COVID-19 infections surged by 52 in Africa last week and the situation could even worsen going forward, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Friday.
The continent has to date reported over 3, 700, 000 Covid-19 infections including over 91, 200 deaths.
Zimbabwe on the other hand has registered over 41, 700 cases inclusive of more than 1, 600 Covid-19-related fatalities.
Globally, 178 million coronavirus cases have been reported while deaths stand at 3.86 million.
Briefing the media last Friday, WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the war against the Covid-19, first detected in China late 2019, was far from being over with the pandemic continuing to spread.
“And we expect things to only get worse. Less than 1% of Africa’s population has been vaccinated.”
He said the ineffective use of public health and social measures, increased social mixing and vaccine inequity continued to give Covid-19 an opportunity to mutate, spread and kill.
“The global failure to share vaccines equitably is fuelling a two-track pandemic that is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” he decried.
“Every region has countries that are now facing a steep increase in cases and deaths. Vaccines donated next year will be far too late for those who are dying today, or being infected today, or at risk today.”
Ghebreyesus further explained: “Our global targets are to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by September, at least 40% by the end of the year, and 70% by the middle of next year. These are the critical milestones we must reach together to end the pandemic. More than half of all high- and upper-middle income countries and economies have now administered enough doses to fully vaccinate at least 20% of their populations. Just 3 out of 79 low- and lower-middle income countries have reached the same level.”
The WHO chief urged the wealthy nations to donate vaccines to the poor in order to save lives.
“We very much appreciate the vaccine donations announced by the G7 and others,” Ghebreyesus said.
“And we thank those countries including the United States that have committed to sharing doses in June and July. We urge others to follow suit. We need vaccines to be donated now to save lives. WHO will continue to support countries to apply public health and social measures to keep people safe. And we continue to support countries to ready their systems and plans to roll out vaccines once they get them. But we do not control the global supply of vaccines. The countries and companies that do must play their part to produce more, and share more to achieve WHO’s global targets.”
He added that WHO would continue to explore every avenue for increasing the production of vaccines, especially in Africa.