Africa marks 1 year of COVID-19 response – WHO

Africa marks 1 year of COVID-19 response – WHO
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By Cecilia Ologunagba

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, says Sunday  marked one year since COVID-19 hit Africa.

The UN health agency disclosed this in a video posted on its regional official Twitter on Sunday.

The video showed the continent’s phenomenal response over the past year as well as key events and moments of COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed in Egypt on Feb. 14, 2020.

It said that by March 24, 42 labs in WHO Africa Region were able to test for COVID-19 while WHO in Africa held innovators’ hackathon on COVID-19 on April 1, 2020.

“ On 7th of April, 2020, COVID-19 cases in Africa surpassed 10,000 while UN solidarity flight delivered COVID-19 supplies to some countries on 14th April, 2020.

“African regulatory agencies expedited COVID-19 clinical trial reviews on April 20 while  Africa COVID-19 cases topped 100,000 on May 22, 2020,’’ it noted.

According to WHO, On July 9, 2020, it urged equitable COVID-19 vaccine access and by July 23, COVID-19 had infected over 10,000 health workers in Africa while confirmed cases rose to one million by Aug, 6, 2020.

“By Sept. 2, Africa had recorded one million COVID-19 survivors while African countries joined COVID-19 vaccine initiative on Sept. 3, 2020.

“On Sept 10, COVID-19 genome sequencing laboratory network was launched, on Sept. 19, COVID-19 herbal medicine trial protocol was endorsed and on Dec. 18, 2020, South Africa reported new SAR-COV 2 variant.’’

According to the UN health agency, Seychelles began nationwide COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 10, 2021, while Africa COVID-19 cases topped three million on Jan 10, 2021.

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“On February 3, 2021 COVAX announced first vaccine distribution forecast.’’

Also in a statement posted on the agency’s website, WHO said that deaths from COVID-19 in Africa surged by 40 per cent in the last month.

It noted that the surge pushed Africa’s death toll toward 100, 000 since the first reported case on the continent on Feb.14, 2020.

“This comes as Africa battles new, more contagious variants and gears up for its largest-ever vaccination drive.

“Over 22,300 deaths were reported in Africa in the last 28 days, compared with nearly 16,000 deaths in the previous 28 days.

“The continent is expected to reach 100,000 deaths in the coming days.

“Thirty-two countries reported a rise in deaths in the last 28 days, while 21 reported flat or falling rates.

“Africa’s COVID-19 fatality rate rose to 3.7 per cent during the last 28 days compared to 2.4 per cent in the previous 28 days and is now well above the global average,” WHO said.

According to WHO, Africa’s second wave of COVID-19 cases which began in October 2020 seems to have peaked on Jan. 6 2021.

“The second wave spread much faster than the first and is far more lethal.’’ (NAN)

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