Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 17:40:00 +0000Ethiopia's coronavirus tally hits 35 amid race to bolster ventilator stockpile 3: Ethiopia cases reach 35, Jack Ma donation distributed Confirmed cases of the virus have reached 35 in Ethiopia with six new cases being the highest rise since the first case was recorded last month. Ethiopia’s current tally is relatively low as compared to other countries in the region like Kenya and Rwanda with 122 and 84 respectively. There is a general ban on movement and restriction on public gatherings in the different regional states. The federal government is leading the virus response. All land borders were closed last week as a containment measure. Cases have been concentrated in Addis Ababa with Oromia and Ahmara region as well as Dire Dawa having recorded cases.— Lia Tadesse (@lia_tadesse) April 3, 2020 Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight In four years as a doctor in Ethiopia, Rediet Libanos has used a mechanical ventilator just once: on a patient who suffered a haemorrhagic stroke a few months ago. But as the country braces for a potential surge in coronavirus, the 28-year-old and many of her colleagues are scrambling to master the workings of the breathing machines, which buy time for critically-ill patients. During a training this week in Addis Ababa, Rediet and six other doctors got a refresher on how to optimise oxygen volume and pressure for patients whose lungs are failing, practicing first on a green rubber dummy organ before visiting clinics to see ventilators in action. Though Ethiopia has reported only 29 cases of COVID-19, two of them critical, Rediet expects the country will soon see an onslaught of patients for whom ventilation could mean the difference between life and death. “I will be on the front lines of that, so I need to be skilled in how to use this machine,” she told AFP. Yet even as doctors study up on ventilation techniques, Ethiopia’s government — like others in Africa — is confronting a stark ventilator shortage that could hobble its COVID-19 response. In a country of more than 100 million people, just 54 ventilators — out of around 450 total — had been set aside for COVID-19 patients as of this week, said Yakob Seman, director general of medical services at the health ministry. By comparison, the US state of New York, the current centre of the pandemic, has said it could need tens of thousands of ventilators for a population of around 20 million. The Ethiopian health ministry’s own “worst-case scenario” modelling predicts the country will require around 1,500 ventilators for COVID-19 patients by the end of April, Yakob said. With producers overwhelmed by orders from around the globe, it’s not at all clear how this gap will be bridged, he said. “I’m really worried about a shortage,” Yakob said. “This is not because of the commitment of the government or lack of will, but because of lack of resources.” AFP April 1: Tigray is first regional state with COVID-19 lab Northern Tigray region has become the first regional state in Ethiopia to have a COVID-19 testing lab. This development comes at a time when the state has no confirmed case of the coronavirus pandemic. Reports indicate that the medical facility is as a result of cooperation between Mekelle University and the Tigray Health Bureau and Tigray Health Research Institute. The lab started work on April 1 in the presence of region’s Vice President Debretsion GhebreMichael. President of the university noted that the institution had the support of the Ethiopia Public Health Institute, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. This is the second “lead” since Ethiopia recorded a case last month. Tigray declared a state of emergency and near lockdown days before other states followed suit. Ethiopia currently has 29 confirmed cases of the virus according to the Ministry of Health. Government has shut all land borders except for essential imports coming in. Cases have been recorded in capital Addis Ababa, Oromia and Amhara regional states and in Dire Dawa, a chartered city. Breaking News: in a strong collaboration among Mekelle University, Tigray Bureau of Health & Tigray Health Research Institute, testing #coronavirus #Covid19 has began at #Mekelle – We thank all the committed professionals! Exemplary partnership! We made it hgodefay</a> <a href="">MekUniETH— Kindeya G.hiwot, Prof (@DrKindeya) April 1, 2020 April 1: Close places of worship: Orthodox church follows Islamic council Barely twenty-four hours after the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, EIASC, announced cessation to all prayers in mosques, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, EOTC, announced a similar measure. The church’s Holy Synod at a press briefing on Wednesday said as of tomorrow followers of the Church, the largest in Ethiopia, should pray from home and only a limited number of priests should conduct prayers inside churches. The Holy Synod also decided that all premises of spiritual colleges, Sunday schools and other facilities under EOTC should be designated to serve as isolation centers for COVID19 suspected patients in the event of the possible spread. The church also donated 3 million birr to contain the virus. News Alert:#Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) said all Mosques should close down & members of the Muslim community should perform their prayers at home. It also said the Ulama Council has ordered to suspend all teaching-learning processes until #COVID19 is over— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) March 31, 2020 March 31: Al-Amoudi donates towards COVID-19 fight Ethiopia-born Saudi billionaire, Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi has made the biggest private donation yet to coronavirus combat in Ethiopia. He donated the sum of 120 million birr (about $3.6m) to the Addis Ababa city administration on Tuesday. Ethiopia as of midday March 31 had 25 confirmed cases of the virus. Transport has been banned in most parts of the country as government moves to curb spread. Infections have so far been recorded in the capital Addis Ababa, and in the oromia and Amhara regional states. Al-Amoudi who is owner of a mining firm Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Cos., MIDROC. He was arrested on corruption related charges by the Saudi government back in 2017 but was released in early 2019 after the active intervention of Prime Minister Abiya Ahmed Ali. Amoudi, in his 70s, became a multi-billionaire investing first in construction, agriculture and mining in Ethiopia, where he was born, and then purchasing oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden. Forbes valued his fortune at more than $10 billion in 2016. #Ethiopia: Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-amoudi, chairman and owner of #MIDROC_Ethiopia has donated 120 million birr to fight #coronavirus (#COVID19) in #AddisAbaba— FBC (Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.C.) (@fanatelevision) March 31, 2020 March 30: Ethiopian regions ban transport Four regional states in Ethiopia have imposed a ban on transport as part of coronavirus containment measures. The regions are northern Tigray region (which has declared a state of emergency since last week.), Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region. Prior to the last weekend, cases were recorded only in Addis Ababa. Oromia recorded two cases on Saturday whiles the first two in Amhara region were recored on Monday. The federal government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed closed all land borders even as the national flier, Ethiopian, continues