AA / Alphonse LOGO
The World Health Organization for Africa warned on Thursday of a probable fifth wave of Covid-19 contamination, in particular with Omicron subvariants.
The gun bell was sounded during a virtual press conference hosted on Thursday by the Africa office of the World Health Organization.
Dr Gueye Abdou Salam, Director for Health Emergencies, WHO Regional Office for Africa thus affirmed “that there is a strong probability” that the variants of Covid-19 currently circulating in South Africa “will spread quickly” throughout the African continent.
This is the Omicron variant with its BA4 and BA5 sublineages. They are “creating a fifth wave of the pandemic in South Africa,” he said.
“We know that countries like Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia have borders but also very close economic relations with South Africa. If we take into account all the relationships that exist between these countries in the southern African region, we can clearly see that there is a high probability that these variants will spread quickly in these countries in the first place. But also, that it happens in the countries of Central Africa, East and West Africa”, worried Dr. Abdou Salam Gueye.
Convinced of the possibility that these variants in South Africa will spread to the rest of the continent, he nevertheless reassures that the World Health Organization will not stand idly by in the face of this.
“We are working with the various governments so that they can improve their alert mechanism and their condition of detection, but also of response, in particular at the community level but also at the level of the emergency services for serious cases. . And above all also by developing vaccination in vulnerable people,” said Dr Gueye.
He was accompanied during this press conference by Professor Placide Mbala, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Head of the Laboratory of Genomic Pathogens at the National Institute for Biomedical Research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Dr. Kerrigan McCarthy, Pathologist at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in South Africa.
Also present were Dr. Thierno Baldé, Head of COVID-19 Response Operations, Dr. Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, Virologist, Dr. Mory Keita, Head of Response to the Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zora Machekanyanga, communications officer for vaccine-preventable diseases in the WHO Intercountry Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa.
In Southern Africa, 46,271 cases of Covid-19 were recorded during the week ending May 8, 2022, an increase of 32% compared to the previous week. This is largely due, according to the WHO, “to a spike in South Africa, where recorded weekly cases have quadrupled over the past three weeks”.
Nelson Mandela’s country has recorded 376 deaths in the past three weeks, twice as many as in the previous three weeks.
Besides South Africa, Eswatini and Namibia have also seen an increase in cases. These two countries have reported 50% more new cases in the past two weeks compared to the previous two weeks.
Note that the last four waves of the pandemic in Africa occurred towards the middle and end of last year, mainly due to new variants, winter seasons and large population movements during holiday periods. .
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