Somalia’s health minister said on Wednesday she is “extremely alarmed” by the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.
At least 10 patients died between Feb. 4 and Feb. 9, the sharpest spike in fatalities seen since late August, while three more were admitted to intensive care units, Fawziya Abikar Nur told local news outlet Hiiraan Online.
She said 51 of 592 people tested in the southeastern Banadir region, which includes the capital Mogadishu, on Tuesday were found to be infected.
According to official data, Somalia’s COVID-19 tally is currently at 4,935, including 139 deaths and 1,076 active cases.
The minister said the country was still safe from the new virus variants found in several parts of the world.
“The UK variant has not yet been detected in Somalia, despite the UK being home to one of the largest Somali diaspora communities worldwide,” Nur said.
She said the government wants to start vaccinations at the earliest and is “eagerly” waiting for the delivery of 1.2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this month from the World Health Organization.
Somalia is working to secure an additional 3 million doses from alternative sources, the health minister added.