Deaths from COVID-19 in Africa have surged by 40% in the last month, pushing the continent’s death toll close to 100,000 since the first case reported on Feb. 14, 2020, according to the World Health Organization.
Africa is battling new and more contagious variants and gearing up for its largest-ever vaccination drive, the WHO Africa office said on Thursday.
The UN health agency said 22,300 deaths were reported in Africa in the last 28 days, compared with nearly 16,000 deaths in the previous 28 days.
“The increasing deaths from COVID-19 we are seeing are tragic. Health workers and health systems in Africa are also dangerously overstretched.
This grim milestone must refocus everyone on stamping out the virus,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti.
She also urged people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. “My message is, go out and get vaccinated when a vaccine becomes available in your country,” Moeti said.
“The pandemic is far from over, and vaccines are just one crucial tool in our fight against the virus. We must boost investments and support for our health workers and health systems by sticking to mask-wearing, regular hand cleaning, and safe social distancing,” Moeti added.
According to WHO, over 3.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent, with more than 3.2 million recoveries and 96,000 deaths.