Driven by a delta variable, a new wave of COVID-19 is sweeping the African continent as new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise.
South Africa is leading the new surge in Africa, with case numbers doubling every three weeks, according to the World Health Organization.
“The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is unparalleled before,” said Dr Machidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
The delta variant, reported in 16 African countries, has become dominant in South Africa, which accounts for more than half of all new cases in Africa.
It was detected in 97 percent of sequenced samples in Uganda and in 79 percent of sequenced samples in Congo, according to the World Health Organization.
“The rampant spread of infectious variants is raising the threat to Africa to a whole new level,” Moeti said in a statement.
“More transmission means more serious diseases and more deaths, so everyone must act now and strengthen prevention measures to prevent the emergency from turning into a tragedy.”
More vaccination is needed
Less than 2 percent of Africa’s 1.3 billion people have received a single dose of the vaccine.
With more than 20,000 new cases reported on Friday, South Africa’s total of 1.9 million cases, including 66,323 deaths, represents more than 30 percent of the 5.5 million cases reported by Africa’s 54 countries, which total It has a population of 1.3 billion, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Ministry of Health announced Friday that Johannesburg and the surrounding province of Gauteng are the epicenter of the earthquake in South Africa with the capacity of its hospitals reaching 91 per cent and the deployment of an additional 5,500 health workers.
Staff at Chebung Hospital in Klerksdorp, about 170 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg, say they are struggling to deal with the new increase.
“With this new strain in the third wave, I think it’s more aggressive than the second,” said Anatel Mmusi, a nurse at Chepung Hospital. “We tend to take patients and when they come in their oxygen levels are already low.”