COVID-19 cases surge in Africa as the UN urges fair distribution of vaccines

COVID-19 cases surge in Africa as the UN urges fair distribution of vaccines

Delta variant and low vaccine access creates a third wave in Africa.

COVID-19 cases are surging across the African continent, with more than twenty countries now in the grip of a third wave. Experts predict this wave will surpass case numbers seen in previous peaks.

“The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before,” says Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa.

“The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to a whole new level.”

The Delta variant is a big part of this potentially catastrophic surge, with over a dozen countries having detected cases. In Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Delta variant is now the most common in circulation.

Stopping the spread and mutation of COVID-19 relies on populations being vaccinated. But access to vaccines in Africa is far too low. According to the latest WHO figures, only 1% of the African population has been fully vaccinated, compared to 50% of the population in high income countries like the UK and USA.

COVID-19 vaccines, the world’s best hope to end the pandemic, are not being distributed fairly.

“Vaccines are our only way out of this crisis. They must be considered as a global public good, available and affordable to all.”

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has repeatedly urged the international community to support the COVAX programme and share vaccines equally around the world.