The dreaded COVID-19 Omicron variant is spreading rapidly across Africa, according to data from the African Union.
The AU’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday revealed that the COVID-19 omicron variant has already been reported in 22 countries on the continent.
John Nkengasong of the AU’s CDC said, “As of Thursday, 22 countries have reported the presence of the Omicron variant. We can see clearly: the Omicron is spreading very quickly.”
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Across Africa, 253,000 new COVID-19 infections were recorded last week, a 21 per cent increase on the previous week. With South Africa accounting for the majority, with 141,000 cases.
Nkengasong said there were grounds for optimism, pointing to initial findings from South Africa that Omicron variant posed up to 80 per cent less risk of severe disease compared to the Delta variant.
According to the CDC, around 9.2 million COVID-19 cases have been documented in Africa to date, of which more than 226,530 were fatal.
Meanwhile, experts fear that many infections were not being picked up in the continent of 1.3 billion people.