a very scaled down operations of passenger flights concentrating more on freight. The country currently has 23 confirmed cases out of which two have since been repatriated. Authorities say contact tracing efforts are underway whiles quarantined persons continue to be tested. March 29: Ethiopia reports cases outside Addis Ababa Ethiopia at close of day March 29 had reported 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19. An increase of five over the weekend. Three on Saturday and two on Sunday. Of the three cases on Saturday, one was recorded in the capital Addis Ababa and two in the town of Adama located in the Oromia region. It is the first reported case outside of the capital since the first cases was confirmed earlier this month. “The other two cases are a 14 year old male and 48 year old female who are members of a family who resides in Adama town. They had history of contact with previously confirmed case. They were under medical follow up since the confirmation of the close contact and tested positive on March 28th 2020,” a statement from the Ministry of Health read in part. Out of close to 900 tests, Ethiopia has recorded 21 cases, a recovery with two of the confirmed cases having been repatriated to their countries. Meanwhile more details are emerging from the state of emergency imposed by the Tigray regional state. Among other measures, coffee houses, cafes and juice houses shall be closed. Anyone who travelled out of Tigray in the past 20 days shall be tested. Anyone who enters Tigray after shall be tested and put under supervision. All house rents shall be halved over the period. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 26: Tigray region imposes state of emergency Ethiopia’s northern Tigray regional state on Thursday, March 26, announced a region-wide state of emergency as a means of combating the coronavirus pandemic. The Tigray Mass Media Agency said the decision was reached a day after the regional state council met and agreed on the decision which has implications on movement and on social activities. Under the 15-day emergency rule: all travels within the state is banned. There is also a ban on social activities such as weddings and other festivities which could lead of large gatherings. Markets are also to be closed. More details are expected to be released later. The federal government has closed all land borders as per the decision of an inter-ministerial COVID-19 committee led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. As at March 25, Ethiopia had confirmed 12 cases with all cases in the capital Addis Ababa. The figure is out of about 500 tests overall. It is woefully minimal as compared to South Africa’s over 15,000 tests that have turnd out 704 confirmed cases. March 22: Ethiopia shuts land borders, impose more restrictions Ethiopia will deploy the army to halt the movement of people along all borders, with the exception of incoming essential goods to the country, this is one of eight new measures being implemented by the federal government in the wake of the coronavirus spread. Prime minister Abiy Ahmed on March 23 met with heads of the security sector for deliberations aimed at containment of the pandemic. The group he met today are the security sub-committee of the National Ministerial Committee. Aside shutting land borders, a series of enforcement measures were announced relating to regulations on large gatherings and social distancing. Public transports are to avoid overcrowding whiles businesses will be checked in line with normal pricing of essentials. Government offices have been tasked to employ adequate safety measures for employees whiles seeking home options for other employees. The security forces – army and police – are to undertake internal preparations for enforcement of the relevant rules. March 20: Ethiopian suspends flights to 30 countries State-affiliated FBC reports that Ethiopian airlines (Ethiopian) has suspended flights to 30 countries due to coronavirus (COVID-19), effective from Friday March 20. At the beginning of the outbreak, Ethiopian maintained a decision to stick to its China route at a time most African airlines had suspended operations to and from the country. Ethiopia currently has nine confirmed cases and tests are being run on hundreds of suspected cases. We would like to inform our esteemed customers that we have stopped flight to 30 countries due to COVID19 virus. #EthiopianAirlines— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 20, 2020 According to journalist Samson Berhane, CEO of the company, Africa’s most profitable and expansive, confirmed that they had made losses of up to $190 million. “We ll probably face the biggest crisis in the history of aviation in Ethiopia,” Tewolde Gebremariam said. The FBC report adds that Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed had announced that all passengers arriving in Ethiopia from COVID -19 affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days, with all cost to be covered by themselves. Uganda has a similar rule in place. Night clubs are to remain closed whiles government is set to release a category of prisonser. Specifically inmates who have children, and whose probationary period is drawing to an end plus those in detention for minor crimes, the PM added. On the subject of religious institutions, Abiy said they had been tasked to take all necessary measures towards the implementation of a robust mechanism to prevent the spread of the virus. All passengers arriving to #Ethiopia will be subjected to a 14 day quarantined period in a designated hotels at their own personal cost.— Samson Berhane Asmelash (@BerhaneSamson) March 20, 2020 March 19: Ethiopians must join world not stigmatize others – Minister Ethiopia’s Health Minister says the coronavirus pandemic was not related to any country or nationality, she said it as a “test against humanity” which required Ethiopians to join the world to defeat. “#COVID19 is not related to any country or nationality. It is a test against all humanity. We should fight it together and defeat it. I call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands with the world to fight this global challenge,” her post on Twitter read. It is believed to be connected to a United States Embassy statement that alerted to rising anti-foreigner sentiments in parts of the country. The embassy cautioned that foreigners were being targeted with the accusation that they were infected with Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. In a security alert said as at March 18, the embassy: “continues to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment.” Typical derogatory comments such as “China” and “ferengi” (a reference to foreigners) have been “reportedly coupled with the label ‘corona’, indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of Covid-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia,” it added. “Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services… being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with Covid-19,” the embassy added. Ethiopia recorded its first case last week of a Japanese national. The cases have risen to six, the sixth being of a British diplomat. Health authorities said they were testing over 900 people for the virus as part of contact tracing efforts connected to confirmed cases. Across Africa, there is a view that most confirmed cases have been imported largely from Europe. Most index cases were of either European nationals or of Africans with recent travel history to Europe. There are sixteen deaths so far, as at March 19. U.S. president Donald Trump has been under