Africa CDC calls for more testing amid resurgence of COVID-19

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The director of Africa’s main public health institute Thursday called on mainland authorities to increase COVID-19 testing amid an alarming increase in infections in some countries.

Across the continent of 1.3 billion people, new cases have risen 37% over the past week, said Ahmed Ogwill, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the past four weeks, he added, new positives have increased by 11%.

“COVID is still very much with us, and in fact, when we look at the numbers, we see that there are some Member States that are entering a new wave and we are watching them very closely,” he said. Next week we will be able to report if the new waves are maintained or if they are quickly controlled.”

Although he did not name the countries where positives rose, South Africa is one of them. The continent’s most developed economy has also been hardest hit by the pandemic, the source of most confirmed cases and deaths.

COVID-19 has infected 12.1 million people in 54 countries, 2% of the global total, and at least 256,000 people have died, according to CDC data.

The vaccination rate in the region remains low mainly due to limited supplies and the reluctance of some. Only 25% of the African population undergoes the full treatment regimen and less than 3% receive a booster dose.

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