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WHO warns about an exponential rise in coronavirus cases in Congo

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that it has discovered a spike in coronavirus infections late last month in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital.

WHO stated in the weekly report, “An exponential rise in the spread of SARS-Cov-2 virus has been recorded in Kinshasa.” That mirrored a “clear deterioration” in the wider province.

Congolese Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani “officially declared the beginning of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in our nation, with Kinshasa as the epicentre” just hours after the WHO’s warning.

In a speech to Congolese media, he described the situation as “extremely alarming.”

“The third wave of Covid-19 is nowhere, it’s the Indian (Delta) and South African (Beta) variants,” a DRC health ministry official told AFP earlier in the day.

The WHO said that the country’s death rate remained unchanged at 2.5 per cent, but expressed concern over the existence of the Delta variant in Kinshasa.

Professor Jean-Marie Kayembe, a member of the DRC’s anti-coronavirus task force, told the UN’s Radio Okapi that “we are in the third (wave) at the moment,” highlighting rising case numbers and “saturation” of health centres.

So far, the city – and the DRC as a whole – have been comparatively spared from the effects of the coronavirus as compared to South Africa, Africa’s worst-affected country, and states on other continents.

The capital was accountable for 22,348 of these cases, with many of them concentrated in the wealthy district of Gombe, which is home to rich Congolese and travelling expatriates.

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