fire on Twitter for referring to the coronavirus as “The Chinese Virus.” Most people have called the reference racist especially with the WHO cautioning against tagging a global malady with a certain category of people. March 16: Ethiopia’s COVID-19 rules: Crowd ban, free transport, regulate essentials etc. Ethiopia confirmed the fifth coronavirus case on Monday (March 16), a day after it had recorded an increase of three in addition to the index case that was recorded last week. The office of the Prime Minister issued a statement surrounding key measures taken by government to safeguard public safety and orderliness. The COVID-19 National Ministerial Committee at its second meeting led by PM Abiy agreed on a number of measures aimed at addressing containment and potential spread of the virus. It announced a 10-point measure that was set to last “for the next two weeks, subject to further assessments,” the statement read. the measures included wide-ranging public bans, social interventions and regulating of economic activities propped up by the pandemic. Large gatherings including sporting events had been banned whiles small gatherings required clearance from the Health Ministry. All educational institutions with the exception of higher learning institutions were to be closed. Religious institutions and places of worship are tasked to limit gatherings A national hygiene and preventive measures movement launched from federal level to local levels Government announced allocation of budget for distribution of masks, soap, alcohol solutions and other items in critical locations. Government buses are to be availed free of charge to help control crowding in public transport. Special buses designated to take public servants to work. Private transporters are also asked to follow suit. Trade ministry to monitor and act against businesses engaging in price-gouging Special attention to be paid to the elderly. Volunteers tasked to compliment government education, prevention efforts. “The Prime Minister calls upon all to maintain calm and equip themselves with accurate information from the Ministry of Health. “Citizens are asked to maintain strong hand hygiene and avoid (ing) unnecessary physical contact in line with Ministry of Health guidelines,” the statement concluded. PM Abiy over the weekend disclosed that he had reached a partnership with Chinese e-commerce founder Jack Ma for an Africa wide supply of key coronavirus materials including masks, testing kits and literature. Together with members of my cabinet, I have accepted WHO</a> and <a href="">DrTedros’s #SafeHands challenge as a means of preventing the spread of #COVID19. I challenge EmmanuelMacron</a> and <a href="">MohamedBinZayed— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) March 16, 2020Fri, 03 Apr 2020 17:40:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) president agrees with Talon: lockdowns are not Africa-friendly president Mahamadou Issoufou says he agrees with his Benin counterpart, Patrice Talon, that lockdowns are not Africa-friendly and that the continent stood to lose more with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Issoufou was speaking in an exclusive interview with French broadcaster France 24. Whiles discussing the overall impact of the pandemic on Africa, he called for a “Marshall Plan” from the international community to help African countries face the unprecedented health crisis. Asked about need for international support and Talon’s claim that Benin would not resort to lockdowns for particular reasons, the Nigerien president said: “President Talon is exactly right.” Continuing: “... what we can see is that even the most developed countries are overwhelmed, so we need to be even more prepared because we will be even more affected by this crisis because our medical systems are more fragile than that of those other countries. “And that is why we have expressed our need for international support to be able to deal with this crisis. We need more support from other countries around the world. This is what we can see from globalization, because of that, the world we are living in now is a truly a global village. “What started in China is now concerning countries like ours, Niger; and all other countries in the world. This is what I call the butterfly effect and this is an exacerbated form of the butterfly effect where one thing happens somewhere in the world and the effect can be felt everywhere. “This is going to push us into a new paradigm especially in terms of political and economic governance around the world. We need more solidarity, we need more equality. Because in this world, we are all in the same boat and if that boat sinks, then we all sink with it. Turning to the French presence in the Sahel region, Niger’s president insisted he did not fear a French military withdrawal over the pandemic, despite the first four cases of coronavirus being detected this week among the French troops of Operation Barkhane. Issoufou said he was convinced that Paris was committed to the fight against terrorist groups. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } What Talon said The Benin president last week announced that the West African country could not enforce public confinement because it lacks the “means of rich countries” who are fighting the pandemic. “Rich countries are putting up huge amounts of money and some are even resorting to barely disguised monetary solutions, or printing notes to prevent what would otherwise be unavoidable socio-economic chaos,” he said in a televized address. “Benin (...) does not have such means,” Talon said. “If we take measures which starve everybody, they will quickly end up being defied and violated.” Whiles most countries have opted for partial or full lockdowns, Benin has till date applied a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around 8 major urban areas, including the business capital Cotonou where public transport has been halted. Benin as of April 3 had 13 cases with one recovery. Niger on the other hand had 98 cases with five deaths. Africa’s overall tall had passed 7,200 with South Africa being the most hit with 1,505 cases. The four African countries without confirmed cases are: Lesotho, Comoros, Soa Tome and Principe and South Sudan.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:15:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) president apologizes for police excesses during curfew Uhuru Kenyatta, apologized to Kenyans for reported police brutality in enforcing a curfew imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the East African country. Speaking during a live video call with two Kenyans who were cured of the Covid-19 on Wednesday, Kenyatta regretted the manner in which police officers enforced restrictions on movements and public gatherings. The dawn-to—dusk curfew was introduced last Friday. There have been consistent reports of excessive use of violence by the forces of law and order. According to locals, the police used whips and tear gas to enforce the curfew. They allege that at least two people have been killed by the police. Kenyan police on Tuesday launched an investigation into the death of a 13-year-old boy shot dead on his balcony in a Nairobi slum, after police officers reportedly fired shots to enforce the curfew imposed to combat the new coronavirus. Kenya as of April 3, 2020 has 122 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with four deaths.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com arena: Ethiopia's Gebrselassie says 'together we will beat corona' coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is much lesser in African countries that have recorded cases as compared to for example Italy where the entire country is almost in a lockdown. Most countries have banned all sporting competitions. Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken. Ethiopia’s athletic legend makes coronavirus appeal Ethiopia’s athletics great Haile Gebrsellassie says it is important for people to obey social distancing rules as authorities do all it takes to combat the coronavirus pandemic. He shared a message on Twitter entreating people to stay at home and to remain positive that the pandemic will he history sooner than later. A transcript of his message: “Hello everyone, my name is Haile Gebrselassie. Save your family and yourself by doing your part. Nowadays, the world has a big problem. Don’t worry about the darkness of today, think about the light of tomorrow. “Do you know I have a different business, that is why I am working at home. No matter what, let us work together, we will win together, stay at home, we will beat corona, thank you.” Gebrselassie, has brought the country a lot of glory in long-distance events had a stellar career which spanned over two decades, since 1992 when he won the 5000m and 10,000m titles at the World Junior Championships. Over the duration of his active days, he set 27 world records and 61 Ethiopian records, as well as win two Olympic gold medals and eight world titles both indoors and out. In addition to his athletics career, Haile is also a businessman and employs more than 2000 people in several businesses back home. Local media reports that he is involved in real estate projects, owns four hotels, a coffee plantation and is the distributor for Hyundai in Ethiopia. He is also a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and is involved in tree planting and road projects. He has built several schools in his residential area. Let’s all come together to beat the Corona virus so we can think about the light of tomorrow.#hometeam— Haile Gebrselassie (@HaileGebr) April 3, 2020 Kenya’s Kipchoge talks about surviving COVID-19 Kenyan marathon great Eliud Kipchoge has been speaking about keeping fit whiles still observing isolation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The world long marathon record holder encouraged those staying indoors during self-isolation to work on getting their fitness levels up, as they cope with the effects of COVID-19. His story is shared by the CGTN Africa team as below: “I think the whole world will hopefully beat this virus in the next month and maybe May we are able to come back to our training and resume in a big way. We will win this fight against COVID-19. “just have some steps to run on, just let us keep fit. Let us keep fit both physically and mentally by reading some newspapers, be with the family, watch good movies together which helps make the days move and you get more knowledge. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } CAF president’s COVID-19 statement President of the continent’s football body, Ahmad Ahmad on Friday shared his coronavirus message which ranged from administrative measures by the body, decision on competitions and Africa’s role in combating the pandemic. All competitions suspended i.e. AFCON 2021 qualifiers, CHAN 2020, club competitions CAF 42nd General Assembly scheduled for Cameroon in April postponed CAF staff to work from home till end of March, staring March 20 All decisions in interest of global safety World must united to combat the scourge Condolences to all those that have lost loved one Africa must play its part in the fight against the virus CAF prez’s #coronavirus statement – All competitions suspended i.e. AFCON 2021 qualifiers, CHAN 2020, club competitions – CAF 42nd General Assembly scheduled for Cameroon in April postponed – CAF staff to work from home till end of March – Africa must play its part in the fight— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 20, 2020 Zimbabwe suspends cricket SUSPENDED: Following the measures announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the wake of the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic that has been declared a national disaster, ZimCricketv has with immediate effect suspended all forms of cricket in the country #coronavirus— Zimbabwe Cricket (ZimCricketv) March 18, 2020 Cameroon suspends CHAN The Championship of African Nations, CHAN, a CAF organized competition has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was meant to take place in Cameroon in April 2020. The local organizing committee after a meeting on Tuesday (March 17) announced the decision to suspend the competition which was slated for between April 4 – 25. Cameroon currently has 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus even though government has yet to impose restrictions on sporting events as at today. CHAN is a version of the African Cup of Nations but is reserved for players that ply their trade on the continent. The current champions are Morocco who beat Nigeria in the final of the last tournament in 2018. Namibia’s football body had confirmed that they were withdrawing their participation from the competition. CAF last week suspended all 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers over the pandemic. FIFA had also advised last week that all international matches be halted. #CAF postpones #TotalCHAN2020 #Cameroon#COVID19— CRTVweb (@CRTV_web) March 17, 2020 Tanzania suspends annual Uhuru torch race Tanzania president John Magufuli announced over the weekend that an annual torch race has been suspended over the coronavirus outbreak. The president said he had taken the decision “after consulting with the Vice President and Prime Minister.” “I have decided to temporarily suspend the Uhuru torch race until coronavirus is contained. The money which was set for the race should now be directed to preparedness of the facilities for addressing possible coronavirus cases,” he said. At the time of the statement, Tanzania had not recorded a case. On Monday, the first case was confirmed. The victim is a woman aged 46 who arrived in the country on 15th of March 2020 and was isolated Mt. Meru Hospital, reports said. The Uhuru Torch (Swahili: Mwenge wa Uhuru, literally “Torch of Freedom”) is one of the National Symbols of Tanzania. It is a kerosene torch. It symbolizes freedom and light. The 2020 edition was set to kick off from Zanzibar. Countries suspend football leagues Botswana and South Sudan all announced similar bans. Ethiopia has also banned public gatherings including sporting events whiles Ivory Coast has followed suit, both on Monday. Ghana became the eight African country to have its football league suspended after the president announced a ban on public gatherings on Sunday evening. Shortly after, the football association in a statement said it had suspended all football competitions across the country. “Public gatherings are banned in Ghana. Funeral gatherings shouldn’t have more than 25 people,” President Akufo-Addo announced. Algeria became the seventh African country on record to have suspended its league on Sunday. The measure forms part of nationwide lockdown on sporting competitions. Other countries that have suspended football competitions officially are: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, DRC, Gabon, and Sudan. The South African league body said it was meeting to decide on a way forward after President Ramaphosa announced a ban on public gatherings. Meanwhile the continent’s football governing body, CAF, and the world body, FIFA, have all advised that competitive fixtures be suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Statement: FIFA recommends all international fixtures be halted In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April. The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities. FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not. To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies. .WHO & FIFAcom will work with footballers, coaches, confederations, federations, clubs & all other stakeholders to raise awareness on how people can stay safe & support each other to fight #COVID19. Through teamwork & by putting public health first we will beat #coronavirus.— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 12, 2020 CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures BREAKING: CAF have announced the postponement of AFCON 2021 qualifiers due to #CONVID19— Veronica Commey (@VeronicaCommey) March 13, 2020 CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures While the World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus has moved from epidemic to pandemic status, more worrying than ever, the Confederation of African Football has decided to maintain the programming of all its competitions, namely, the qualifiers for the CAN 2021 scheduled for 25-31 March, and the CHAN 2020 to be held from 4 to 25 April. A decision taken on the basis of daily reports from the WHO, which prove that no African country to date has been declared high risk contrary to the evolution of COVID-19 worldwide.  Present in a dozen countries of the continent with 111 confirmed cases, the pandemic is advancing at chameleon-like pace in Africa while there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases worldwide with thousands of deaths. Some countries, such as Kenya, have travel restrictions in place for sportsmen and women, which for sure could reduce the participation of some key days that national teams might need to win matches during the qualifiers for the AFCON 2021. Under these conditions, is it still possible to organise these competitions? The spread of the Coronavirus in recent days has compelled several countries on the continent affected by the COVID-19 to take drastic measures. This is the case of Algeria, which has cancelled all public events, especially sports. Morocco has decreed that all future football matches will be held behind closed doors. The same goes for Egypt. Statement: Kenya Athletics issues directives Following a directive from the GOK (Government of Kenya) and due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, AK has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes & athlete support personnel until further notice. In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication. We apologize for any inconveniences caused. Statement: World Football Summit postponed due to coronavirus outbreak In the light of the ‘COVID-19’ outbreak, which has been officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have been forced to take the difficult decision to postpone the celebration of WFS Africa, scheduled for March 17-18 in Durban, South Africa. After closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus outbreak and assessing the risk to our visitors, we have concluded, together with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, our Main Partner, that this is the only way to guarantee the well-being of all our visitors. During the last few months we have strived to put together an event of the caliber that the African football industry deserves. We were extremely excited with our first-ever African summit and looking forward to welcoming the continent’s most relevant leaders and stakeholders. This decision is heart-breaking for the WFS team. We want to thank all our speakers, business partners, exhibitors, delegates and members of the media for your enthusiastic support and apologize for any inconvenience. We would also like to underline the solid leadership demonstrated by the South African government and the crucial guidance provided by our Main Partner, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government. We look forward to continue growing our partnership in order to build the best possible platform for the African football industry to meet. We will keep monitoring the situation closely while exploring options to reschedule WFS Africa for July-August 2020 depending on the global evolution of the outbreak. Further details will be confirmed as soon as possible. March 11: FIFA reschedules Congress in Ethiopia Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has rescheduled its 70th Congress that was scheduled for May 2020 at the African Union’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The event has been moved to September 2020 in Addis Ababa. An official FIFA statement issued on Wednesday (March 11) read in part: “On account of the spread of COVID-19, numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events. “Concerns over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries, have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many such events in various parts of the world. “Mindful of this, and given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress from Friday 5 June 2020 to Friday 18 September 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.” In June 2019, FIFA announced Addis Ababa as host of the gathering of world football governing body’s supreme legislative body, the FIFA Congress. The announcement was made at the end of the 69th Congress which took place in the French capital, Paris. “In addition, the FIFA Council meeting planned for Friday 20 March 2020 has also been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June-July 2020 at the Home of FIFA in Zurich or via video conference,” the statement concluded. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Fri, 03 Apr 2020 13:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com'Close up' social distancing as Lagos distributes coronavirus food aid, Nigeria’s commercial hub, is the country’s most impacted with coronavirus infection. As of April 3, Lagos alone accounted for 98 out of 190 cases recorded across Africa’s most populous country. The state government led by governor BabaJide Sanwo-Olu weeks back announced a stimulus package to cushion the less vulnerable members of the state. But at one of the many food distribution points, the crammed nature of the crowd in compact, crowded queues was a far cry from social distancing regulations which have been repeatedly announced as a key prevention measure against the virus. The state government said it had budgeted for 200,000 households to receive food rations. Nearly 1.2 million Lagos residents could receive this donation, authorities have said. Whiles recipients thanks the government for its efforts, on social media; the atmosphere at the distribution was a grave source for concern. A beneficiary said after receiving her package: “I’m so happy that my country remembers me. This is the first time I’ve received anything from the government. I am so happy. God will continue to bless them in the name of Jesus.” For the authorities, this distribution of food is a response to the health emergency decreed in the country because of the coronavirus. Gbolahan Lawal, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture told the media: “In response to the emergency situation we have, COVID-19, considering the fact that we already have a lockdown, we want to reduce contact between people. So we decided to stimulate the economy. Stimulating the economy is in terms of food. Emergency food response.” The federal government imposed a lockdown on Lagos, Ogun States and on Federal Capital Abuja, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus which has so far claimed two lives in the country. 