Pandemic surges in Africa

Satellite imagery of Africa. Credit: Public Domain

Coronavirus cases continued to soar in Africa for a fifth week in a row, bucking an improvement in most of the rest of the world which started in early May.

Here is the global state of play according to a specialised AFP database.

Five percent drop

The number of new daily COVID-19 cases globally dropped by five percent to 372,200, according to an AFP toll Thursday.

The coronavirus started its deceleration six weeks ago, after reaching a record level of 816,800 new cases a day in late April.

The number of confirmed cases only reflects a fraction of the actual number of infections, with different countries also having varying counting practices and levels of testing.

Africa stands out

Africa stood out from the rest of the world, with an increase of 39 percent in new daily cases.

On a country basis, three of the five biggest increases around the world occurred on the continent, with Namibia recording 99 percent more, before Zambia (92 percent more), Mongolia (68 percent more), South Africa (plus 53 percent) and Bangladesh (plus 44 percent).

Asian improvement

The pandemic also picked up speed with nine percent more cases in the Middle East and six percent more in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It slowed in Asia by 21 percent, in the United States and Canada by 20 percent, in Oceania by four percent and in Europe by one percent.

While the situation on the European continent is stable, it is home to four of the five biggest decreases of the of the week: the Netherlands (52 percent less cases), Belgium (minus 45 percent), France (minus 43 percent), Nepal (minus 42 percent) and Germany (minus 41 percent).

India has most cases

Although the number of new cases dropped by 30 percent, India continued to bear the brunt of the pandemic, with 73,900 new daily cases, trailed by Brazil with 70,200, an increase of 21 percent.

On a per capita basis, the Seychelles again saw by far the biggest number of new cases, with 1,685 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The grim figures come despite the archipelago being one of the most advanced countries in its vaccination drive, with more than 65 percent of its people having been completely vaccinated, usually with either the AstraZeneca or Sinopharm jabs.

India, Brazil mourn most deaths

India and Brazil also mourned the most deaths over the past week, with 3,175 and 1,998 per day respectively.

Globally the number of deaths remained stable at 10,108 per day.

Vaccination race

Europe led the vaccination race this week, home to 15 out of the 20 quickest countries.

Iceland gave doses to 2.19 percent of its population every day, ahead of Malta (1.46 percent) and the Netherlands (1.39 percent).

Although they are vaccinating less quickly, the United Arab Emirates (with 143 doses administered for 100 habitants), Israel (123), Chile (109), the United Kingdom (107) and the United States (95) are among the countries with the most advanced vaccination drives.

© 2021 AFP

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