COVID-19: First Delta variant cases emerge in Niger
The first cases of Delta variant of Covid-19 have been recorded in the impoverished Sahel state of Niger, which until now has been relatively spared in the pandemic, the authorities said on Friday.
Genetic sequencing found six cases of Delta “among the last cases that occurred in August,” Health Minister Illiassou Mainassara told AFP.
All the patients “were treated and recovered,” he said, but added “serious forms of Covid-19 are more and more widespread.”
The six cases were in the capital Niamey, the ministry’s press office said, adding that efforts to track and trace contacts of the patients were underway.
“These are the first cases of Delta variant recorded in Niger, detected among people who were not vaccinated,” it said.
Niger is the poorest country in the world, according to the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI).
It has had relatively few cases of coronavirus compared to other countries, with an official tally of 5,867 cases, 199 of them fatal.
So far, “more than four per cent” of the country’s population of 20 million have been vaccinated, Mainassara said, describing this as a “small upturn” compared with July, when only 0.3 per cent had been jabbed.
On Thursday, Niger received 100,800 doses of AstraZeneca from Canada under the international Covax donation scheme for poor income countries.
It has also received 400,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines from China, 600,000 AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs from the United States and 25,000 doses of AstraZeneca from India.
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