Over the past few weeks, authorities in southern Africa have systematically reintroduced lockdown measures amid the second wave of Covid-19. This is after a worrying resurgence of cases in several countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Infections and deaths have skyrocketed in a region where authorities thought they had escaped lightly from the world’s worst outbreaks. Worryingly, the numbers of infections and fatalities seem to be worse than the first wave.
This comes as no surprise.
In October 2020, health experts warned that the continent would likely see a resurgence of the disease. By 31 October, the number of confirmed cases in Africa had reached nearly 1.8 million, with 42,000 deaths. The continent was urged by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to brace itself. John Nkengasong, head of Africa CDC told authorities: “The time for the continent to prepare for the second wave is now.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health authorities in 47 African countries have registered a weekly average of 73,000 new Covid-19 infections since the end of November, compared with an average of 30,000 new weekly cases in October.