Omicron Driven Fourth Wave in Africa Flattens: WHO

Story Highlights
  • Africa recorded drastic surge in COVID-19 count since the detection of Omicron.
  • Omicron was flagged as a Variant of Concern by the WHO.
  • Steep and brief, but no less destabilizing: WHO

Geneva: the depression after a six-week surge driven by the South African variant was labelled to be ‘steep and brief but no less destabilizing’, said the WHO. The Omicron variant of the novel virus that was detected first in South Africa instigated a drastic surge scrambling govts’ to revoke restrictions. Spread across the globe, this variant was pronounced as a ‘Variant of Concern’ by the top health body after scientists studied its genomic skeleton.

“Early indications suggest that Africa’s fourth wave has been steep and brief but no less destabilising. The crucial pandemic countermeasure badly needed in Africa still stands, and that is rapidly and significantly increasing COVID-19 vaccinations. The next wave might not be so forgiving,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said.

Expressing concerns on the vaccination status, Chief Tedros claimed that even though more than 9.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally, 90 countries are yet to reach the target of vaccinating 40 per cent of their population. On the counter side, he also stressed that nearly 36 countries of low socioeconomic status have not yet vaccinated 10% of their populations.

As of January 11, the continent reported plateauing of weekly cases with a drop in the infection rate from 14 per cent. While East and Central Africa regions have experienced a drop, the Northern and Western counterparts still struggle to bar the rise.

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