It’s now official, three African countries including Kenya are battling a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.
The other two are Algeria and Tunisia which have been listed by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and African Union.
In a joint press media briefing Thursday, Africa CDC and AU said Africa was witnessing a spike in infection rates with a total of 273,129 new cases representing a 14pc increase reported from the previous week.
South Africa (78,361), Morocco (50,445), Tunisia (21,773), Libya (19,367) and Mozambique (13,253) have reported the highest number of new cases.
Over 6.8 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in Africa, accounting for 3.4pc of total cases reported globally.
The bulk of the cases are from South Africa accounting for 36pc of the total cases (2,484,009), Morocco 10pc (653,286), Tunisia 9pc (599,594) Egypt 4pc and Ethiopia 4pc each with a total of 284,472 and 281,811 cases respectively.
Over 173,000 deaths have been reported resulting in a cumulative case fatality rate (CFR) of 2.5pc and account for 4.1pc of deaths reported globally.
While 24 countries have reported a CFR higher than the global average of 2.1pc, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan have recorded more fatalities with a CFR higher than 5pc.
“There has been an overall 2pc average increase in new cases reported in Africa each week and an overall 6% average increase in new deaths reported in Africa each week” read the joint statement.
Cumulatively, new deaths went down by 4pc in the last one week even as the contagious Delta variant continues to spread rapidly.
“A total of 6,456 new deaths were reported in Africa compared to 6,710 from the previous week. This represents a 4pc decrease in new deaths from the previous week” the report states.
A notable upsurge has been reported in Nigeria with a 71pc average increase, Ethiopia 50pc and Kenya 19c while the infection rates have decreased in Egypt by 34pc, South Africa 12pc and DR Congo by 7pc.
On a positive note, the continent has reported over 6 million people have recovered, (6,004,328).
To date, over 60 million COVID-19 tests (60,399,832) have been conducted in African Union Member States since the pandemic struck.
29pc of Member States (16 countries) including Kenya in East Africa are reporting test positivity rates higher than 12pc.
400 million Johnson & Johnson doses
Meanwhile, the African Union says the first of the 400 million single-shot Johnson & Johnson doses that African countries have collectively procured on their own will start arriving this week.
“On 5 August, the first monthly shipments will arrive in several Member States, and shipments will continue for a total of 6.4m doses shipped in August” announced South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The African Union says the 400 million doses “bring Africa halfway towards its continental goal of vaccinating at least 60% of the population.”
President Ramaphosa said: “This is a momentous step forward in Africa’s efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of its people. By working together and by pooling resources, African countries have been able to secure millions of vaccine doses produced right here in Africa. This will provide impetus to the fight against COVID-19 across the continent and will lay the basis for Africa’s social and economic recovery.”
Monthly shipments will continue and be continually ramped up, with a target of delivering almost 50m vaccines before the end of December. By January, the number of vaccines being released will be in excess of 25m per month.
Africa CDC decried the existing vaccination gap.
Dr John Nkengasong, Director (Africa CDC), said: “During the last months, we have seen the vaccination gap between Africa and other parts of the world widen, and a devastating third wave hit our continent. The deliveries starting now will help us get to the vaccination levels necessary to protect African lives and livelihoods.”
The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Instalment Payment facility providers and Payment Agents.
Just 1.5pc of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the continent has received just 103 million doses, far from the target of vaccinating 780 million by the end of this year.
More than half of Africa’s 54 countries are seeing a deadly resurgence in confirmed coronavirus infections.