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Africa's Omicron-driven fourth pandemic wave has leveled off after a six-week rise - WHO

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Peeyush Ghalot
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South Africa had reported the novel Omicron strain to the WHO for the first time on November 24. Africa's fourth pandemic wave, led by the Omicron strain, is levelling after a six-week rise. It was classified as a variation of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 26. The critical pandemic countermeasure, fast and considerably boosting Covid-19 vaccines, is still in Africa. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, stated that the next wave would not be as merciful. More than 15 million new instances of Covid-19 were reported to WHO last week from around the world, by far the most cases reported in a single week, according to Ghebreyesus. On the other hand, cases are rising in North and West Africa, with North Africa reporting a 121 percent increase over the previous week.

(Image Courtesy: - India Today)

However, mortality throughout the continent increased by 64% in the week ending January 9 compared to the week before, owning primarily to infections among high-risk people. Despite this, there are fewer deaths in the fourth wave than in the previous waves. The number of people admitted to hospitals has remained low. Approximately 9% of South Africa's roughly 5,600 intensive care unit beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients. While the African continent looks to have weathered the recent pandemic wave, poor vaccination rates remain a source of concern. Only about 10% of Africa's population has received complete vaccination. However, vaccine supplies to the continent have lately increased, and WHO is expanding its support to countries so that doses may be delivered efficiently to the larger population.

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