Of the nearly 1,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Omicron variant, 46% are concentrated in Africa. Even though many southern African countries face severe travel bans from the international community, 60 nations worldwide have detected Omicron among their populations. The most recent African nation to confirm circulation of Omicron is Sierra Leone, joining Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal this week.
Given the outbreak of Omicron and which scientists believe could be up to three-time more infectious than the predominant Delta variant, the arrival of vaccines to Africa has accelerated in recent weeks, despite the fact that the continent continues to lag behind the world with only 7.8% of its total population – some 1.3 billion people – having received the complete COVID-19 scheme. “We have gone from a situation in which we received between two and three million doses a week to a situation in which we are receiving 20 million a week,” stated the WHO’s Richard Mihigo.
Some countries, however, face difficulties absorbing the new doses and rolling out their immunization campaigns, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which recently received close to four million vaccines but has administered fewer than 190,000, reveals data from the Centers for Africa Disease Control and Prevention. “A new system will be put in place in which the country will be asked to report not only its preferred product, but also the amount of vaccines that the country can potentially absorb” said Mihigo. According to WHO, only six of the 54 countries of the continent will reach the goal of vaccinating 40% of their population before the end of this year. Africa has recorded more than 8.8 million COVID-19 cases, and more than 224,000 deaths.
As many countries grapple with record increases in per-day infections, among them the U.K with 58,194 on Friday, the Omicron variant could overwhelm health systems over the next several months, claims experts in several European news outlets. “Unfortunately, most of the projections we have right now are that the Omicron wave could very substantially overwhelm the NHS, getting up to peak levels of admissions of 10,000 people per day,” remarked Prof Neil Ferguson in The Guardian. An estimated 30% of all new cases of coronavirus infection in London is attributed to Omicron. The U.K is maintaining travel restrictions as cases continue to increase.
On Friday, as Italy registered 20,490 additional cases and France 56,854, Colombia’s Ministry of Health confirmed 1,689, and similar number to 1,627 on Thursday. The country’s active cases stand at 12,208. The total number of cases stand at 5.089.695. The country has registered 129.011 deaths from the disease since the outbreak on March 6, 2020. On Saturday, Colombia will reach the milestone of 60 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccines, including single, double and booster shots. More than half of the country’s 51 million population (25,649,090), have completed their vaccinations schemes.
Colombia is listed 14 on the Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking, that every month releases data of where the virus is being handled the most effectively with the least social and economic upheaval. Colombia and Chile (No.2) are the only Latin American nations ranked within the top 20. The US and UK rank 13 and 12, respectively. The top performing nation is U.A.E as daily cases have remained below 100 since mid-October, and one of the most vaccinated places in the world with 200 doses per 100 people.