Outbreaks from animals in Africa surge by 60% in last decade
The World Health Organization says that the number of outbreaks of diseases that jumped from animals to humans in Africa has increased by more than 60% in the last decade, a worrying sign the planet could face increased animal-borne diseases like monkeypox, Ebola and coronavirus in the future.
World faces shortage of syringes as COVID vaccine doses rise
African health officials and the United Nations are warning of a looming shortage of up to 2 billion syringes for mainly low- and middle-income countries around the world as the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses rises, and routine vaccinations could be affected, too.
Africa welcomes COVAX doses but warns against ‘selfishness’
“It’s a concern, and everyone is talking about it.”The East African nation of 45 million people was receiving under 1 million vaccine doses — 864,000. It’s the first batch of a total of 18 million COVAX doses for Uganda, but when all will arrive is not known. While the COVAX initiative was created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive COVID-19 vaccines, it has faced delays and limited supply. And Nigeria began its vaccination campaign after Africa’s most populous country received almost 4 million doses. AdThe COVAX delays have pushed other African countries to seek more doses elsewhere, including via bilateral deals that can be unfavorable.
WHO says more than 11,000 Ebola vaccines will go to Guinea
WHO regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said Thursday that 11,000 Ebola vaccines are being prepared in Geneva and are expected to arrive in Guinea over the weekend. The WHO has called on six African countries to be on high alert for Ebola infections after both Guinea and Congo recorded cases in recent weeks. As of Thursday, Guinea has recorded three confirmed Ebola cases, including one death, according to WHO. Health officials hope to stem the spread of Ebola in West Africa, which experienced the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history from 2014 to 2016 that killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Tests have since shown he was negative for Ebola, according to Ministry of Health and Sanitation spokesman Harold Thomas.
African nations still encouraged to use AstraZeneca vaccine
African countries without the coronavirus variant dominant in South Africa should go ahead and use the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, while the World Health Organization suggested the vaccine even for countries with the variant circulating widely. No other has expressed concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine. The African continent has seen an average 18% decrease in new virus cases over the past four weeks, which Nkengasong called encouraging. The African continent on Sunday will mark one year since the first virus case was confirmed there, in Egypt. “We cannot afford today to have the same pace and time for access to (COVID-19) vaccines,” he said.
Congo working to stop new Ebola outbreak in country's east
FILE - In this Saturday, July 13, 2019 file photo, a child is vaccinated against Ebola in Beni, Congo. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)BENI – Health officials in Congo confirmed another Ebola outbreak in the country’s east on Sunday, the fourth in less than three years. On February 3, a woman died in Butembo town in North Kivu province, Minister of Health Eteni Longondo announced. AdHealth officials worry a new Ebola outbreak could badly affect the nation’s fragile health system, especially as it faces a resurgence of COVID-19. The Ebola virus is highly contagious and can be contracted through bodily fluids such as vomit, blood, or semen.
Increased testing needed as Africa sees rise in virus cases
FILE In this Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020 file photo, a long-distance traveller undergoes a COVID-19 test at a mobile clinic at a taxi rank at Johannesburg's main railway station. The level of testing across Africa is considerably less than what health experts say is needed to effectively control the spread of the disease. Just 10 countries — South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Cameroon — are carrying out more than 70% of the continent’s testing. Increased testing is needed to help Africa locate where cases are rising and where additional medical responses are needed. In efforts to track the level of infections in communities, countries such as South Africa and Ghana are testing for the prevalence of COVID-19 in sewage water.
The Latest: UN chief urges G20 to unite on coronavirus fight
The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will provide more medical personnel and equipment this week. The move comes during the same week that El Paso County reported 3,750 new coronavirus infections, including 1,161 on Thursday. The announcement came Thursday as the state reported 932 newly confirmed coronavirus cases. Wednesday marked another record day for daily confirmed cases, with 827, and state health officials reported an additional 669 cases Thursday. Florida reported more than 5,500 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising the seven-day average in daily reported cases to about 3,300.
WHO, UNICEF urge African countries to reopen schools safely
(AP Photo/Denis Farrell, file)JOHANNESBURG African governments should accelerate the reopening of schools, the World Health Organization has urged, saying that the continent's youths will suffer from prolonged closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only six African countries have fully opened schools, according to a survey of 39 countries by WHO and UNICEF. Many governments closed schools as part of measures to limit the transmission of the coronavirus. Just as countries are opening businesses safely, we can reopen schools, said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. Reopening schools has been particularly challenging in Africa, where millions of children attend crowded classrooms, and schools often lack running water and proper toilets.
African nation blasts 'inequality crisis' in virus testing
The minister said his country of more than 4 million people is still waiting for testing supplies ordered via the WHO. Central African Republic has more than 4,300 confirmed virus cases a small fraction of the more than 644,000 across Africa but the true number is unknown. Confirmed virus cases across Africa have jumped by 23% in the past week, and South Africa makes up nearly half of all cases. In some African countries the more you test the more cases you find, Moeti said, but not always. She noted that had not occurred in Senegal when the country produced its own test kits and significantly expanded testing.
Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases now above a half-million
(AP Photo/Denis Farrell)JOHANNESBURG Africa now has more than a half-million confirmed coronavirus cases. A tremendous problem, a real crisis of access, the World Health Organizations Africa chief, Matshidiso Moeti, said last week. So far most testing has been concentrated in capital cities, but infections in many cases have spread beyond them. This week alone, some anxious health workers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Congo and Sierra Leone have gone on strike or demonstrated for adequate protective gear or better pay. The African continent has just 2.2 health workers and 0.3 doctors per 1,000 people, according to the WHO.
Africa starts opening airspace even as COVID-19 cases climb
Thats even as Africa had more than 463,000 confirmed virus cases as of Sunday and South Africa, its most developed economy, already struggles to care for COVID-19 patients. Senegals president has said international flights will begin on July 15. Kenya Airways wants to resume international flights. And she suggested that when we see a flare-up that is unacceptable in virus cases, the loosening of travel restrictions could be reversed. African nations can seize the moment and do more tourism at home, Amani Abou-Zeid, AU commissioner for infrastructure and energy, told reporters last week.