Senegal sees 'unprecedented' surge in coronavirus cases

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Senegal is experiencing an "unprecedented" surge in Covid-19 infections, the health ministry said on Wednesday, after reporting a new daily record of 733 cases.

The previous record was 529 cases recorded on Sunday.

Senegal has seen relatively few coronavirus-related cases and deaths so far. But like many African countries, it does not have enough doses to vaccinate widely, leaving it vulnerable to fresh surges.

"The situation is unprecedented. We have never seen such an increase in cases," said health ministry spokesman Mamadou Ndiaye.

"Measures must be taken urgently to reverse the trend... We hope that more energetic measures will be taken well ahead of Tabaski (Eid al-Adha)," Ndiaye said, referring to the Muslim holiday that will be celebrated next week.

ALSO READ | Senegal to build Covid-19 vaccine plant in bid to expand African access

The holiday, the most important of the year in Senegal, is celebrated with large family gatherings. There are currently no measures in place to restrict such events.

The ministry said more than 25% of the 2 854 tests carried out in the past 24 hours came back positive. Senegal has reported 47 596 cases and 1 203 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

It has inoculated just 590 969 people out of population of more than 16 million. Ndiaye said that country was low on doses but was expecting 165 000 Johnson & Johnson shots and 300 000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine.


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