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‘Nigeria isn’t ready to deal with rising cases’

‘Nigeria isn’t ready to deal with rising cases’

WITH rising cases of the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Nigeria, there is heightened concern about how well the country is prepared to deal with them. The Conversation Africa’s Wale Fatade asked public health expert Doyin Odubanjo what Nigeria should do. DOYIN ODUBANJO, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Academy of Science What makes the Delta variant different from other COVID-19 variants? The variant has now become the main one of concern globally and is believed to be the cause of the recent surge in cases seen in Asia and Africa. It is also believed to be behind the rise in…
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Delta variant rampant in Asia; Tokyo, Thailand, Malaysia post record COVID infections

Delta variant rampant in Asia; Tokyo, Thailand, Malaysia post record COVID infections

THE Olympics host city Tokyo, as well as Thailand and Malaysia, has announced record COVID-19 infections, mostly driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant of the disease. Cases surged in Sydney as well, where police cordoned off the central business district to prevent a protest against a strict lockdown that will last until the end of August. Police in Sydney closed train stations, banned taxis from dropping passengers off downtown and deployed 1,000 officers to set up checkpoints and to disperse groups. The government of New South Wales reported 210 new infections in Sydney and surrounding areas from the Delta…
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Delta variant spreads ‘like wildfire’

Delta variant spreads ‘like wildfire’

DEENA BEASLEY WITH a new wave of COVID-19 infections fueled by the Delta variant striking countries worldwide, disease experts are scrambling to learn whether the latest version of coronavirus is making people - mainly the unvaccinated - sicker than before. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Delta, first identified in India and now dominant worldwide, is "likely more severe" than earlier versions of the virus, according to an internal report made public on Friday. The agency cited research in Canada, Singapore and Scotland showing that people infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be…
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Uganda loosens anti-coronavirus restrictions as pandemic ebbs

Uganda loosens anti-coronavirus restrictions as pandemic ebbs

UGANDA’S President Yoweri Museveni has eased anti-coronavirus restrictions, including allowing resumption of education for universities and other post-secondary institutions, citing a decline in infections in the country. The east African country started experiencing a second wave of the pandemic around May, shortly after authorities announced detection of the highly transmissible Delta variant. In response Museveni put the country of 45 million under a sweeping lockdown that included shuttering of nearly all businesses, closure of schools and halting of traffic. Some of the restrictions were lifted at the end of July after cases started to drop. In a televised speech late…
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‘Give vaccines to Africa, ditch unproven third shot’

‘Give vaccines to Africa, ditch unproven third shot’

TIM COCKS RICH nations would do better to send vaccines to Africa to help fight the global COVID-19 pandemic rather than hoarding them for third-dose booster shots that scientific evidence does not back, the African Union's (AU) top health official said on Thursday. Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) director John Nkengasong told a news conference he was baffled some rich countries were disregarding World Health Organization (WHO) advice to hold off from booster shots until more people were fully vaccinated worldwide. "The problem we have with the third doses is: we have not seen enough science…
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COVID-19 herd immunity? It’s not going to happen, so what next?

COVID-19 herd immunity? It’s not going to happen, so what next?

ANY notion that COVID-19 was going to last for just a few months was very much misplaced in 2020. Especially after it was recognised that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was largely spread through the airborne route, all indications were that it would cause repeat bouts of waves. This is what happened in the flu epidemic of 1918. SHABIR A. MADHI, Dean Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Vaccinology at University of the Witwatersrand; and Director of the SAMRC Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand In addition, very few scientists predicted that we would see the…
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Hard-won gains at risk as Delta variant spreads- WHO

Hard-won gains at risk as Delta variant spreads- WHO

STEPHANIE NEBEHAY and MICHAEL SHIELDS THE world is at risk of losing hard-won gains in fighting COVID-19 as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads, but WHO-approved vaccines remain effective, the World Health Organization has warned. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described the Delta variant of the coronavirus as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease, the Washington Post said, citing an internal CDC document. COVID-19 infections have increased by 80% over the past four weeks in most regions of the world, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Deaths in Africa…
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‘War has changed’, CDC says, calling for new response to Delta variant

‘War has changed’, CDC says, calling for new response to Delta variant

THE "war has changed" against COVID-19 because of the highly contagious Delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, proposing a clearer message, mandatory vaccines for health workers and a return to universal masking. An internal CDC document said the variant, first detected in India and now dominant across the globe, is as contagious as chickenpox and far more contagious than the common cold or flu. It can be passed on even by vaccinated people and may cause more serious diseases than earlier coronavirus strains. The document, entitled "Improving communications around vaccine breakthrough and vaccine effectiveness", said the…
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Uganda splashes on cars for MPs

Uganda splashes on cars for MPs

UGANDA has spent over $30.2 million on buying new vehicles for lawmakers, a move that has been slammed by critics who depict it as profligacy in a country struggling to buy vaccines to stem a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliament released the money to members to buy new vehicles this week and each lawmaker was given 200 million shillings ($56,500), parliament's spokesperson, Chris Obore told Reuters. Uganda has 529 members of parliament (MPs). "MPs must do work, transport is part of the facilitation for them to do their work. They need to check on their constituencies, if they…
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A COVID-19 Africa snapshot

A COVID-19 Africa snapshot

A “third wave” of COVID-19 cases is filling hospital beds, exhausting oxygen stocks, and testing already overloaded health staff in the hardest-hit African countries. Continent-wide, recorded infections are at over six million, with more than 153,000 official deaths. The highly transmissible Delta variant is now prevalent in 16 countries and is surging through unvaccinated populations. “The worst is yet to come,” Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, has warned. “The end to this precipitous rise is still weeks away.” The continent’s vaccine rollout is crawling, slowed in part by a critical shortage of doses. Countries are reliant on bilateral deals and…
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