What Awaits Africa in its Inefficient Fight with Coronavirus

What Awaits Africa in its Inefficient Fight with Coronavirus

Egypt's fight against the second wave began by the end of October at the latest. Thousands had already died of Covid-19, and many suspected cases could not be clarified beyond doubt because too little testing has been carried out in the country to this day. The Foreign Office warns travelers of "a high number of unreported cases" and "unchanged high numbers of infections".

For President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi not only reason enough to swear the people to stricter measures, but also to have doctors arrested and charged with terrorism because they complained about a lack of PCR tests. It seemed almost cynical when al-Sisi said people shouldn't panic: "The real vaccine is awareness in dealing with the epidemic."

At least some Egyptians do not have to be satisfied with this: According to the state newspaper Al-Ahram, 100,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine are to be delivered by the end of December. Compared to other countries on the African continent, that is early. Many people there fear that they will miss out in the global struggle for distribution. It is "terrible to see" rich countries getting vaccines while African countries are having to go without them, said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), an African Union organization.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had already pointed out this problem in the summer, saying that there are "worrying signs" that African states will be the "last in line" of countries waiting for a vaccine.

In war and conflict areas, 60 million people could not be vaccinated at all

Most sub-Saharan countries navigated the pandemic more successfully than many European or American ones. But a second wave has apparently also started in Africa. According to a Reuters count a week ago, more than 2.5 million people had been infected with the corona virus by then. 454,000 infections were added within 30 days.

Especially in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Mauritania, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast, the number of cases has recently increased significantly. South Africa, where there is a new variant of the virus, reported the highest number of new infections on Christmas days, almost 15,000 were last added during the day, more than 983,000 cases are registered in total.

As in South Africa, a new variant of the virus is also circulating in Nigeria, where 20 doctors died of Covid-19 within a week. The Africa CDC had warned of an increase in the number of infections at the beginning of winter because some countries had partially eased curfew or school closings.