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OMICRON: WHO Warns African Countries



Lagos Confirms 153 New COVID-19 Infections

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has warned African countries against complacency in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO stated that the continent has not overcome the fourth wave of infection fuelled by the Omicron variant, noting that complacency can lead to more COVID-19 cases and deaths in Africa.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti stated this on Thursday while speaking during an online press briefing organised by the world health body to update the continent on the latest developments on the COVID-19 in Africa.

Moeti noted that the continent has recorded over 10.4m cases and over 234,000 deaths. 

Moeti said all countries in Africa must remain vigilant in the fight against the viral pandemic even though the continent has seen a significant reduction in new COVID-19 cases and deaths.

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“For the first time since the start of this Omicron-fuelled fourth wave, Africa is seeing a significant drop in new cases, and a promising dip in reported deaths. 

“Cases fell by 20 per cent in the week to 16 January, while the number of deaths dropped by 8 per cent. The decrease in deaths is still small, and further monitoring is needed to determine whether the trend will be sustained. 

“I take this opportunity to stress that while the impact of this latest peak has been moderate, the continent has yet to turn the tide on this pandemic. So there is no room for complacency.

Vaccination remains our best defence, along with other WHO-approved prevention measures such as wearing masks consistently and correctly, as well as handwashing.

“So long as the virus continues to circulate, further pandemic waves are inevitable. Africa must not only broaden vaccinations but also gain increased and equitable access to critical #COVID19 therapeutics to save lives and effectively combat this pandemic. 

“The deep inequity that left Africa at the back of the queue for vaccines must not be repeated with life-saving treatments. Universal access to diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics will pave the shortest path to the end of this pandemic,” Moeti said.

Credit: The Punch

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