The head of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong has said severe lockdowns were no longer the best way to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dr Nkengasong, “the period where we are using severe lockdowns as a tool is over. We should actually be looking at how we use public health and social measures more carefully and in a balanced way as the vaccination increases.”
He has hailed South Africa for adopting that approach when responding to its latest infection wave driven by the Omicron variant.
“We are very encouraged with what we saw in South Africa during this period where they look at the data in terms of severity (of infections),” John Nkengasong told a news conference.
Experts believe COVID-19 cannot be eliminated and will likely become endemic, meaning it will always be present in the population to some degree, such as the flu or chickenpox, Reuters reports.
Less than 10% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest Africa CDC figures show, with many countries initially struggling to access sufficient shots and later battling to get them into arms.