The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to more countries in Africa.
In particular, the weekly number of new cases of covid-19 has increased by 93% on the continent, said the World Health Organization, which remains optimistic as, based on preliminary data, the number of treatments remains low.
Africa accounts for 46% of Omicron cases, said Richard Michigo, coordinator of the WHO Immunization and Vaccine Development Program in Africa.
In South Africa, where Omicron is responsible for the fourth wave of the epidemic, there has been a 255% increase in covid-19 cases in the last seven days, but only 6% in the number of occupied beds in intensive care units, he commented. Tierno Balde, WHO official for Africa.
Africa has so far received more than 372 million doses of vaccine against covid-19 and has given 248 million, which is 3% of the 8.2 billion doses given worldwide.
Although the rate of vaccinations has accelerated in recent months, only 7.8% of Africans have been fully immunized.
Only six of the 54 African countries will have achieved the 40% target
“Only six of the 54 African countries will have achieved their goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of the year, leaving millions of people in our region without protection against covid-19. “This is just dangerous and unacceptable.”
“What we do know is that the unequal distribution of vaccines worldwide creates the ideal environment for the emergence and spread of covid-19 strains, and areas with the least access to vaccines are likely to suffer the most,” said Matsidiso Muti. WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Muti also criticized travel bans from more than 70 countries for some South African states, some of which have not detected Omicron cases.
“With Omicron now found in almost 60 countries around the world, travel bans, which mainly affect African countries, cannot be easily justified,” he said.
“Thanks to the diligent efforts of African scientists, the new strain of concern has been identified for the first time on this continent, but it is not clear whether it was spreading silently to other areas,” he added.