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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

The delta variant is causing huge problems for Africa

The delta variant is spreading across Africa: A spike in covid-19 cases linked to the highly-contagious delta variant across Africa, which is struggling to obtain enough vaccines, is raising fears that the continent could see a repeat of the tragedy that befell India in April and May, the Wall Street Journal reports. At least 20 African countries are grappling with sharp rises in covid-19 infections, with their case tally already surpassing or looking set to top early-pandemic peaks. In the past week alone, infections across the continent have surged 31%.

The delta variant has been detected in at least 13 of Africa’s 54 nations, and is threatening to become the worst episode of the outbreak for the continent. “It is frightening to see what is going on across the continent,” said John Nkengasong, the director of the Africa CDC. “This is the first time that we are beginning to see countries report that their health system…the hospitals are completely overwhelmed.”

South Africa just reentered a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the variant, with the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, warning that the country is in the "grip of a devastating wave," according to Business Insider.

Egypt is yet to see a swell of cases linked to the delta variant, and is continuing to see its infection rate decline. The Health Ministry reported 376 new covid-19 infections yesterday — the lowest daily tally since November — down from 389 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 280,770 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 33 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,125.

Our covid resilience rating as ranked by Bloomberg has increased slightly: We’re now ranked #33 in the world, up from #38 at the end of April.

Saudi Arabia will start administering the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine to teenagers aged 12 to 18, the Saudi Health Ministry said on Twitter on Sunday. Saudi Arabia has so far administered 17.2 mn doses covering around 70% of the adult population, and last week began handing out the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people over 50.

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