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COVID-19 third wave stabilising in Africa – WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday the third wave of COVID-19 was stabilising in Africa.

The WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, disclosed this to journalists at a media briefing in Abuja.

He, however, added that the number of new cases was still very high with 248, 000 reported in the past week.

The WHO official stressed that trend in Africa was that each new wave struck the continent “faster and harder, reaching a higher number of new cases, more rapidly than the previous wave.”

He said: “This puts an increasing strain on already stretched health facilities and health workers.

“The good news is that, increasing vaccine supplies raises hope that the continent will meet the target of vaccinating 10 percent of the population by the end of September.”

He noted that equitable access to safe and effective vaccines was critical to ending the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Mulombo added: “However, to understand the recent upward trend that Nigeria is experiencing, we must remind ourselves that weak observance of preventive measures, increased population movement and interaction had heightened the risk of COVID-19 resurgence in many states.

READ ALSO: What Nigerians should do to avoid third wave of COVID-19 —NMA

“These factors can contribute to increased case numbers. This ebb and flow in the pandemic’s transmission dynamics is expected and is likely to continue until a sizeable proportion of the Nigerian population is vaccinated.

“We have also been asked, at what point would WHO reconsider its position on booster doses”?

“The answer is, first, WHO is looking carefully at the outcome, which is of most relevance from a public health perspective, that is the severe disease, hospitalization and death outcomes.

“The second consideration is the consistency of the findings. Acting on a single study is just not a sound policy basis. So, we are including the entirety of the evidence.

“The third consideration is around the issue of the risk groups. Recommendations around the use of booster doses will very much be tailored to risk groups which may experience some change in the performance of the vaccines over a period.”

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