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Covid-19: South Africa vaccinates prisoners

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South Africa

South Africa has begun vaccinating inmates, as it looked to ramp up inoculations following days of civil unrest which affected the campaign.

Vaccination of Correctional Services employees began earlier on 15 July. South Africa's jails are overcrowded, and there are fears of the disease spreading fast within the facilities.

The country's vaccination campaign has been criticized for being too slow, while it battles a fresh wave.

During the unrest, many pharmacies in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng had medicines used in the treatment of coronavirus looted. Vaccination sites located in shopping malls and commercial centers were also forced to stop administering shots.

The World Health Organization's Africa chief on Tuesday warned of a rise in infections following the riots.

"We are concerned about the last three or so days of rioting in some parts of South Africa, it may exacerbate the situation of a very severe wave," the World Health Organization's director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said on Thursday.

"The government has to brace itself, and we in the WHO will be preparing to see an increase in the cases again."

South Africa has the highest tally of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Africa, recording more than 2.2 million infections and nearly 66,000 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, the toll has risen by 16,400 cases, of which 377 were fatal.

The authorities are struggling with a lack of vaccines, public fatigue with anti-coronavirus measures, and the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.