20 people have also been discharged.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:45:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) some Angolans are defying coronavirus lockdown Joao Lourenco of Angola recently declared a state of health emergency and ordered a 15-day lockdown across the southern African country. A key plank of the measure being that traffic on public roads is prohibited except in emergencies. The move being part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak. But residents in the capital Luanda are struggling and as a result breaking some of the lockdown rules. With no access to basic goods, water, some residents vow to keep on working to make ends meet. One such is Quechin ha Paulina: “I ordered water from the truck, but it’s been two weeks and it hasn’t arrived. So today I got up at 3 am to buy. I don’t have any money at the moment. I have children, I’m a widow and I’m receiving social assistance.” In the face of falling oil prices and an economy that has been in recession for the past five years, everyone is doing their part to keep their families alive during the lockdown. For his part, taxi driver Domingos João said: “The disease is dangerous, we can see that. Everyone sees it, everyone knows it. But if we stay at home, we won’t get anywhere. “That’s why we are in the street, we work with rules, as you can see. We work with this bottle of soap and hand sanitizer. Before the passengers get on board, they are first disinfected,” he added. As of April 3, Angola has recorded a total of 8 cases with two deaths and one recovery so far.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com groups in Africa could exploit coronavirus to boost ops the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda see the coronavirus as a threat, but some of their fighters also see the upheaval from the pandemic as an opportunity to win over more supporters and strike harder than before. Messages from the Islamic extremist groups show concern about the virus mixed with bravado, asserting that it is punishment for non-Muslims while also urging followers to repent and take care of themselves. Al-Qaeda suggested in a statement Tuesday that non-Muslims use their time in quarantine to learn about Islam. But in a sharp commentary in its al-Naba newsletter in mid-March, IS urged followers to show no mercy and launch attacks in this time of crisis. In a commentary Tuesday, the International Crisis Group warned that the pandemic threatens the global solidarity that is key to fighting extremists. “It is almost certainly correct that COVID-19 will handicap domestic security efforts and international counter-ISIS cooperation, allowing the jihadists to better prepare spectacular terror attacks,” it said. Though analysts said it was too soon to say which attacks can be blamed on militants exploiting the coronavirus, extremists in late March carried out their deadliest assault yet against the military of Chad, a significant contributor to Africa’s growing counterterrorism efforts, killing at least 92 soldiers near the border with Nigeria and Niger. In Egypt, two military officials reported a spike in IS attacks in March in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula but security forces foiled at least three other major assaults. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. While Syria and Iraq have seen no uptick in attacks by IS since the virus spread there, the pandemic has prompted the U.S.-led coalition to halt training activities in Iraq amid a planned pullout from several bases. There are signs elsewhere that the U.S., British and other militaries are pulling back because of the virus, leaving a possible opening for the extremists. That’s a danger in Africa’s hot spots of the Sahel, the Lake Chad region and Somalia, where the U.S. military already worried allies in recent months by contemplating cuts to focus on threats from China and Russia. “Any state that was interested in pulling back in Africa will take the opportunity to do so,” said Clionadh Raleigh, executive director of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks extremists’ activities worldwide. “That will be unbelievably bad.” APFri, 03 Apr 2020 12:15:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com coronavirus: Cases hit 122, 6 year-old dies, pastors want 'essential service' label 3: Kilifi deputy governor arrested, pastors want churches to be made “essential” Deputy governor of Kilifi County has been arrested by authorities for failing to self-isolate. Gideon Saburi was declared virus-free yesterday after undergoing treatment. On Friday, he was handcuffed after his release and taken away by security operatives from the Coast General Hospital where he was treated. He is one of four recovered patients in the country where records indicate that 2,201 tests have been conducted with the case toll at 122 and death toll at 4. Kenya recored a boom in cases with over 40 cases in two days. BREAKING: A six year old child dies in Kenya due to complications from #coronavirus, authorities say. The child had other ailments according to NationBreaking</a>. Kenya also reports 12 new positive Corona Virus cases, bringing the total cases to 122, per local media.</p>&mdash; Harun Maruf (HarunMaruf) April 3, 2020 Meanwhile a group of pastors are appealing for churches to be added to “essential services” allowed to operate during the pandemic. Government is currently enforcing a night time curfew along with strict social interaction rules. The bloc from Kenya’s eastern Makueni insist that faith is the “best way to fight the unseen enemy.” Per their request, they want to be allowed to hold Sunday services in open grounds, while adhering to the proposed one-metre distance between people to prevent infection. “It is sad that in the current situation, the church has been left out, closed (and) we feel that as a country, we may be involved in a futile exercise. The church even though a spiritual institution has a reference point on the altar. “To us, the church is the last place of hope and resilience, indeed a safe haven to the downtrodden and the stricken by any form of calamity… we feel that the church was left out and excluded, we feel that we were unfairly locked out of solution providers to the predicament affecting our people,” spokesperson of the pastors, Nicholas Kyule, said. Another, Titus Uswii, was quoted in the Star Newspaper as saying that the country “may be involved in a futile exercise” as long as churches remain closed. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Kilifi Deputy Governor Saburi arrested at Coast General Hospital. He is to face charges for refusing to self-isolate. #COVID19KE— The Standard Digital (@StandardKenya) April 3, 2020 April 2: Confirmed cases rise to 110 Some new developments announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health include: Kenya records two deaths, bringing total deaths to three Deputy Governor of Kilifi County has fully recovered and shall face the law in due course Members of the public advised to put on masks when getting into a matatu (commercial buses) Local production of masks and PPEs has began People in high traffic areas are advised to put on masks as a precautionary measure µ Government shall be hiring 5000 health workers across the counties to begin immediately Kenya #coronavirus tally hits 110 The second 20+ increase Yesterday an increase of 22 Today an increase of 29 Most impacted mainland East African country Mauritius has 161 cases Only South Sudan is uninfected in region— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) April 2, 2020 April 2: Kenya to receive $50m World Bank loan Kenya’s request to the World Bank for $50m to fund containment efforts of the coronavirus pandemic has been approved according to Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe. Minister Kagwe confirms that the funds will largely go into boosting capacity of frontline staff – i.e. buying protective gear for health workers, hand sanitizers, increasing bed capacity in hospitals is another area government will focus on. Kenya’s health workers are on recorded to have protested the lack of protective gear in hospitals, multiple local media outlets have reported. Out of 81 confirmed cases (as of April 1) in the country, one health worker has tested positive – with local media reporting it had happened after the person came into contact with an infected patient. Meanwhile, the Ministry says tracing of close contacts of the 81 confirmed cases is on-going. 