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Alarm rises in Africa as India watches COVID-19 crisis

Nairobi, Kenya (AP) – Africa is ‘looking with utter disbelief’ as India struggles with a devastating resurgence of COVID-19 cases, a continental public health official said on Thursday as African officials worried about restlessness due to restlessness. ,

The African continent, with a population about the same size as India’s fragile health systems, “must be very, very prepared” because a similar scenario could happen here, Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters.

“What is happening in India, our continent can not ignore,” he said, urging African countries to avoid mass rallies, including political rallies. “We do not have enough medical staff, we do not have oxygen,” he warned.

The supply of vaccines in Africa is heavily dependent on India, whose Serum Institute is the source of the AstraZeneca vaccine, distributed by the global COVAX program to receive doses in low- and middle-income countries. “India’s ban on vaccine exports” has had a profound effect on the predictability of the spread of vaccine programs; it will continue to do so in the coming weeks, perhaps months, “Nkengasong said.

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“We live in a world that is now very uncertain,” he added.

According to the African CDC, doses of 17 million vaccines have been administered across the African continent to an estimated 1.3 billion people.

In a separate briefing, the head of the World Health Organization in Africa told reporters that it was “very sad” to see the situation in India. “We are very concerned about the delay in the availability of vaccines,” added Matsidiso Moeti.

WHO partner Fiona Atuhebe said the delay was “devastating for everyone” and that many African countries that received the first doses of the vaccine via COVAX would reach a “supply gap” while waiting for the second doses in May. or in June.

“We urge countries with additional doses to do their part,” Atuhebu said, adding that the WHO is reviewing Chinese-made Sinopharm Sin Sinovac vaccines this week.

One of the unexpected donors of the COVID-19 vaccine is Congo, which, according to Nkengasong, wants to return about 1.3 million doses to be distributed to other African countries because it has not been able to do so at home.

Nkengasong says there is “a great deal of vaccine hesitation” in the vast country. He did not immediately know how many people received the doses there.

According to him, there is a five-week schedule for managing doses elsewhere, և Congo is working with COVAX to deliver them. He hoped the doses could reach other people quickly when he called it “an extremely critical time”.

Nkengasong did not know about other African countries that they could not use their doses, but he urged them not to wait until the last minute to return them. “Other countries in Europe, North America and Asia” may have the luxury of vaccines, “he said,” but we have no choice. “

Moeti praised the WHO for its decision, calling it “extremely reasonable for the government to make this assessment” in a country with healthcare gaps.

He warned that African countries should step up their public health measures to help avoid the Indian scenario here. The level of coronavirus testing has fallen in “several countries,” he said, noting that they had seen data from an African country in which the proportion of people without a face mask increased by almost 80%.

Across the African continent, only 43 million tests have been performed to detect the virus since the epidemic began, said the head of the African CDC, with a 26% drop in new research over the past week.

Nkengasong warned against travel bans, however, after Kenya announced this week that it would suspend all flights to India for two weeks from midnight on Saturday until cargo flights resumed.

“It’s really unfortunate that we are reacting so temporarily in terms of flight movements,” he said, emphasizing the power of true negative PCR tests. “It’s not people who are threatened, it’s the virus.”



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