The African continent has surpassed 2 million confirmed instances as the highest public well being official warned Thursday that “we’re inevitably edging towards a second wave” of infections.
The Africa Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention stated the 54-nation continent had crossed the milestone. Africa has seen greater than 48,000 deaths from COVID-19. Its infections and deaths make up lower than 4% of the worldwide complete.
The African continent of 1.three billion folks is being warned towards “prevention fatigue” as international locations loosen pandemic restrictions to ease their economies’ struggling and extra folks journey.
“We can not relent. If we relent, then all of the sacrifices we put into efforts over the previous 10 months will likely be wiped away,” Africa CDC director John Nkengasong advised reporters. He expressed concern that “many international locations aren’t imposing public well being measures, together with masking, which is extraordinarily vital.”
Issues over vaccine storage and value
Whereas the world takes hope from promising COVID-19 vaccines, African well being officers additionally fear the continent will endure as richer international locations purchase up provides.
“Let’s rejoice the excellent news” first, Nkengasong stated. However he warned that the Pfizer vaccine requires storage at minus 70 levels Celsius, and such a requirement “already creates an imbalance within the honest distribution or entry to these vaccines” as richer international locations will likely be higher outfitted to maneuver shortly.
A storage community at minus 70 Celsius was put in place for West Africa’s devastating Ebola outbreak a number of years in the past, however that was localised, Nkengasong stated. “If we had been to deploy throughout the entire continent, it could be extraordinarily difficult to scale it,” he stated. “Let’s be hopeful in coming weeks different vaccines will present extra ease of distribution in resource-limited settings like Africa.”
The Moderna vaccine requires storage at minus 20 levels Celsius, which Nkengasong referred to as promising. However the worth of any COVID-19 vaccine is one other issue of their honest distribution, he stated. “So if a vaccine is $40 (€33.8) it turns into virtually unique to components of the world” that may afford it.
However he supplied an optimistic early take a look at attitudes throughout Africa towards any COVID-19 vaccine. Early information from a vaccine notion survey in 11 international locations present 81% of respondents would settle for a vaccine, he stated. “In order that’s very, very encouraging information.”
A number of African international locations have confirmed virus instances within the six figures. South Africa leads with greater than 750,000, whereas Morocco has greater than 300,000, Egypt greater than 110,000 and Ethiopia greater than 100,000.
Kenya is the newest concern because it now sees a recent surge in instances. At the very least 4 medical doctors died on Saturday alone, main a robust well being union within the nation to threaten a nationwide strike beginning subsequent month.
“Completely little question you’ll see COVID unfold into extra rural areas” of Kenya and different international locations, Nkengasong stated, as extra folks transfer round.
The African continent has performed 20 million coronavirus exams for the reason that pandemic started, however shortages imply the true variety of infections is unknown.