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COVID-19 cases surge as Africa records highest weekly deaths – WHO



WORLD Health Organisation (WHO), new data showed that weekly COVID-19 deaths in Africa reached a record peak in the week that ended on August 1, marking the highest seven-day toll since the onset of the pandemic in the continent.

  The data released during a virtual press conference facilitated by APO Group, showed over 6,400 deaths were recorded, a two per cent rise compared with the previous week, with South Africa and Tunisia accounting for over 55 per cent of the fatalities.

  Death trends are on the rise in 15 countries, and 12 have reported higher case fatality rates than the African average of 2.5 per cent over the last month.

  With more than 172,000 deaths, Africa accounts for over four per cent of the 4.2 million COVID-19-related deaths recorded globally to date.

  New Vaccines Introduction Officer at WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Phionah Atuhebwe, said: “It is a sad day for Africa. Our hearts go out to everyone who has lost friends and loved ones. Deaths have peaked week-on-week on the continent and after a slight dip, COVID-19 cases are surging again. The latest data tells us that Africa is still on the crest of the third wave, still recording more cases than in any earlier peak and that we cannot take anything for granted.”

  According to the WHO, COVID-19 cases rose by 19 per cent to over 278,000 in the week ending on August 1. South Africa accounted for 29 per cent of the cases, which remain close to Africa’s record high of 286,000 weekly cases recorded in early July.

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  Twenty-two African countries have seen cases rise by over 20 per cent for at least two weeks running. The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 29 African countries, while the Alpha variant has been detected in 39 countries and the Beta variant in 35.

  In Nigeria, the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage as the country on Wednesday night recorded four new deaths and 747 cases, ranking the highest daily infection figure in nearly six months. The last time the country confirmed cases above 747 was on February 18 when 877 cases were recorded.

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