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Africa In Frantic Effort To Contain Spread Of Omicron Variant

African countries are stepping up efforts to detect and contain the Omicron variant’s spread.

The World Health Organization said in a statement released on Thursday that this was necessary because weekly new COVID-19 cases on the continent increased by 54% due to an uptick in southern Africa.

The Omicron variant has now been detected in four African countries, namely Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, according to WHO, with more than 20 countries having detected the variant so far.

According to the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, Botswana and South Africa account for 62% of all cases reported globally.

As national authorities step up surveillance and sequencing operations, the Omicron variant is expected to be detected in more countries. READ ALSO: Omicron Poses High Risk Of Community Transmission — Virologists

According to WHO, the discovery of the Omicron variant coincides with a 54 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in Africa, primarily due to an increase in southern Africa.

“Botswana and South Africa have bought the world time by detecting and reporting the new variant in a timely manner. We have a window of opportunity, but we must act quickly to ramp up detection and prevention measures,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, urging African countries to adjust their COVID-19 response to avoid a pandemic.

According to the WHO, Omicron’s spike protein has a high number of mutations (32) and preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection when compared to other variants of concern.

Vaccination rates in Africa are still low; only 102 million people, or 7.5% of the population, were fully vaccinated.

WHO warned that more than 80% of the population has yet to receive the first dose, noting that only five African countries have met the WHO global target of fully vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021.

“A toxic mix of low vaccination rates, virus spread, and mutations.”

The COVID-19 threat is real, and the Omicron variant serves as a warning.

“With improved vaccine supplies, African countries should expand vaccination coverage to protect their populations,” Moeti said.

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African countries are stepping up efforts to detect and contain the Omicron variant’s spread.

The World Health Organization said in a statement released on Thursday that this was necessary because weekly new COVID-19 cases on the continent increased by 54% due to an uptick in southern Africa.

The Omicron variant has now been detected in four African countries, namely Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, according to WHO, with more than 20 countries having detected the variant so far.

According to the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, Botswana and South Africa account for 62% of all cases reported globally.

As national authorities step up surveillance and sequencing operations, the Omicron variant is expected to be detected in more countries. READ ALSO: Omicron Poses High Risk Of Community Transmission — Virologists

According to WHO, the discovery of the Omicron variant coincides with a 54 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in Africa, primarily due to an increase in southern Africa.

“Botswana and South Africa have bought the world time by detecting and reporting the new variant in a timely manner. We have a window of opportunity, but we must act quickly to ramp up detection and prevention measures,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, urging African countries to adjust their COVID-19 response to avoid a pandemic.

According to the WHO, Omicron’s spike protein has a high number of mutations (32) and preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection when compared to other variants of concern.

Vaccination rates in Africa are still low; only 102 million people, or 7.5% of the population, were fully vaccinated.

WHO warned that more than 80% of the population has yet to receive the first dose, noting that only five African countries have met the WHO global target of fully vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021.

“A toxic mix of low vaccination rates, virus spread, and mutations.”

The COVID-19 threat is real, and the Omicron variant serves as a warning.

“With improved vaccine supplies, African countries should expand vaccination coverage to protect their populations,” Moeti said.

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Our newsletter gives you access to a curated selection of the most important stories daily.

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