"Africa is facing a fast-surging third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, with cases spreading more rapidly and projected to soon overtake the peak of the second wave the continent witnessed at the start of 2021," the statement said.
According to the WHO, the number of infections in Africa has been increasing for five consecutive weeks since the onset of the third wave in early May. As of June 20, the continent reported 470,000 new cases, which is a 21% increase compared to the same period during the second wave.
The resurgence of the pandemic has been observed in 12 African countries due to poor safety measures, low vaccination rates, increased social interaction and spread of new strains, including the more viral Delta variant.
Currently, just above 1% of Africa's population has been vaccinated, the WHO stressed. The agency has further called on high-income countries, in particular, the EU, to approve all vaccines from the WHO emergency use list and to prevent unfair restriction of movement for people from countries that have limited access to vaccines.