The weekly number of Covid-19 cases in Africa has “dropped considerably” and the number of deaths has also fallen, for the first time since the peak of the fourth wave sparked by the Omicron variant, the World Health Organisation said in a statement on Thursday.
“The decline marks the end of the shortest outbreak on the continent, which lasted 56 days,” the World Health Organization’s Africa regional office said in a statement after a weekly press briefing.
“The number of new cases notified has fallen by 20% in one week as of 16 January, while the number of deaths has fallen by 8%,” the UN organisation said.
According to the WHO Africa South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first discovered, has seen a decline in cases for the past four weeks.
This may probably be the beginning of a declaration by the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying that 2022 “2022 must be the year we end the pandemic.”
However, cases in North Africa keep increasing reporting a hike of 55%.
WHO’s Africa director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says “as long as the virus continues to circulate, future waves are inevitable.”
The continent “must not only scale up immunisation but also gain expanded and equitable access to essential treatments” for Covid-19, she said.
Though there is a decrease in new cases, WHO says vaccination rates remain low in Africa, with only 10% of the population fully vaccinated.