PARIS, France – More than five million people have contracted the COVID-19 virus in Africa since it emerged in China in late 2019, data compiled by AFP from official sources showed Saturday.
A total of 5,008,656 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in 54 countries and territories, including almost 109,800 in the past seven days, for a daily average of 15,680.
More than 134,000 people have died, and the daily average of around 320 represents an increase of 16 percent from the comparable figure a week ago.
The number of official cases is probably just a fraction of the actual number moreover, owing to variations in health policies and varied levels of testing capacity from one country to another.
Africa is now the only region where the COVID pandemic is still on the rise, with a weekly increase of 30 percent, and it is at risk of a third wave of the disease.
Globally, the number of COVID cases declined for the sixth consecutive week, by 14 percent.
Almost seven out of every 10 new African cases were reported in five countries: Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.
South Africa has technically begun a third wave according to its National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is now spreading faster in Zambia than anywhere else in the world, with a weekly gain of 147 percent, or 1,200 new cases a day.
South Africa has reported the highest number of contaminated people on the continent, with 1,722,086 cases.
Vaccination programmes have struggled to make headway in Africa, with just 2.87 shots per 100 inhabitants, compared with a global average of 29.56 according to figures collected by AFP from official sources.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) again pressed wealthy countries to share vaccine stocks, with Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s director for Africa, calling it a question “of life or death”.
Members of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries have pledged to distribute a billion doses of COVID vaccines within the framework of the Covax facility, which has struggled to get them to poorer countries.