YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The coronavirus pandemic in the African region has shown a downwards trend over the past week, the World Health Organization Africa office said, but urged caution. 

The African region registered 44,702 new cases, a 13.3% decrease compared to the previous week, the regional office of the UN health body said in its weekly bulletin for March 8-14.

“The current decline in new cases is occurring in a context of COVID-19 response fatigue with reduced adherence to preventive measure seen in many countries,” the WHO said, adding that, the trend should be interpreted with caution.

On the continent, 31 countries reported drop in the daily coronavirus cases, while 15 others recorded rise in infections.

Ethiopia registered 9,329 infections for the highest number of cases, and surpassed South Africa, which previously recorded the highest weekly number of new cases for several months.

“The African region continues to experience established community transmission of COVID-19 across the region, much of it uncontrolled and high. Numbers of health worker infections are still a concern, as is the relatively high case fatality ratio, even with deaths declining overall,” the statement said.

The genomic surveillance is being used in Africa to monitor the presence of the new variants in the region, the global health body said. “However, data is currently limited and the extent to which new variants are circulating in the region is still unknown.”

The WHO also said the African region should continue to enforce all public health and social measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, particularly since vaccine rollout is likely to be slower compared to that in the developed countries.

There are over four million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent, with more than 3.6 million recoveries and 108,000 deaths.

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