The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the number of new Covid-19 infections reported globally has now declined for seven weeks in a row, the longest sequence of weekly declines since the pandemic began.
However, this is in contrast with the rising cases of Covid-19 in Africa, which is quite a concern because it is the region with the least access to vaccines.
This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, at a news conference on Monday in Geneva.
What the Director-General of WHO is saying
Tedros, in his speech, said that while the weekly Covid-19 cases were at their lowest since February, the death rate was not declining as quickly.
He also said that the rising cases of Covid-19 in Africa together with the spread of more transmissible variants, increase the continent’s mortality rate among critically ill patients.
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The WHO boss said, “The number of deaths reported last week was similar to the previous week and the global decline masks a worrying increase in cases and deaths in many countries. The steep increase in Africa is especially concerning because it is the region with the least access to vaccines, diagnostics and oxygen.
A recent study in the Lancet showed Africa has the highest global mortality rate among critically ill COVID-19 patients, despite having fewer reported cases than most other regions. Available evidence suggests new variants have substantially increased transmission globally.
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That means the risks have increased for people who are not protected, which is most of the world’s population and right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines,” he said.
Tedros also pointed out that at the G7 summit on Saturday, he spoke about the shared goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the world’s population by the time G7 meets again in Germany in 2022.
He said, “To do that, we need 11 billion doses; the G7 and G20 can make this happen. I welcome the support expressed by the G7 for WHO, the ACT Accelerator and the idea of a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response.
And I welcome the announcement that G7 countries will donate 870 million vaccine doses, primarily through COVAX. This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster.’’
According to him, over 10,000 people are dying daily, adding that during this press conference alone, more than 420 people will die.
The Director-General said the emergence of more transmissible variants meant public health and social measures might need to be more stringent and applied for longer, in areas where vaccination rates remain low.
He said, “To improve the evidence base on the effectiveness of public health and social measures, WHO is collecting data from around the world on which measures are used and the level at which they are applied.
We have also established a new WHO working group, with the support of Norway, to study the impact of public health and social measures during COVID-19 and other health emergencies.”
The rising cases of infection in Africa is a source of great concern especially with the low level of vaccine distribution and inoculation within the continent. Only about 2.8% of the region’s population has been vaccinated as against the global average of 14.5%.
However, the declining cases of Covid-19 globally will help in the easing of lockdown in most economies.