Africa's COVID-19 cases near 8.7 million mark

A Kenyan man receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Makongeni Estate in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (File photo: CFP)

The number of COVID-19 infections in Africa has closed in on the 8.7 million mark as the continent battles the new Omicron variant.

According to data published by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Sunday afternoon, Africa had recorded a total of 8,698,852 cases with 223,762 deaths.

South Africa remains to be the hardest-hit country by the pandemic on the continent, having registered 3,020,569 cases with 89,965 fatalities.

The country accounts for 34.72 per cent of the continent's cases and 40.21 per cent of its deaths.

Seven of the country's nine provinces have already reported cases of the Omicron variant.

South Africa's total number of reported cases dwarfs tallies announced by other African countries.

Only two have recorded more than half a million cases; Morocco (950,501) and Tunisia (718,278).

The continent has embarked on a vaccination drive in efforts to contain further spread of the virus.

Despite lagging behind other regions in vaccination numbers, African countries hope the arrival of more doses will enable more people to be inoculated in due course.