up with the treatment recommendation for Covid-19.

Moeti said:

The double barrier of vaccine scarcity and treatment challenges is seriously undermining effective response to the surging pandemic.

Still, the WHO is hopeful that more vaccines supplies will arrive in the coming weeks. So far, only 18 million Africans, or 1.5% of the population, are fully vaccinated.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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