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Omicron Surge in Africa Showing Signs of Flattening – VOA Zimbabwe

The World Health Organization reports the surge of the fast-spreading Omicron variant in Africa appears to have peaked and is flattening in most African countries.

This is a bit of good news for a continent that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is entering its third year. As of now, the World Health Organization reports more than 10 million people in Africa have been infected with coronavirus and more than 230,000 have died.

The UN health agency reports Africa appears to be emerging from its fourth pandemic wave, driven primarily by the Omicron variant, which quickly overtook the delta variant to become the dominant strain. After a six-week surge, WHO says Omicron has recorded its first drop in cases.

If this trend continues, WHO says it will mark the shortest-lived surge so far on the continent. Abdou Salam Gueye is Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response in WHO’s Regional Office for Africa. He says it is premature to let down one’s guard as the latest data was collected during the holiday period, when numbers tend to be under reported.

“Over the past week, cases plateaued compared with the week before, dropped by a little bit—point-two percent. Infections have also declined in three of Africa’s five subregions. Only North and West Africa are currently seeing an increase in cases,” Gueye said.

Anita Graham is in the Department of Pulmonology, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She says the Omicron variant has accounted for 95-percent of all infections during the region’s huge fourth pandemic wave. However, she says there have been far fewer severe cases, hospitalizations, and deaths than from the more virulent Delta strain.

“However, we are still seeing very serious infections and admissions in patients who are unvaccinated. And also, in patients who have co-morbidity,” Graham said. “Our vaccination remains the best, most effective way of protecting ourselves and our patients from severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Unfortunately, WHO officials note just 10 percent of Africa’s population of 1.2 billion is fully vaccinated, compared to 50 percent of the wider world’s population. They say the coming months will be critical in Africa’s efforts to improve vaccination rates.

They say Africa has the know-how and the tools to tip the balance against the pandemic if it is given the supplies and means to roll out these life-saving vaccines.

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UK: Injured Zim International gets new Plymouth Argyle deal – New Zimbabwe.com

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By plymouthherald.co.uk

Defender Brendan Galloway will be doing all that he can to be fit again for pre-season this summer, according to Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher.

Galloway, 25, is setting out on a rehabilitation programme after an operation to repair a torn patellar tendon in one of his knees.

The Zimbabwe international has been boosted by signing a new contract with the Pilgrims this week which will take him through until June 2023.

Now, with his future settled, Galloway can concentrate on recovering from the injury he suffered in the 3-0 League One defeat by Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park in late November.

Galloway had previously been on a short-term deal with Argyle after joining them in pre-season as a free agent.

However, his impressive performances before his injury clearly warranted a longer contract and the club were ready to do that even though he will not play again this season.

Schumacher said: “It had been agreed for a couple of weeks, it’s just that he has been up north with his family in the early part of his rehab.

“He came back early on this week and the contract was there ready for him to sign. I’m pleased he has done it and made up for him, and now he can fully focus on getting himself fit again.”

With Galloway sidelined, Argyle have brought in 22-year-old Romoney Crichlow on loan from Huddersfield Town until the end of the season to compete for the place on the left side of defence with Macaulay Gillesphey.

All being well, Galloway will be ready for the start of the 2022/23 EFL campaign.

Schumacher said: “Speaking to the medical team, that’s their plan. They have got a rehab programme in place for Brendan that he will follow.

“Brendan is a good professional and he has been in this situation before where he knows how to get back to full fitness.

“It’s not something that’s new to him. I know he will be doing everything he can to get himself right for pre-season, and if he gets back in pre-season then we have got another real good player for our squad, ready to go.”

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Taiwan on COVID alert as domestic Omicron cases spike – NewsDay

Taiwan’s government ordered a tightening of controls on Saturday after a rare spike in domestic transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, saying it needed to act now to prevent being overwhelmed even though overall numbers remain quite low.

After months of no or few community infections, Taiwan has seen a small rise in local COVID-19 cases since the start of the month, almost all Omicron, mainly linked to workers at the main international airport in the northern city of Taoyuan who were infected by arriving passengers.

The infections have gradually spread although numbers remain comparatively low with a dozen or so new cases a day, but on Friday evening the government announced 60 new cases at a factory near the airport after testing 1,000 workers.

There have been no deaths and most of the cases have had only mild or no symptoms.

Speaking to reporters, officials announced a series of new steps, including a ban on eating and drinking on public transport and limits on the number of people visiting temples, ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which starts at the end of this month.

Testing will be expanded to reach the largest number of possible contacts, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

“Of course we think this pandemic is threatening, so we must raise our vigilance,” he said.

In a statement, Premier Su Tseng-chang said even though this outbreak has brought no serious illness, steps needed to be taken now.

“If the pandemic cannot be contained, it will still cause a burden on the medical system,” he said.

Taiwan has been highly successful at controlling the pandemic due to early and strict border checks and a well-oiled tracing system.

Current new daily cases are well below the middle of last year when thousands were infected during a three-month domestic outbreak, and life has carried on as normal for most people.

More than 70% of people in Taiwan have received two vaccine doses and booster shots are currently being rolled out, though only around 15% of residents have had their third shot so far.- Reuters

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Be brave, I was once an orphan too, little one! – Daily Mail

Be brave, I was once an orphan too, little one! Poignant image shows Kadiki the elephant wrapping her trunk around baby Beatrix to reassure her as she meets the rest of the herd in Zimbabwe

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