africa who raises concerns over rise in covid cases steered by south africa

Africa: WHO raises concerns over rise in Covid cases steered by South Africa

Earlier this month, Africa had been experiencing a settling down of Covid-19 cases. As World Health Organization (WHO) had pointed out, this was the longest running decline in cases in the continent since the pandemic started.

But last week the cases begun to see an uptick, largely steered by South Africa that is doubling in case numbers. South Africa has been the largest contributor of Covid case numbers as well as deaths in Africa since the start of pandemic.

Possible fifth wave?

WHO authorities are now raising concerns over possible signs towards a fifth wave in Africa.

“This week new Covid-19 cases and deaths on the continent increased for the first time after a decline of more than two months for cases and one month for deaths,” said Benido Impouma, director for communicable and non – communicable diseases at the WHO’s Africa office, during an online press conference.

However, Impouma added that the rise in cases is not suggested to be linked to a new variant or sub lineage of coronavirus.

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Helen Rees, executive director of the University of the Witwatersrand’s Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in Johannesburg, said that the surge in Covid cases in South Africa are largely of BA.4 and BA.5 sub lineages of Omicron variant.

Rise in vaccine preventable diseases in Africa

WHO has added that Africa has been recording a rise in cases of diseases preventable by vaccines, including polio, measles and yellow fever.

WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said, “The rise in outbreaks of other vaccine preventable diseases is a warning sign. As Africa works hard to defeat Covid-19, we must not forget other health threats.”