Africa is grappling with the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with a caseload crossing the six million mark after recording a million cases in a month.
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) put confirmed cases at 603 million as World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti reported a 43 per cent jump in mortalities with 5,197 new deaths, pushing the death toll to 153,547 across the continent.
Not surprisingly, the upsurge of cases and mortalities has prompted many African countries to tighten preventative measures and accelerate vaccination.
Sierra Leone reintroduced a one-month countrywide curfew and limited the number of people at social events from this month while in Botswana, schools were closed.
The surge in cases was largely driven by new deadlier and more highly infectious variants. The Delta variant has been found to be 30-60 per cent more transmissible than any other.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said Delta was pushing infections from the third wave of the pandemic to remain extremely high. So far, South Africa is the only African country with more than two million cases. It recorded more than 4,200 deaths in the past two weeks.
Africa CDC says other African countries with many Covid-19 cases include Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt. Luckily, 52 African countries have acquired about 70.4 million doses of vaccines, mainly through the Covax facility donations, with 53.3 million of them administered.
African countries should prepare to rapidly expand the rollout of vaccines. Governments and their partners must expand vaccination sites, improve their cold chain capabilities and embark on community-based awareness drives to boost Covid-19 vaccinations. They should not ignore the efforts China — a major Covid-19 vaccine provider that boosts Africa’s immunisation drive — is making to fight the pandemic.
Mr Njuguna is a teacher. firstname.lastname@example.org.