The World Health Organization said Africa is facing a third wave of COVID-19.
WHO said cases have risen for five consecutive weeks, with 474,000 new cases since June 20. The increase indicates a more rapid spread than the continent’s second wave, which started at the beginning of the year, the organization said.
WHO blames “weak observance of public health measures, increased social interaction and movement, as well as the spread of variants” for the new wave. The so-called delta variant, first detected in India, has been reported in 14 countries, WHO said.
A lack of vaccines is also driving the wave. WHO said 18 countries have already exhausted nearly 80% of their supplies, while eight have completely run out.
Only 1% of the African population has been fully vaccinated, WHO said.
“The third wave has come with severity that most countries were not prepared for. So, the third wave is extremely brutal,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said during a weekly online briefing, according to Reuters.
He reiterated the need for rapid access to more vaccines.
This report includes information from Reuters.