The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is concerned over Africa’s imminent third wave of COVID-19 infections.
WHO says while the world is experiencing its seventh consecutive week of declining numbers of cases, the African continent is seeing a steady rise in new infections.
The weekly global average of new cases has decreased by 11 percent compared to Africa’s increase of 40 percent in new infections.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus says the worrisome part is that Africa is still struggling to access COVID-19 vaccines.
Ghebreyesus says, “The steep increase in Africa is especially concerning because it’s the region with the least access to vaccines, diagnostics and oxygen. A recent study published in The Lancet showed that Africa has the highest global mortality rate among critically ill COVID-19 patients despite having reported fewer cases than most other regions.”
The WHO has also called on rich countries to invest more into the vaccination programmes of lower income countries.
The organisation says this includes infrastructure and technological support that will assist them in preparing adequate vaccine cold chain management. This comes as the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be distributed widely in the southern hemisphere after the US announced a donation of half a billion doses.
Pfizer needs to be handled at very cold temperatures to remain effective. – SABC ■