The World Health Organization reported Africa is seeing their lowest levels of coronavirus cases and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the WHO Africa report, the continent has seen weekly cases drop for the past 16 weeks and deaths drop for the past eight. The last surge of cases was a result from the omicron variant.
Per a statement from the agency, Africa went from seeing 308,000 cases per week to just 20,000. Cases and deaths saw a decline of 29 percent and 37 percent in the past week.
Africa hadn’t seen levels this low since April of 2020.
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“Despite the decreasing infections, it is crucial that countries remain vigilant and maintain surveillance measures, including genomic surveillance to swiftly detect circulating COVID-19 variants, enhance testing and scale up vaccination,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “With the virus still circulating, the risk of new and potentially more deadly variants emerging remains, and the pandemic control measures are pivotal to effective response to a surge in infections.”
In addition, new variants can impact the evolution of the pandemic. In Botswana and South Africa, researchers are conducting further analysis into new sub-lineages of the Omicron variant recently detected there to determine whether they are more infectious or virulent. The BA.4 and BA.5 identified in the two southern African countries have also been confirmed in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The agency also warned the coming winter season that is approaching the Southern Hemisphere may put African countries at risk of another wave of infections. However, WHO found that most people in Africa who had been infected with coronavirus (about 65 percent of the population) didn’t show any symptoms.