ADDIS ABABA, May 19 (Xinhua) -- There is a possibility that a new COVID-19 variant would emerge in Africa in a foreseeable future, Ahmed Ogwell, the acting director of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has warned.
"The increase is a clear sign that there is (a) high possibility a new variant, which is more transmissible, is to appear," Ogwell said during a weekly briefing Thursday.
According to figures from the Africa CDC, the African continent has seen a 36 percent average increase of new COVID-19 cases over the past four weeks, with Central and Eastern Africa regions reporting increasing new COVID-19 cases by 113 and 54 percent, respectively.
The Africa CDC, the specialized healthcare agency of the African Union, called for increased testing to locate which part of the continent the new variant would be appearing in.
"We need to do more testing and sequencing so that we can be able to understand where the outbreaks are and identify what variant is emerging," Ogwell said.
He also called for an enhanced vaccination rollout to sustainably address low vaccination service against the pandemic across the continent. "We are distinctively seeing increasing deaths due to the pandemic as cases are surging over the last four weeks."
Five African countries reported the highest numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last one week with South Africa reporting 50,404 cases, Tanzania 1,482, Namibia 1,054, Zimbabwe 910 and Burundi 817 cases, according to the acting director.