For the week covering June 14 to 21,2021, Africa posted a global record of 132,000 COVID-19 new cases and over 1900 deaths, representing an increase of 39 and 38 per cents over the previous seven days.
This is against the world’s declining profile of over 2.5 million new weekly infections and over 64,000 fatalities, a six per cent and a 12 per cent decrease, compared to the previous one.
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update Edition 45, published yesterday, the region reported an upsurge in the past month, with the largest coming from the southern and eastern parts of the continent.
It broke down fresh infections to include South Africa (70,739), Zambia (16,641) and Uganda (9,926).
The global agency observed: “The highest number of new death was reported from South Africa (937), Zambia (230) and Uganda (203).”
Even as global incidence exceeds 177 million, last week witnessed the lowest weekly cases since February 2021.
This week, the American and Western Pacific regions reported new weekly cases similar to the previous, while South East Asia and the European regions achieved a decline.
Globally, mortalities remained high with more than 9000 incidents reported daily over the past week.
But fresh fatalities in the period under review decreased exponentially.
WHO’s Director-General, WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, at a press briefing, said the pandemic had shown that relying on a few companies for global supplies was dangerous.
To boost production, he canvassed sharing of know-how, technology, licences and waiving of intellectual property rights.
The DG disclosed that his organisation was discussing with a consortium of firms and institutions to establish a technology transfer hub in South Africa for COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
In his presentation on “World Local Production Forum: Enhancing access to medicines and other health technologies”, Ghebreyesus reaffirmed WHO’s commitment to the landmark resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly weeks back and co-sponsored by over 100 nations on strengthening local production of medicines and other health technologies to improve access – specifically to boost production capacity where it exists – and to build where lacking.