COVID-19 taking its toll in South Africa

South Africa is experiencing a major surge in COVID-19 cases following the end-of-year holidays and remains the hardest-hit across the African continent, while Ethiopia's infection numbers are rising, exacerbated by conflict and humanitarian crises in Tigray, Amhara and Afar (which also report malaria, dysentery and typhoid). Ethiopia now ranks second for cumulative cases in Africa. In the Jan 10 WHO regional bulletin, South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria, Nigeria and Kenya ‘account for 82% of total cases and 83% of total deaths’. Overall however, Africa has fared better than most other WHO regions, reporting 2.5 percent of both global cases and deaths to date. More in the Jan 12 WHO epi update with the latest on emerging variants, including the SARS-CoV-2 variant within lineage B.1.1.28 detected in four travellers arriving in Japan from Brazil. Read More

In related news:

-A STAT News article looks at the results of a non-peer reviewed study into the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on the N501Y mutation found in recent SARS-CoV-2 variants. 

-The European Medicines Agency believes it may be able to complete its review of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca by Jan 29. Read more

-Our World in Data uses diverse resources to monitor the progress of country-by-country COVID-19 vaccination programmes, with many of the countries most affected by the pandemic already vaccinating their population.

-England and Scotland have updated their conditions for international arrivals. From 04:00 on Jan 15, boat, plane and train passengers (including UK nationals) must ‘present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure’. Those people arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list are still required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of test results and all passengers must also complete a passenger locator form and ‘be subject to national lockdown restrictions’.

Affected Regions

South America