COVID-19 Cases Surge To Five Million In Africa
Africa has reportedly reached a highly concerning number of COVID-19 cases. Recent statistics show that over five million Africans have contracted the coronavirus since its discovery in 2019. These numbers are alarming despite Africa’s large population of over 1.2 billion, marking a reported increase of 16 percent in death rates. South Africa, which is officially in a third wave, leads the numbers and accounts for almost half of the deaths across the continent. On the contrary, cases globally have been declining for the sixth consecutive week.
Approximately 110 000 cases were confirmed in the last week alone in Africa, with South Africa averaging 7219 new infections. According to ABS-CBN News, 70 percent of new cases were discovered from five countries including South Africa, Zambia, Tunisia, Egypt and Uganda. Zambia, however, is worringly where the coronavirus is spreading exponentially.
Looking at data collected since the emergence of the coronavirus in 2019: South Africa’s COVID-19 numbers are nearing two million, Morocco follows closely with half a million and Tunisia’s records show 358 183 confirmed cases. Ethiopia and Egypt’s case numbers are close to each other at 273 195 and 273 175 respectively. These are the top five countries which collectively contribute to more than two-thirds of the five million cases, leaving the rest of the cases spread out across the remaining 49 African states.
South Africa initiated its vaccine rollout plan at the end of February but has faced outrage from citizens and political parties about the slow rate of vaccinations. Less than half a million of the population has been vaccinated, which is arguably miniscule compared to the population of approximately 58 million citizens. According to a recent News24 article, Africa vaccinates at an average rate of three percent per 100 inhabitants, meagre figure compared to the approximate global rate of 30 percent. According to MarketWatch, over a whopping 24.5 million vaccinations have been administered in the continent.
South Africa officially entered into the third wave with over 9149 cases recorded last week on June 4. Since May, the country has been at an adjusted level 2 lockdown.