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African Covid-19 Testing Declines as Variants Spread

The African Union’s health agency urged countries on the continent to increase testing for the coronavirus as more states report different variants of the disease.

Testing dropped 21% last week, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an online briefing Thursday.

Six African nations including South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Uganda and Kenya have reported the B.1.617 strain that is devastating India and which initial studies show spreads more easily.

That’s in addition to the 24 African nations that reported cases of the B.1.1.7 mutation found last year in the U.K., with the same number of countries reporting the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa in 2020.

We need to increase our testing all the time to catch up with the pandemic,” said Nkengasong. “These viruses tend to be transmitted very quickly and move with people.”

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