COVID-19 deaths in Africa cross 200,000 mark

2021-09-08 18:29:37

Over 200,000 people have died from COVID-19 across Africa since the start of the pandemic, according to officials records as of Tuesday evening.

The 54 African countries still have lower official fatalities compared to other parts of the world but there is concern that many COVID-19 related deaths are not reported.

The figures are based on tolls communicated daily day by health authorities in each country or by the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) and include the countries of North Africa.

The total number of infections is also likely to be an under-estimate, given insufficient testing capacity in Africa.

"It's probably a lot higher than that," said researcher Glenda Davidson of South Africa's Cape Peninsula University of Technology. "Testing resources are very low on the continent."

Death registration processes were often delayed and inaccurate, she added.

The current drop in the continent's tally is a result of declining numbers in countries with the highest number of deaths.

The current death toll in South Africa stands at 83,899. Last week the daily average was 7,400 for new cases and deaths 234 which is significantly lower than in late July, when the daily average was as many as 20,000 new cases and 420 deaths.

The global coronavirus caseload has topped 221.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.58 million and vaccinations soared to over 5.52 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 40,279,567 and 650,511 respectively.

Meanwhile, Africa still has the lowest vaccination rate globally, with only eight jabs administered per 100 inhabitants, compared with 102 in Europe and 116 in the United States and Canada.

According to the WHO, only three percent of sub-Saharan Africa's population are fully vaccinated. By comparison, 52 percent of people are fully vaccinated in the United States of America and 57 percent in the European Union.

"The inequity is deeply disturbing. Just two percent of the over five billion doses given globally have been administered in Africa," WHO Africa chief Dr Matshidiso Moeti said last week.

Last week, the WHO said 42 of the continent's 54 nations were expected to miss their vaccination targets.

"Vaccine hoarding has held Africa back and we urgently need more vaccines," said Moeti.

According to some estimates, wealthy countries could potentially have a surplus of more than one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses available by the end of the year that are not designated as donations to poorer nations.

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