The Democratic Republic of Congo confirms third wave of Covid-19

Congo is facing a third wave of coronavirus infections, with its epicenter in the capital, Kinshasa.

Similarly, to other African countries, Congo reported relatively fewer cases and deaths related to Covid-19 officially. However, health authorities are worried about a new spike in infections that saw 243 new cases recorded on Wednesday the 1st of June - the highest daily infection rate recorded since March this year. As a result, the country’s Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani has officially announced the onset of the third wave of the pandemic, with Kinshasa as its epicenter. Home to about 15 million people, the capital Kinshasa is one of the continent’s most populous cities. The increasing infection rate may be owed to a low vaccination rate throughout the country and citizens not practicing recommended hygiene practices.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was apprehensive about the spread of the Delta variation in Congo’s capital which was first recognized in India. The variant is believed to be more transmissible and the exponential increase in the rate of infections is concerning for the WHO. Congo's vaccination program has wavered after it postponed the rollout in view of safety concerns about the AstraZeneca shot. Thus, about 75% of the 1.7 million dosages the country procured in March were redistributed the next month to ensure they were utilized before they expired – thus delaying the rollout. Overall, since the pandemic started, Congo has reported more than 31,900 infections and 786 Covid-19 related deaths.