ADDIS ABABA/ ETHIOPIA:
The number of Covid-19-inflicted deaths in Africa reached 100,294 on Friday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the African continent now stood at 3,796,354, according to the continental disease control and prevention agency's Africa Covid-19 dashboard.
South Africa has reported the highest number of deaths related to Covid-19 in Africa, at 48,708, followed by Egypt, at 10,201, and Morocco, at 8,524.
The southern Africa region is the area most affected by Covid-19 in terms of the number of confirmed cases, followed by the northern Africa region.
A total of 3,346,404 people infected with Covid-19 have recovered across the continent so far, the agency said
But deaths are rising sharply across Africa, driven by its southern region, especially economic powerhouse South Africa, which accounts for nearly half. South Africa was ravaged by a second wave caused by a more contagious variant that has jammed up casualty wards.
“The increased number (of infections) has led to many severe cases and some of the countries really found it quite difficult to cope,” Richard Mihigo, coordinator of the immunisation programme at the World Health Organisation’s Africa office, told Reuters.
“We have seen some countries getting to their limit in terms of oxygen supply, which has got a really negative impact in terms of case management for severe cases.”
Mihigo said the rise in deaths was pronounced in countries near South Africa like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, raising the possibility that the 501Y.V2 variant identified in South Africa late last year had spread through the southern Africa region - although more genomic sequencing needs to be carried out to prove that.
International aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) this month called for urgent vaccine distributions in southern Africa to counter the spread of the new variant, as most African countries have lagged richer Western nations in launching mass vaccination programmes.
(With input from Reuters)