More than 18 months after COVID-19 emerged as a once in a lifetime, worldwide challenge, the pandemic is still an ongoing concern in all our Program Countries across Africa, India and Bangladesh, as well as in our offices in Australia.
The Hunger Project Australia is in regular communication with our teams on the ground, delivering updates from our communities and Village Partners.
We strive to share with our community in Australia up-to-date and above all accurate information about the current situation on the village frontlines.
Across the continent, Africa is currently experiencing a third wave of COVID-19. New weekly cases have now exceeded the peak of the second wave which began in January of this year. While the vaccine rollout did start in some African countries, only 2% of the continent’s adult population has been fully vaccinated.
To date, 23 countries in Africa are experiencing this surge of COVID cases, including our Program Countries of Uganda, Zambia, Senegal and Malawi.
Uganda is so far one of the worst-affected countries during this third wave, and they are currently in a national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID. Rural communities are being impacted but it is hard to tell what the full depth of the situation is because testing numbers in rural areas are lower than rates in the cities.
Zambia has re-introduced COVID-19 restrictions after the rise in daily cases, peaking at over 3,000 cases a day in mid-July. This has included the closure of schools, limits on some public gatherings, and mask-wearing and social distancing on public transport. So far the virus has been contained in the cities and has not reached rural areas; because of this, our Epicentre work can continue with strict COVID-safe measures in place.
Senegal is one of the more recent countries to begin experiencing the third wave. The team at The Hunger Project Senegal are working remotely now and have been a leading voice in a vaccine-promotion campaign.
Cases in Malawi have started to increase, and the government has re-introduced restrictions, including a nightly curfew, limits on public gatherings, international border restrictions, mandatory mask-wearing, and restrictions on workplaces.
Benin is still reporting very few COVID cases and thus far is not experiencing a third wave yet.
Similarly, cases are still low in Ghana– though there has been a slight daily increase in cases in Ghana over the past couple of weeks.
India has moved past the peak in cases that was seen in April and May, and COVID-19 case numbers and deaths are now declining. There are still a number of cases and deaths across the country, but the rate of spread has decreased immensely. Vaccination rates are increasing but there are fears of another wave of infections if vaccinations aren’t delivered out into rural areas.
Bangladesh has unfortunately experienced its own second wave, with cases reaching a high of over 13,000 cases a day in the past week alone. To curb the spread of cases, the country instituted its most strict, military-enforced lockdown, only allowing people to leave their houses for emergencies and to buy essential items, with all public transport, non-essential shops, and offices closed. Lockdown is scheduled to be lifted in time for the country’s second-largest religious festival, Eid al-Adha, which takes place from 20 July – July 22. There are concerns that this could lead to a huge increase in cases.
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