The weekly number of COVID-19 cases has “significantly decreased” in Africa and the number of deaths has also decreased, for the first time since the peak of the fourth wave induced by the Omicron variant, the WHO announced Thursday.
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“This decline puts an end to the shortest outbreak the continent has known, which lasted 56 days,” underlines the Africa regional office of the WHO (World Health Organization) in a press release issued after a weekly press conference.
“The number of new reported cases fell by 20% in a week to January 16, while the number of deaths fell by 8%,” specifies the UN body in this text.
WHO Africa adds that South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first sequenced, has seen a downward trend over the last four weeks.
Only North Africa reported an increase in the number of cases last week, with a peak of 55%, it adds.
However, “as long as the virus continues to circulate, future waves are inevitable,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa director, during the press conference.
The continent “must not only make vaccination widespread, but also achieve expanded and equitable access to essential treatments” for COVID-19, he said.
The vaccination rate remains low in Africa, according to the WHO, only 10% of the population is fully vaccinated.
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