Covid-19 cases in Africa have now exceeded 3 million, and daily cases have peaked from the first wave, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The continent is now facing “emerging variants” of the virus, WHO Africa said in a statement Thursday.

An average of 25,223 cases were reported daily across the continent from December 28 to January 10. Those numbers are “almost 39% higher than the two-week high of 18,104 daily average cases in July 2020,” he added.

The UN panel warned that the worst could still be ahead, saying that the numbers in Africa “could continue to rise in the coming days following trips, gatherings and celebrations over the Christmas and New Year holidays”.

The WHO said the new variant of the virus, first discovered in South Africa, “accounts for the most new infections during the second wave”.

“Genomic sequencing found the variant found in Botswana, Gambia and Zambia,” added the publication.

Although there is currently no evidence of the presence of another variant, which was first found in Great Britain on the African continent, according to the WHO “further investigations are required”.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “Even if the new variant is not more virulent, a virus that can spread more easily will continue to burden hospitals and health workers, who in many cases are already overwhelmed.”

Moeti urged all African countries to “step up testing and sequencing of the virus in order to quickly detect, track and combat new COVID-19 variants as they occur”.

“To defeat an agile, adaptable, and relentless enemy, we need to know and understand every move they make, and best of all duplicate what we know against all variants of the virus.”

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