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Officials Concerned by Rising Deaths Caused by Pandemic

Africa has recorded a 43% rise in Covid-19 deaths in the last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. “This is a clear warning sign that hospitals in the most impacted countries are reaching a breaking-point,” the WHO’s Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said. Many countries lack oxygen, intensive care units and specialised staff. Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia accounted for most deaths, the WHO said. Medical staff were urged to use the steroid treatment dexamathasone that can help severely ill patients recover faster. The drug can cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators, and a fifth for those in need of supplemental oxygen. More than 150,000 Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Africa since the beginning of the pandemic. This accounts for 4% of deaths reported globally. The WHO said on Thursday the rise in deaths paralleled a chronic shortage of vaccines, a spread in the more contagious Delta variant, which was now being detected in 21 African countries, along with public fatigue with prevention measures.