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WHO: Omicron COVID-19 surge in Africa slowing down

By Megan Hadley
WHO: Omicron COVID-19 surge in Africa slowing down
Africa COVID-19 pandemic numbers seemed to have flattened after a 6 week surge of omicron variant. EPA-EFE/Kim Ludbrook

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The surge of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant in Africa is flattening, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

As of January 11th, there have been 10.2 million COVID-19 cases in Africa, the WHO reported.

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Southern Africa, which saw a huge increase in infections during the past six weeks, recorded a 14% decline in infections during the past week.

East and central Africa also experienced a drop, while North Africa reported a 121% increase in cases during the past week.

Deaths in Africa rose by 64% in the week ending Sunday, the WHO said, adding that deaths during the Omicron surge remain lower than previous waves of the pandemic. About 9% of the continent's ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

"Over the past week, cases plateaued compared with the week before, dropped by a little bit -- point-two percent. Infections have also declined in three of Africa's five subregions. Only North and West Africa are currently seeing an increase in cases," Abdou Salam Gueye, director of emergency preparedness and response, said according to VOA news.

Yet, he also advised not to let one's guard down, as the latest data was collected during the holidays, when infections seemed to be under reported.

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In South Africa, Omicron has become the most common cause of new COVID-19 cases, doubling every 2.2 days.

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