Covid-19 in Africa: a map to monitor the progress of the epidemic from day to day

The “third wave” of Covid-19 contamination is now over but the general situation remains complicated due, in particular, to the virulence of the famous Delta variant. As for vaccination, it is progressing too slowly with around 3% of the population vaccinated in mid-September. Rich countries have pledged to deliver large amounts of doses by the end of the year, but vaccine skepticism and reluctance remains high in many areas.

This time it’s confirmed: the third wave of summer is over. The decrease in the number of new cases of contamination continues from week to week, with 74,000 weekly cases recorded on September 26 (against 165,000 at the beginning of the month). That is a decrease of 35% compared to the previous week.

No cause for celebration, however, because as Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who heads the organization’s Africa office, recalls, 26 Africans are dying of Covid every hour of the day. The milestone of 200,000 deaths on the continent was also crossed in early September. The fault, for many, with the virulence of the Delta variant which becomes every day more the dominant form of the virus on the continent. As of September 30, this variant had been identified in 39 countries (against 45 and 40 countries respectively for the Alpha and Beta variants). The south of the continent remains the most affected and the Delta accounts for more than 70% of cases of contamination in countries such as Botswana, Malawi and South Africa. And even over 90% in Zimbabwe.

Very insufficient sequencing capacities

The fight against the pandemic requires a better identification of the variants which are rife within each community, which implies carrying out much more sequencing of the samples taken from the patients. The technical capacities to carry out this operation are unfortunately very insufficient in most countries. Africa so far represents only 1% of Covid sequencing operations carried out worldwide.

In terms of vaccination, the results remain disappointing, even if the figures are progressing and the prospect of soon producing serums in Africa itself, at least under license, seems less and less utopian. But to date, only 3% of the population has been fully vaccinated and all those working in the field still show strong reluctance in many communities. However, there are large differences between countries, as by the end of September, fifteen of them had reached the target set by WHO last spring, which was to have vaccinated 10% of the population.

Among the nations with the highest inoculation rates: Seychelles and Mauritius (over 60%), Morocco (48%), Tunisia, Comoros and Cape Verde (over 20%). At the other end of the spectrum, 26 countries that received doses of vaccine only fully immunized 2% of their population.

By Hakizimana Dieudonne/MuhaburaNewsline

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