The Omicron variant is reaching more countries in Africa

 The Omicron variant is reaching more countries in Africa and daily COVID-19 cases in the mainland surged by 93 percent. 

 Still, there are signs of stopgap as primary data indicates that hospitalizations across South Africa remain low, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has said. 

Africa recorded further than cases in the week ending on December 5, 2021, over from around. 

 Five countries reckoned for 86 percent of the cases reported over the once week and all thesub-regions in the mainland – up from one the former week – reported increases in new cases. 

 Southern Africa recorded the loftiest increase with a 140 percent hike substantially driven by an supplement in South Africa. 

 Exploration is being boosted to determine whether Omicron is fuelling the swell in cases seen in Africa. Arising data from South Africa indicates that Omicron may beget less severe illness. 

Data which looked at hospitalizations across South Africa between 14 November and 4 December plant that ICU residency was only6.3 – which is veritably low compared with the same period when the country was facing the peak linked to the Delta variant in July. 

 Data from the same two-week period from one of the health sections most impacted by Omicron plant that out of further than 1200 admissions, 98 were entering supplemental oxygen and only four were on ventilation. 

 This is veritably primary data with a small sample size and utmost of the people admitted to the health installations were under the age of 40. As the clinical profile of cases changes, the impact of Omicron may change. 

Africa presently accounts for 46 of the nearly 1000 Omicron cases reported by 57 countries across different regions of the world. 

 So far, 10 African countries have reported cases. Despite the wide global presence of Omicron, further than 70 countries have assessed trip bans that are substantially targeting southern African countries – some of which have yet to report any Omicron case. 

 “ With Omicron now present in nearly 60 countries encyclopedically, trip bans that substantially target African countries are hard to justify,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “ Through the active surveillance sweats of African scientists, the new variant of concern was first detected on this mainland, but it’s unclear if transmission was taking place quietly in other regions. We call for wisdom- grounded public health measures to fight the spread of COVID-19. The trip restrictions come at the height of the end-of- time sightseer season, ruining Africa’s husbandry, with a knock-on impact that's potentially ruinous to the health of Africans.” 

 To ramp up the response to the Omicron variant and the rise in cases, WHO is supporting countries to ameliorate genomic surveillance to track the contagion and descry other implicit variants of concern. In South Africa, a indigenous genomic sequencing laboratory is supporting 14 southern Africa countries and has significantly gauged up sequencing. In the first half of 2021, southern African countries sequenced only 5500 samples. They're now sequencing as numerous every month. 

 Africa has so far entered further than 372 million COVID-19 vaccine boluses and administered 248 million. That represents only 3 of the8.2 billion boluses given encyclopedically. Although the pace of vaccination has increased in recent months, only7.8 of Africa’s population is completely vaccinated. 

 “ What we do know is that uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines encyclopedically is creating an ideal terrain for COVID-19 variants to crop and spread strongly and regions with the least access to vaccines feel likely to suffer the most,” said Dr Moeti. “ With the end-of- time trip and fests upon us, limited vaccination, rising COVID-19 cases and the new variant makeup an portentous picture for our region.” 

 Numerous African countries have yet to administer utmost of their vaccine inventories. Only 10 countries, down from 12 the former week, have lower than 10 boluses available per 100 people. Considering vaccines entered eight or further weeks agone, 27 countries have used at least 80 of the boluses entered. Twenty-three countries have used between 50 and 79, and two have used lower than 50 of boluses entered.

 “ Only six of Africa’s 54 countries have reached the global target of vaccinating 40 of their population by the end of this time, leaving millions of people in our region without protection against COVID-19. This is simply dangerous and untenable,” said Dr Richard Mihigo, Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme Fellow for the WHO Regional Office for Africa.  

 WHO held a virtual press conference moment eased by APO Group. The briefing was led by Dr Mihigo. He was joined by Dr Christian Happi, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics and Director of the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Conditions at Redeemer's University in Nigeria. 

 Also on hand to respond to questions were Dr Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, Regional Virologist, WHO Regional Office for Africa, and Dr Thierno Balde, Regional COVID-19 Incident Manager, WHO Regional Office for Africa. 

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