Eleven countries in Africa are currently facing a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44 other countries are in the midst of a third wave, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The fourth wave of the pandemic is currently gripping countries including Algeria, Egypt, Kenya and Tunisia, Africa CDC head John Nkengasong said on Thursday.
"This is significant," Nkengasong said. "An additional five countries are being added among the member states that have been infected by the fourth virus wave. Mauritius is actually experiencing a fifth wave.".
Africa has so far recorded more than 8.6 million COVID-19 cases, which caused over 222,000 deaths, the director said. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Ethiopia account for over 60 percent of the continent's caseload.
The continent has seen an average 6 percent decrease in new COVID-19 cases over the past four weeks, including an 8 percent increase in southern Africa, an 8 percent drop in eastern Africa, a 7 percent decline in western Africa and a 2 percent decrease in northern Africa, the director said.
Nkengasong said 403 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been secured by the 54 African Union (AU) member states and 221 million of them have been administered.
A total of 6.6 percent of the continent's population have been fully vaccinated, Nkengasong said. He added that "more vaccines are coming in but the uptakes remain challenging due to logistical problems."
Nkengasong warned that low vaccination rates could lead to increasing infections and possible deaths.
The director added that Morocco leads in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 61 percent of its population fully inoculated. Tunisia and Egypt follow with each vaccinating 33 and 12 percent of their total population.
Just five African countries — Seychelles, Mauritius, Tunisia, Cape Verde and Morocco — are projected to hit WHO's year-end target of a 40 percent vacation rate.