July 26, 2021

surge in deaths that increase by 43% in one week

In South Africa, vaccination undermined by riots

The vaccination campaign had to be locally suspended because of the violence that has shaken for six days the provinces of Gauteng (Johannesburg) and Kwazulu-Natal (Durban), whose death toll stood on Friday July 16 at at least 117 dead . The country, the most affected on the continent by the pandemic, is going through a severe third wave of coronavirus contamination (SARS-CoV-2).

The Delta variant has taken precedence over other forms of the virus and its great contagiousness is causing an exponential increase in cases. “For the moment we have had to suspend vaccinations in Kwazulu-Natal”, a indicated, Wednesday, July 14, in a press release the private hospital group Netcare.

Difficulties in transporting drugs

Médecins sans frontières (MSF), present in the region, has also had to interrupt certain activities. “There is an urgent need to ensure that health facilities and supplies are not targeted”, said the NGO.

The main problem is linked to the difficulties of transporting stocks of medicines to health centers, as transport between the economic capital Johannesburg and the east is hampered. Healthcare workers have also been prevented from going to hospitals, some of which have had to be temporarily closed.

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Originally caused by imprisonment on July 8 of former President Jacob Zuma, violence has intensified in recent days amid an economic crisis and unemployment, creating an influx of injured in emergency hospital wards, as doctors and nurses are overwhelmed and exhausted by the management of the health crisis.

South Africa has more than 2.2 million cases of contamination and 65,100 deaths, including 633 in the last twenty-four hours.

This is the increase in the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 on the continent over the past seven days, according to crossed figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

This is the fifth consecutive week of increases, as more countries face shortages of medical oxygen, resuscitation beds and personnel. “This is a clear red flag indicating that hospitals in the most affected countries are reaching a breaking point”, warned Dr Matshidiso Moeti, director of WHO Africa, during the UN agency’s weekly update on Thursday. While most of these new deaths are recorded in Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia, the number of contaminations has jumped in Algeria, Rwanda and Senegal, in particular.

This acceleration is largely explained by the presence of the Delta variant, extremely contagious and now detected in twenty-one countries on the continent. In one month, contaminations increased by one million, passing the 6 million mark.

In Rwanda, Kigali re-confined

Rwanda announced on Wednesday the re-containment of the capital Kigali, as well as eight other districts, from Saturday until July 26, to stem the explosion of coronavirus cases recorded in recent weeks. “Citizens are invited to considerably reduce social interactions and limit travel to only essential services, announced the government. Movements and visits outside the home are prohibited, except for essential services such as health, the purchase of food, banks. “

Vaccination against Covid-19 in Kigali, May 27, 2021.

Public transport is shut down, public and private sector offices and schools are closed, outdoor sports and recreation banned and the number of people attending funerals capped at fifteen. Arrivals and departures at Kigali airport are however maintained, as well as tourist activities, in compliance with the health protocols in force and the curfew.

Rwanda had so far succeeded in containing the epidemic thanks to strict containment and tracing of contact cases applied from March 2020. It was also one of the first countries to launch its vaccination campaign in early 2021. But it suffered from supply difficulties caused by the failure of the Covax international solidarity mechanism. As of July 14, only 3% of Rwandans were vaccinated. The country has set a goal of vaccinating 30% of its population this year and 60% by the end of 2022.

Rwanda, which has a population of 13 million, has recorded a total of nearly 51,000 cases of contamination, including 607 deaths.

Pandemic worsens food insecurity

The Covid-19 pandemic will have long-term effects on global food security, after contributing to a surge in the number of people facing hunger in 2020, according to the annual report on world hunger published on July 12 , by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The report estimates that between 720 million and 811 million the number of undernourished people in the world in 2020, an increase of 18% over one year. 282 million live in Africa where 21% of the population suffers from hunger. 46 million more people fell into food insecurity in 2020. The effects of the pandemic have come on top of traditional causes such as natural disasters and the persistence of conflicts.

Travel restrictions

Unsurprisingly, it is in the most fragile areas that the situation has deteriorated rapidly, according to the FAO. Sahel countries, Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly and, to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in particular, which was just emerging from the Ebola crisis, are particularly affected. Travel restrictions, for example, have prevented small farmers from selling their produce in markets, depriving them of income to subsist while towns have experienced supply problems that have pushed up prices.

PCR fraud fraud in Uganda

As Uganda battles its third wave, the country risks being placed on the red list for violating international health rules issued by the WHO. A large number of travelers arriving from Entebbe International Airport were said to have tested positive at the airport in their country of arrival, despite their PCR test certificate, obtained before their flight to Uganda, indicated otherwise. Kampala, however, did not want to reveal the exact number of people concerned.

Read also Faced with spike in Covid-19 cases, Uganda adopts tough measures

The health ministry, which attributes the fraud to hackers who allegedly entered the central system for monitoring test results, is quick to point out that the quality of the tests carried out by Ugandan laboratories and their results are not in question. In front of the press, Wednesday, the spokesperson for the ministry, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, announced the opening of an investigation and denounced “Unscrupulous individuals”, pointing to the responsibility of companies that employ foreign labor. The government has decided to retest anyone entering its territory.

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