• New cases and deaths have increased by nearly 40% in Africa.
  • At least twenty countries are experiencing a third wave.
  • Fourteen countries have reported the Delta variant, first discovered in India.

In the last week, Africa has seen a 39% increase in Covid-19 cases – more than any other region in the world.
Statistics tweeted by Director-General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, showed a “worrisome” trend, with the number of new cases and deaths much higher in Africa than anywhere else.
The only other region that saw an increase was the Eastern Mediterranean region, which saw a two percent increase in the change in new cases in the last seven days. Globally, the numbers of new cases decreased by six percent.
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Africa now makes up two percent of the global number of cumulative cases of Covid-19. While the nearly 3.8 million cases in Africa are significantly lower than the more than 70 million in the Americas, which accounts for 40% of the global count, the increase in new cases in that region stands at 0%.
While the average number of deaths over the last seven days have decreased by four percent in the Americas, 12% in Europe and 26% in South-East Asia, the average deaths in Africa have increased by 38%.
Third wave
The statistics point to a “devastating” third wave experienced across at least 20 countries across, said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The peak of the third wave will likely be higher than the second, he added.
South Africa now accounts for 35% of all cases in Africa, while southern Africa as a region accounts for 40% of new cases, including Namibia and Zambia. Morocco accounted for 10%, Tunisia seven percent and Egypt and Ethiopia five percent each, said Nkengasong.
More than half of member states have reported cases of the Alpha and Beta variants, first discovered in Britain and South Africa. Thirteen countries have reported the Delta variant, first discovered in India. The Delta variant has “aggressively taken over” in countries like Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the variant became the predominant variant in just six weeks, said Nkengasong.
And while the Africa CDC saw an uptake of vaccines, only around one percent of Africans have been able to access vaccines.
“There’s so much talk about vaccine hesitancy on the continent—it’s a function of vaccine availability on the continent. If vaccines are available, people will step up and use the vaccines,” Nkengasong said during a press briefing.
With vaccine supplies are running low on the continent, health authorities, including the WHO, are calling on wealthy countries to share their vaccine doses.
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Independent analysis by the non-profit organisation, the One Campaign, showed that G7 countries will exceed demand of their vaccine supply by the end of the northern summer, which could mean as many as 2.5 billion doses left over once their populations are vaccinated.
“We are seeing the dangers of vaccine hoarding right before us,” said Tom Hart, acting head of One. 
Hart added:
Wealthy countries have the resources to stop the global spread, but not the urgency or ambition to match.
South Africa’s leadership role
As Africa continues to mount a collective effort against Covid-19, the African Union Bureau of Assembly of Heads of State and Government appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa as the AU Champion on Covid-19, the presidency said in a statement.
The role allows Ramaphosa to continue the work he began last year as Chair of the AU, using his role in this rotational position to respond to the pandemic. Ramaphosa’s first role in this position was to establish a commission to coordinate the continent’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The News 24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of Hanns Seidel Foundation.