1675 close contacts have been monitored, 706 have been discharged after completing the 14 days follow up period. Currently, the ministry is monitoring 969 close contacts of confirmed cases. Those of us who have recovered from COVID-19, please be our ambassadors to the rest of the country. Pass a message of hope, while also instilling a sense of caution to the rest of the country. Wash hands. Sanitize. Keep social distance. Stay at home. #KomeshaCorona— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) April 2, 2020 April 1: Cases at 81, Kenya okays chloroquine for category of treatment Kenya has toppled Rwanda to become the most impacted mainland East African country with 81 cases as against Rwanda’s 75. Government is struggling to enforce an evening curfew that started late last week. The country confirmed its biggest tally hike for a day with 22 new cases out of a number of people on quarantine. Out of the figures, 18 were nationals with two Cameroonians and Pakistanis. So far three people have recovered whiles one death was recorded days back. A Senegalese medic recently defended the use of the drug saying its benefits outweighed the risks many people feared. As a measure of treatment, the Kenyan government has approved the use of chloroquine, one of the oldest anti-malarial drugs, to treat the coronavirus, according to a local news outlet Citizen TV. The drug will however be administered strictly to critical patients, Health Director General Patrick Amoth is quoted as saying. Dr Amoth said at the moment there were no critical cases to warrant such an intervention. Most cases are mild and the authorities are treating the symptoms for now, he is quoted as saying Last month, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board banned the sale of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine over the counter at pharmacies. The ban was a move to prevent people from stocking or using the drug as a preventive measure for the virus. Nigeria’s Lagos recorded spike in cases of chloroquine overdose after US President Donald Trump hyped the medicine as treatment for coronavirus. Medical authorities in the US denied that it had been approved for treatment. Medical experts say chloroquine requires further clinical study and might not be the cure of Covid-19. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 29: Enforcement of coronavirus lockdown turns violent in parts of Africa Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons. Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage, resembles the arc seen in Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 late Saturday. Abuses of the new measures by authorities are an immediate concern. Minutes after South Africa’s three-week lockdown began Friday, police screamed at homeless people in downtown Johannesburg and went after some with batons. Some citizens reported the police use of rubber bullets. Fifty-five people across the country were arrested. The country leads Africa with more than 1,000 cases. In an apparent show of force on Saturday, South Africa’s military raided a large workers’ hostel in the Alexandra township where some residents had defied the lockdown. In Rwanda, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, police have denied that two civilians shot dead Monday were killed for defying the new measures, saying the men attacked an officer after being stopped. And Zimbabwe, where police are widely criticized by human rights groups for deadly crackdowns, is set to enter a three-week lockdown on Monday. The country’s handful of virus cases already threatens to overwhelm one of the world’s most fragile health systems. In Kenya, outrage over the the actions of police was swift. “We were horrified by excessive use of police force” ahead of the curfew that began Friday night, Amnesty International Kenya and 19 other human rights groups said in a statement issued Saturday. “We continue to receive testimonies from victims, eyewitnesses and video footage showing police gleefully assaulting members of the public in other parts of the country.” The tear gas caused hundreds of people trying to reach a ferry in the port city of Mombasa ahead of the overnight curfew to touch their faces as they vomited, spat and wiped away tears, increasing the chance of the virus’ spread, the rights groups said. Even some health workers reported being intimidated as they tried to provide services after the 7 p.m. curfew. The police actions were unacceptable and “brutal,” the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission said in a separate statement. “I am appealing to our people to make it very unnecessary for them to engage with police by staying at home,” Kenya’s Cabinet secretary for health, Mutahi Kagwe, said. “I am also urging the police that people must be treated humanely.” The country has 38 virus cases. Kenya’s interior ministry on Saturday replied to criticism in a statement saying the curfew “is meant to guard against an apparent threat to public health. Breaking it is not only irresponsible but also puts others in harm’s way.” Kenya’s government has not said how many people have been arrested. Because courts are also affected by virus prevention measures, all but serious cases will now be dealt with at police stations, the government has said. That means anyone detained for violating curfew faces time in crowded cells. The Law Society of Kenya will go to court to challenge the curfew on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and has been abused by police, president Nelson Havi said in a statement. The penalty for breaking a curfew is not corporal punishment, he added. “It is evident that COVID-19 will be spread more by actions of police than of those claimed to have contravened the curfew,” Havi said. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. If Kenya goes further and imposes a lockdown, “there is bound to be violence,” said James Shikwati, an economist. People in poor neighborhoods of cities like the capital, Nairobi, will need a way to access food, water and sanitation. “It will mean for the first day, maybe, they stay indoors,” he said. “Then the second day, when they are hungry, they will move out.” Credit: APFri, 03 Apr 2020 11:51:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) lockdown: cases hit 22, govt hails diaspora for financial contributions 3, 2020: Eritrea cases reach 22 The government of Eritrea imposed a 21-day national lockdown as cases continued to rise steadily. The full lockdown and measures accompanying it was published on April 1 by the Ministry of Information. As of today, the tally stood at 22, the Ministry of Health confirmed. