YAOUNDE, Cameroon 

Coronavirus cases in Africa are rising rapidly, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus is becoming more widespread.

“Almost 202,000 cases were reported in the past week and the continent is on the verge of exceeding its worst week ever in this pandemic,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said at a news conference on Thursday.

“The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before,” Moeti said.

“With the rampant spread of more contagious variants, the threat to Africa rises to a whole new level. Among the 14 African countries now in resurgence, 12 have detected variants of concern, including nine with the Delta variant, ” she added.

The WHO official said the Delta variant may be up to 60% more transmissible than other variants.

“We are seeing globally that vaccination offers a clear path towards ending devastating surges of severe cases. Yet just over 1% of Africans are now fully vaccinated, compared to 11% of people globally, and over 46% of people in UK and US, ” Moeti said.

“Every person plays a role in stopping COVID-19 transmission – by getting vaccinated as soon as you can, wearing a mask, physical distancing, and frequently washing your hands. These basic prevention measures are still the key to ending this pandemic,” she added.

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