Science

Virus: South Africa “technically” in a third wave

South Africa has “technically” entered a 3rd wave of Covid-19, with more than 9,000 new contaminations identified in the last 24 hours, announced Thursday evening the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) .

With a high average number of new contaminations over the last 7 days, “South Africa has technically entered the 3rd wave today”, indicated on Twitter the NICD, which lists the Covid-19 figures daily.

Officially the country of the continent most affected by the virus, South Africa, hard hit by a second wave at the end of 2020, peaking at around 10,000 new cases per day, has feared this announcement for several weeks.

Four of the nine provinces of the country, including that of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg as well as the capital Pretoria, were already considered at the end of May as affected by the 3rd wave.

South Africa now has more than 1.7 million cases for 57,410 deaths, including 100 in the past 24 hours. With Egypt, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia, the country accounts for nearly three quarters of new cases recorded across Africa, which is approaching five million cases, according to the World Health Organization. (WHO).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the end of May a return to stricter measures: extension of the curfew, closure of non-essential businesses at 10 p.m. and more severe limitation of gatherings.

Lagging behind the rest of the world, South Africa has vaccinated just over 1% of its population, while the goal set by the WHO is to vaccinate 10% of the population of each country by September.

Widely criticized for delaying the global race to acquire valuable vaccines, the government says it has purchased enough doses for at least 45 of some 59 million South Africans.

Vaccination against Covid-19 in a retirement home on May 19, 2021 near Klerksdorp, South Africa (AFP / Archives – Michele Spatari)

Cyril Ramaphosa has repeatedly denounced a “vaccine apartheid” favoring rich countries for access to vaccines. South Africa and India are leading a campaign for a waiver of intellectual property rights to coronavirus vaccines, so that each country can produce doses.

Only 2% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people have received a dose and only 9.4 million Africans are fully immunized, according to the WHO.

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