Omicron variant officially confirmed in 4 African countries
Africa Centers for Disease Control lauds South Africa for transparency in tracing, announcing new coronavirus variant
The omicron variant of coronavirus has now been officially confirmed in the four African countries of South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, and Ghana, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said Thursday.
During a weekly press briefing, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong lauded the government of South Africa and the country’s scientific community for their tracing prowess and transparency in exposing the new variant.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the latest round of COVID-19-related travel bans is akin to punishing the country for its advanced genomic sequencing and ability to detect new variants quicker.
Following the announcement by South Africa of the new variant, the European Union and the US banned travel from seven countries from the Southern Africa region. Several other countries have followed suit.
The head of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have also expressed their dismay on the flight bans.
According to the African health agency, just 7% of the African population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
It said 235.8 million doses of vaccines have been supplied, out of which 56%, or 117.5 million doses, have been administered.
The best performer in Africa in terms of inoculation is Morocco, a North African nation that covered 92.38% of its population, with Egypt following as a distant second with 40.78% of its population covered.