Southern Africa recorded a rebound in coronavirus cases last week for the third week in a row. as the region approaches the southern winter, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned today.
“This increase in cases is an early warning sign that we are closely monitoring.”WHO emergency preparedness and response director for southern Africa, Dr. Abdou Salam Gueye, said in a statement.
“Countries must now step up their preparedness and ensure they can mount an effective response in the event of a new pandemic wave”added this doctor.
According to the WHO, southern Africa recorded a 32% increase in cases last week compared to the previous one. (about 46 thousand 300 positive cases).
The most significant increase in cases occurred in South Africawhere weekly recorded cases have quadrupled over the past three weeks.
However, according to the WHO, the death toll is not rising as fast, with South Africa confirming 376 deaths in the past three weeks, double the number in the previous three weeks.
In addition, the number of hospitalizations still remains low.
The number of positives is also growing rapidly in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and Namibia, countries that have reported a 50% increase in cases over the last two weeks compared to the previous two.
For the WHO, the presence of the omicron variant at a time when countries are lowering many of their measures to contain the disease is the main cause of these trends.
In addition, the UN agency was concerned about the appearance of subvariants that contain more mutations and “how they affect immunity is not yet clear.”
This organization pointed out the importance of Africa maintaining the improvements in its response to the coronavirus that it has achieved over the last two years, especially in aspects such as surveillance, testing or treatment.
“With the experience gained in the past two years, we must do everything possible to curb the adverse impacts of a new pandemic wave, intensifying vaccination and measures to detect and prevent the spread of the virus,” Gueye said.
The WHO regretted that, after a reduction in the number of infections across the continent earlier this year, many countries also began to do less testing.
So far, Africa has recorded 11.7 million coronavirus cases, of which around 253,000 have ended in deaths..