DRC in danger of ‘fifth wave’ of Covid-19, warns Minister

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Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo are warning the public not to drop their guard against Covid-19, as the country enters a period that has, in the past, seen higher infection rates.

Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani on Monday said the country has seen lowest infection rates in the last three weeks, but warned there is a threat of a fifth wave, if Covid-19 protocol were ignored now.

He said that “the analysis of data from the first two years clearly indicates that the [prevalence] of the Coronavirus in our country is in the middle and end of the year.

“This indicates the likelihood of a fifth wave between April and July this year, said Patrick Muyaya, government spokesman, quoting the Minister for Health in a statement the Minister gave to the Council of Ministers earlier on Monday.

Dr Jean-Jacques Mbungani himself called on the people “to remain vigilant, to wear masks, to keep washing their hands and to be vaccinated in order to fight effectively Covid19. 

“This is the first time that the Covid-19 pandemic has declined simultaneously. This is thanks to responsible and appropriate management. Our government has done everything to contain this fourth wave. The big drop has been observed for the last 3 weeks.”  

Health officials also claim that the DRC is on track to defeat the Omicron variant, just as neighbouring countries have seen lower infections in February.  

But with less than having achieved just  about 1 percent of the vaccination rate at Covid-19, the DRC, a country of about 90 million people, still faces a threat of a new wave.

Dr Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the head of technical secretariat for the response to Covid and Director General of the National Institute of Biomedical Research, called for the urgency “to improve on the trend of low vaccination rate in order not to become an endemic country.”

“The world will be divided into two parts because the disease will become endemic and therefore there will be continents where the disease prevalence is low…

“Because these countries have a very high vaccination rate and countries with high endemicity such as African countries including Democratic Republic of Congo because the vaccination coverage is very low,” explained Dr Jean Jacques Muyembe on Monday.

As of 10 February, less than 90,000 people have been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus in DRC.

AFP

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