Europe toll 2 million as Africa cases rise

·1-min read

The World Health Organisation says COVID-19 deaths have exceeded the two million mark for countries in the WHO European region while confirmed infection numbers are rising across Africa.

The WHO called the number "devastating" but said the figures - based on the 53 countries of the agency's European region - likely only represents a fraction of the deaths caused directly by COVID-19 and from the indirect effects of the pandemic over two years.

Even though case numbers are declining, they remain far too high, the WHO's regional office in Copenhagen said on Thursday.

The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus "is still a killer virus, especially for the unvaccinated and clinically vulnerable," a statement said.

The WHO European Region spans from Greenland to Russia's Pacific shores, and includes Central Asia along with countries such as Turkey and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said in Addis Ababa that several African countries are registering a rise in infections.

John Nkengasong pointed to a 57 per cent rise in case numbers in South Africa over the past four weeks.

He put the average rise over the same period for the continent as a whole at 25 per cent.

Africa CDC has recorded 11.5 million infections in African countries since the start of the pandemic and has linked 252,000 deaths to COVID-19.

About 106 million coronavirus tests have been taken in Africa to date, a tiny fraction of its 1.4 billion population.

According to Africa CDC figures, 17.3 per cent of the continent's population has been fully vaccinated.

Rates of above 35 per cent have been recorded in Rwanda, Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe and Cape Verde.

with reporting from Reuters

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