@Caritas Congo Asbl

In under-vaccinated Congo, fourth Covid wave floods hospitals

While the official infection tally is low compared to many countries, health officials warn that unvaccinated populations increase the risk of new variants emerging.

At the St Joseph Covid Treatment Centre in Kinshasa, patients lie in ramshackle rooms breathing oxygen from old tanks. The clinic has 38 beds, and all but one are occupied. In a backyard littered with medical equipment, tents are needed to cope with the overflow, Reuters reports via NBC news.

Democratic Republic of Congo is the least vaccinated country against Covid-19 in the world. Now a fourth wave of the coronavirus threatens to put greater pressure on its rickety health system than at any time during the pandemic.

“We have experienced the three previous waves gradually, but in the fourth wave cases have jumped overnight,” said Francois Kajingulu, the head of St Joseph. “On Monday we had 5-6 cases and on Saturday we went straight from 30 to 36.”

Congo registered 6,480 new cases in the week of Dec. 13 — more than double the number hit during its previous record week in June, World Health Organization data show.

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