WHO says COVID-19 deaths surge 43% week-on-week in Africa

PUBLISHED: Thu, 15 Jul 2021 13:34:14 GMT
Bate Felix
Funeral workers wearing personal protective equipment carry a casket during the burial of a COVID-19 victim, amid a nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, at the Olifantsvlei cemetery, south-west of Joburg, South Africa January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

DAKAR, July 15 (Reuters) – Africa recorded a 43% rise in COVID-19 deaths this week compared with last week as infections and hospital admissions have jumped and countries face shortages of oxygen and intensive-care beds, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

The WHO said Africa’s case fatality rate – the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases – currently stands at 2.6% against the global average of 2.2%.

“Deaths have climbed steeply for the past five weeks. This is a clear warning sign that hospitals in the most impacted countries are reaching a breaking point,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement.

It said COVID-19 cases on the African continent have risen for eight straight weeks, topping 6 million on 13 July 2021.

The surge, it said, has been driven by public fatigue with key health measures aimed at curbing the spread, and an increased spread of virus variants.

WHO said Africa has seen the one of the world’s fastest surge in cases with an additional 1 million over the past month.

“This is the shortest time it has taken so far to add 1 million cases. Comparatively, it took around three months to move from 4 million to 5 million cases in mid-June,” the statement said.

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