The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that weekly deaths from COVID-19 in Africa reached a record peak in the week that ended on August 1.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, disclosed this in a briefing to correspondents at the UN headquarters, in New York, on COVID-19 situation in Africa.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Mr Dujarric as saying that more than 6,400 deaths were recorded in the week, marking the highest seven-day toll since the onset of the pandemic on the continent.
“South Africa and Tunisia accounted for more than 55 per cent of the fatalities.
“WHO said that the latest data shows that Africa is still on the crest of the third wave, though vaccine shipments to Africa are ramping up, with nearly 12 million doses having arrived through COVAX in July,’’ he said.
According to him, the continent had so far received 91 million doses, with some 24 million people, just 1.7 per cent of Africa’s population – fully vaccinated.
“Africa needs up to 183 million more doses to fully vaccinate 10 per cent of its population by the end of September.
“It needs up to 729 million more doses to meet the end of year goal of fully vaccinating 30 per cent of Africa’s population.’’
Briefing on Ethiopia, Mr Dujarric said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had confirmed the arrival of humanitarian supplies in Tigray, on Wednesday.
He said 175 trucks with humanitarian supplies, including food, non-food items and fuel had arrived in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray.
“These include 50 trucks that crossed into Tigray over the past month with the remaining trucks crossing only in recent days.
“These are among at least 223 trucks with humanitarian supplies for the UN and international NGOs that left Semera, the capital of the Afar Region, toward Mekelle.
“Most of the remaining trucks are being scanned at a checkpoint and a few trucks are in Abala, the last entry point into Tigray. Two trucks were reportedly blocked by civilians and looted at a checkpoint in Afar, 97 km from Semera, on 28 July,’’ the official said.
He quoted OCHA as stressing that while this recent entry of supplies was a positive step, it was still insufficient, with an estimated 100 trucks needed every day to assist 5.2 million people in need.