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WHO marks one year of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa said Sunday marked one year since COVID-19 hit the continent.

The United Nations health agency disclosed this in a video posted on its official Twitter handle – @WHOAFRO.

The video showed the continent’s phenomenal response over the past year as well as key events and moments of COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed in Egypt on February 14, 2020.

According to WHO, by March 24, 2020, 42 laboratories on the continent were able to test for COVID-19 while it held innovators’ hackathon on COVID-19 on April 1.

The agency said: “On April 7, 2020, COVID-19 cases in Africa surpassed 10,000 while UN solidarity flight delivered COVID-19 supplies to some countries on April 14, 2020.

“African regulatory agencies expedited COVID-19 clinical trial reviews on April 20 while Africa COVID-19 cases topped 100,000 on May 22, 2020.

“On July 9, 2020, WHO urged equitable COVID-19 vaccine access and by July 23, COVID-19 had infected over 10,000 health workers in Africa while confirmed cases rose to one million by August 6, 2020.

“By September 2, Africa had recorded one million COVID-19 survivors while African countries joined COVID-19 vaccine initiative on September 3, 2020.

“On September 10, COVID-19 genome sequencing laboratory network was launched, on September 19, COVID-19 herbal medicine trial protocol was endorsed and on December 18, 2020, South Africa reported a new SAR-COV 2 variant.’’

READ ALSO: WHO reports 17% drop in COVID-19 cases globally

The body said Seychelles began nationwide COVID-19 vaccination on January 10, 2021, while Africa COVID-19 cases topped three million on January 10, 2021.

“On February 3, 2021 COVAX announced first vaccine distribution forecast,” it added.

WHO also disclosed that deaths from COVID-19 in Africa increased by 40 per cent in the last month.

It noted that the surge pushed Africa’s death toll toward 100, 000 since the continent’s first reported on February 14, 2020.

“This comes as Africa battles new, more contagious variants and gears up for its largest-ever vaccination drive.

“Over 22,300 deaths were reported in Africa in the last 28 days, compared with nearly 16,000 deaths in the previous 28 days.

“The continent is expected to reach 100,000 deaths in the coming days.

“32 countries reported a rise in deaths in the last 28 days, while 21 reported flat or falling rates.

“Africa’s COVID-19 fatality rate rose to 3.7 percent during the last 28 days compared to 2.4 percent in the previous 28 days and is now well above the global average,” the UN health body stated.

It said Africa’s second wave of COVID-19 cases which began in October 2020 reportedly peaked on January 6.

“The second wave spread much faster than the first and is far more lethal,” it concluded

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