Africa not prepared for 3rd wave of COVID-19 outbreak, WHO warns

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Computer Illustration, Covid-19. (Photo by: Mark Stevenson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The World Health Organisation has cautioned against an imminent outbreak of a third wave of COVID-19 saying, Africa is not prepared.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, gave the warning during the weekly online press conference in Geneva.

“The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising. Treatment is the last line of defence against this virus and we cannot let it be breached.”

She warned that African countries must urgently boost critical care capacity to prevent health facilities from being overwhelmed, even as vaccine shipments grind to a near halt.

“While many countries outside Africa have now vaccinated their high-priority groups and are able to even consider vaccinating their children, African countries are unable to even follow up with second doses for high-risk groups. I’m urging countries that have reached a significant vaccination coverage to release doses and keep the most vulnerable Africans out of critical care,” she stated.

While expressing worry over the bottlenecks in vaccine deliveries, she identified lack of key resources in frontline care, as pointers that Africa was not ready.

Dr Moeti called for better equipment for the hospital and medical staff saying many African hospitals and clinics were still far from ready to cope with a huge rise in critically ill patients.

Only two percent of Africans to date have received at least one vaccine jab, while 24 percent of the world’s population is now vaccinated.

The combined effect of weak observance of preventive measures, increased population movement among others, have heightened the risk of COVID-19 resurgence in many countries.

“In the last two weeks, Africa recorded a 20 percent increase in cases compared with the previous fortnight,” she said.

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