By John Ikani
Africa posted a global record of 132,000 COVID-19 new cases and over 1900 deaths for the week covering June 14 to 21, 2021.
The figures represent an increase of 39 and 38 per cents over the previous seven days.
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update Edition 45, published on Tuesday, Africa reported an upsurge in the past month, with the largest coming from the southern and eastern parts of the continent.
It broke down fresh infections to include South Africa (70,739), Zambia (16,641) and Uganda (9,926).
The global agency observed: “The highest number of new death was reported from South Africa (937), Zambia (230) and Uganda (203).”
What you should know
The COVID-19 crisis in Africa has revived discussions on localising vaccine manufacturing to the African region to reduce the dependence on imports.
The fact that Africa is lagging so far behind on the COVID-19 vaccination compared with Europe and North America has highlighted the importance of the issue.
Most African countries depend on the WHO-sponsored COVAX scheme, which buys COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers by pooling demand, thus enhancing their bargaining power.
It also offers discounts for least developed countries.
However, the scheme is underfunded and competes with national authorities procuring vaccines directly from the manufacturers, and thus lacking a secure supply.
Moreover, the supply shortage became worse when the Serum Institute of India, previously the main supplier to COVAX, focused on domestic needs when the pandemic spread in India.