COVID-19 deaths in Africa jump 42% in a week

Infections rose 34% too; Southern Africa remains hotspot

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Wednesday 30 June 2021
COVID-19 deaths in Africa jumps 42% in a week

Africa recorded over 42 per cent increase in deaths due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) last week, even as global toll decreased 10 per cent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The region reported over 2,700 new COVID-19 deaths last week. The actual toll is three times more, estimated the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research centre based in the United States.

In contrast, the global weekly mortality figure was the lowest last week since early November 2020.

There has also been a sharp increase in the weekly case growth in the African countries since May 15, 2021, according to WHO. The number of cases added in the week ending June 30, 2021 was double that added in the week beginning May 30, 2021.

The continent recorded 177,000 new cases of COVID-19 — a 34 per cent weekly rise — the same week the deaths surged.  

The region will surpass the peak of second wave by July at this rate. The surge will also affect the global progress made so far in containing the pandemic apart

Rise in COVID-19 cases

Rise in COVID-19 deaths


Source: WHO, June 30, 2021


Southern Africa remains hotspot

Southern African accounted for 72 per cent of Africa’s overall COVID-19 deaths. Over 76 per cent of the continent’s infections have been reported from this region.

The number of deaths per week in South Africa, especially, has been rising consistently since June 7, 2021, according to WHO. The country registered 36 per cent more deaths last week than the one before.

With over 60,000 deaths due to the infection, it accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the entire continent’s toll. This increase is driven by the Delta variant, according to WHO.

The situation in South Africa

Source: WHO, June 30, 2021

South Africa, which has recorded over 103,600 infections, saw a 47 per cent rise in new cases this week.

Deaths doubled in Nambia

The COVID-19 crisis is also worrying in Namibia. The country added 12,944 COVID-19 cases last week — a 71 per cent weekly growth.  

Africa’s third COVID-19 wave may be its worst, WHO warned last week. 

The spread of new coronavirus variants, including the delta variant, is behind the surge, according to WHO. The delta variant has been detected in at least 15 countries in Africa.

Share of population fully vaccinated 

Source: Our World in Data, June 30, 2021

The United Nations health agency raised concerns over lack of testing facilities in the continent to detect emerging variants.

Africa’s vaccination status is also of concern: The continent accounted for only 1.13 per cent of the shots administered globally.

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