Africa is winning the fight against Covid-19 infections, but experts have warned that the continent must not lower the guard.
The head of Africa CDC, John Nkengasong has called on governments to remain vigilant saying the lull in levels of infection on the continent is likely to lead to another spike in cases in coming months. Some European countries are already dealing with a spike in infections, especially in unvaccinated clusters of the population, Mr Nkengasong added.
“We’re now at the trough of the peaks and this is the period to do something to curb another peak by expanding testing and vaccination as much as possible so that the continent doesn’t have to suffer further through blanket lockdowns and extensive health and economic damage when we have another peak,” warned Dr Nkengasong, noting that they had observed reduced emphasis on social distancing especially in countries in electioneering season.
He said with the highly infectious Delta variant now dominant throughout the continent, even with the slowdown in infections, danger still looms due to low levels of vaccination and testing.
“Over close to two years we have been dealing with the virus and we know that each time we offer it a chance to spread, it will. The virus we're dealing with especially the now dominant Delta variant transmits very fast and if you render the opportunity for the virus to spread it will.
‘‘If we lower our guards, we should expect to be up battling high infections again in two or three months’ time again.”
The number of new deaths from the virus on the continent has fallen considerably with last week’s number at 1,277 from 1,300 in the previous week, across the continent, representing a 35 percent decrease in the number of new deaths across all 55 member states.
Last month, the continent registered an average of 16 percent decrease in infections on the continent. East Africa recorded a 20 percent decrease in infections. Dr Nkengasong said even as countries balance between saving lives and livelihoods, they must increase testing. He added Africa CDC will launch a vast campaign of extensive testing using the rapid antigen test across the continent.