Africa reaches grim milestone of 100 000 Covid-19 deaths

By Chad Williams 17m ago

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Cape Town – Covid-19 claimed 100 000 lives on the African continent on Thursday evening, almost one year since the first wave of infections made landfall on the continent.

The latest real-time data shows that there are just over 3.7 million confirmed Covid-19 cases on the continent, while more than 3.3 million Africans have recovered.

According to reports, experts believe the emergence of new coronavirus variations in Africa have contributed to an increase in the number of both cases and deaths reported in many countries on the continent.

South Africa leads the continent with the highest number of infections, 1 496 439, while almost 50 000 South Africans have lost their lives to the deadly virus.

On Wednesday, the country began rolling out its vaccination campaign, with President Cyril Ramaphosa and the country’s health minister among the first to receive the first jabs of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Morocco has the second highest number of infections on the continent and the highest in the North Africa region, with just under half-a-million infections, while 8 524 people have lost their lives to the virus.

According to reports, Morocco launched a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign at the end of January, after receiving the first batch of Chinese vaccines, reported Xinhua.

Tunisia in North Africa has also seen a surge in infections over the last few weeks as a second wave drives the charge and increase in the number of Covid-19 patients putting a strain on the country’s fragile health system.

Tunisia’s vaccination campaign — initially scheduled for April, is due to begin in the next few weeks according to health officials

Egypt has 175 677 total cases while just over 10 150 Egyptians succumbed to the virus. With a total population of around 103 million, Egypt’s health minister, Hala Zayed, said the North Africa country managed to strike international deals to import 100 million vaccine doses against the novel coronavirus in 2021, according to Egypt Today.

Ethiopia, who rounds up the top five countries on the continent with the most infections has recorded 150 179 confirmed cases, while 2 249 Ethiopians have lost their lives since the first outbreak.

According to Anadolu agency, Ethiopia is planning to vaccinate 20% of its population against the Covid-19 pandemic by the end of 2021.

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that the continent is now moving from planning to action in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, as rapid vaccine rollout is expected in the wake of the WHO listing of two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa said in a statement: “Africa is revving up to roll out Covid-19 vaccines. These thorough vaccine preparation plans will help ensure African countries can hit the ground running in quickly immunizing the most vulnerable people.”

Moeti added that meticulous planning is key to ensuring vaccines reach all priority groups, wherever they are, in every single African country.

African News Agency (ANA)