The rate of coronavirus cases is rising in many parts of Africa, where governments face alarming shortages of funds and vaccines.
The global drop in infection rates "masks a worrying increase in cases and deaths in many countries," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) told journalists this week. "The steep increase in Africa is especially concerning because it is the region with the least access to vaccines, diagnostics and oxygen," he said.
Conflicts in Ethiopia, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are exacerbating the situation. In Uganda, in East Africa, the number of new daily cases has shot up in the past month and had reached 1,400 by June 15, according to Our World in Data.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced a strict lockdown on June 6. Under the measures, all schools and institutions of higher learning were immediately closed for 42 days and all teachers must get fully vaccinated before they are allowed to return to work. Communal prayers in churches and mosques are also suspended for 42 days, as is public transport such as buses, taxis and boda boda motorcycle and bicycle service between and across districts.
In the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi warned of a "fatal third wave" and told people to be cautious, limiting gatherings to 20 people and shutting down nightclubs. According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), more than 35,000 COVID-19 cases have been registered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so far and 845 people have died. However, the numbers are rising at an alarming pace. "The situation is serious, our hospitals are overcrowded," the president said, according to media reports.
The beginning of winter has increased the risk of infection in South Africa, where the number of cases has doubled in a short time, according to the WHO. On June 15, the country's Health Ministry reported more than 8,400 new cases. There have been over 58,000 deaths so far.
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