Africa is approaching 10 million coronavirus infections as the pandemic goes into its fifth wave in certain countries on the continent.
John Nkengasong of the African Union’s health body said on Thursday.
“We might be tired of the virus, but the virus is not tired,” the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The new Omicron variant had been reported in 33 African countries, he said, with 42 countries experiencing a fourth wave of the pandemic and five countries a fifth wave.
Nkengasong said it was entirely possible that new variants could arise. “Fears of more variants this year? Absolutely yes. They have to mutate to survive,” he said.
He praised South Africa for its consistent data on Omicron and for sharing information in a timely fashion, and he described the recent decline in cases there as a very good sign.
“We see a steady decrease in the number of Omicron cases. We have seen a steep increase and also a sharp decrease in cases. That is very good news.
“I think South Africa has shown us the way on how to deal with rising infections and not necessarily put in place a severe lockdown, which can create a lot of harm to the economy.
“The period where we were using severe lockdown as a tool is over. We need a balanced way,” Nkengasong said. (DPA)