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information reports about how the Eritrean diaspora are undertaking different measures to support the COVID-19 combat back home. One area that has been highlighted is the financial contributions which according to a pro-government outlet, Tesfanews had risen to over a million dollars. Key planks of the stay at home order issued by the High Level Task Force on COVID-19 included amongst others that: All citizens are compelled to stay at home. This directive will not apply to those engaged in indispensable developmental and security tasks. Members of a household, not exceeding two at a time, are allowed to go out from their homes to buy essential food items during the day. This conditional permission also holds for emergency medical treatment. All trading activities and transactions will be banned in this period. Similarly, weekly markets that occur in various parts of the country will remain closed. Food production, supply and processing enterprises as well as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will however continue to provide services. These institutions will close at 8:00 pm every evening. All Government Institutions will stop routine services and functions to focus on indispensable developmental and security tasks. Majority of public sector employees will thus stay at home. With the exception of citizens employed in institutions that will continue their functions, all other individuals confined to their homes are not allowed to use their private cars during this period. Major productive and service sectors (manufacturing, food processing, construction, Trucking etc.) will continue their functions. March 30, 2020: Eritrea cases reach 15 Eritrea’s Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed three new cases bring the country’s tall to 15. “Three passengers that came to Eritrea prior to the ban on flights, (enforced on March 25), were diagnosed positive for COVID-19 during tests carried out today,” an official statement said. Whiles all the patients are said to be receiving necessary medical treatment, the government has rolled out a new series of guidelines in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Amongst others: 1. Relevant government authorities will take punitive measures from tomorrow, 31st March 2020, on all citizens and institutions that violate the guidelines. 2. Bars, restaurants, cafés and other service outlets that cater to sizeable clients will be closed for 14 days from 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, 31st March 2020. All employees of these enterprises will not be laid off and their full salary for the period in question will be borne by the employer. 3. Essential enterprises, banks, pharmacies, groceries and outlets for other necessary consumer goods will remain open. 4. Payment of electricity, water and telephone household bills will be postponed. 5. All court sessions – at all levels – will be postponed until further notice. 6. All Government bodies will issue and observe detailed guidelines to implement all measures taken to-date in their respective institutions. March 29, 2020: Eritrea cases double Six more passengers that came to Eritrea prior to the ban on flights, (enforced on March 25), were diagnosed positive for COVID-19 during tests carried out in the past three days. Five of these are women while their age ranges from 32 to 60. Four of these patients were quarantined originally on arrival at Amara International Airport. The two asymptomatic patients were not, however, quarantined on arrival as none of the passengers in that flight exhibited any symptom during screening at the Airport at the time. The total number of confirmed cases in the country has now reached 12. All the patients are receiving necessary medical treatment. March 26, 2020: Eritrea cases up to six Two other passengers who returned home with Air Arabia Airlines on Monday 23 March tested positive, bringing the total number of patients in the country diagnosed with COVID-19 to six. All the patients are receiving necessary treatment and their condition remains satisfactory. As underlined in previous weeks, the Government of Eritrea has been, and continues to take, several important measures to contain and fully stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. In this respect, the MoH issues the following additional guidelines today: 1. All institutions of learning – from Kindergarten to Colleges – will be closed starting tomorrow, 27 March 2020. 2. All public transport vehicles – buses, minibuses and taxis – in all the cities will stop services from 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, March 27th. Use of trucks for public transport is illicit and punishable by law. 3. With the exception of those who may be granted special permit by the competent authority in urgent circumstances, all public transport services from one Region to another, or from one city to another, will likewise be stopped from 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, 27 March 2020. 4. These guidelines will remain effective until further notice. 5. Although all Government institutions play a significant role in the effective implementation of the current and previous guidelines, it is nonetheless incumbent on every citizen to act with due diligence and responsibility to ensure his/her own good health and safety as well as those of his/her family. 6. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments and trends regarding COVID-19 and issue, as necessary, further information and guidelines. Source: Ministry of Information March 25, 2020: Eritrea cases up to four, commercial flights banned 1. Three passengers who arrived in Asmara from Dubai with flight Air Arebi on Saturday 23 March at 5:00 a.m. LT, were diagnosed positive for COVID-19, today. All three passengers are Eritrean nationals resident in the country. This puts the total number of infected individuals, to-date, to four. The passengers who were on the same flight with the patients and all those who came in physical contact with them have been quarantined. All the patients are receiving necessary treatment at Villagio Hospital (Asmara) and remain in satisfactory condition. 2. In this connection, commercial passenger flights to and from Eritrea will not be allowed from midnight today, (25 March 2020). The ban will remain effective for two weeks until further review. 3. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments and trends regarding COVID-19 and issue, as necessary, further information and guidelines. March 23, 2020: Eritrea issues stricter guidelines Eritrea’s Ministry of Health has issued its third in a series of coronavirus related Public Guidelines. The rules come in the wake of the index case of the pandemic in the county. “... an Eritrean national resident in Norway who flew to Asmara last Saturday, March 21st, was confirmed positive for COVID-19. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment while passengers who travelled on the same Airline were subsequently quarantined,” a statement from the Ministry of information said. The Ministry urged the entire populace to “take utmost precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic and to strictly implement Government guidelines for the safety of their own lives and the country.” The additional guidelines include: 1. Every person should avoid non-essential movement within the city or village of residence as well as travel to other places inside the country. Every person should likewise avoid travel by bus, mini-bus and taxis unless in emergencies. 2. All public gatherings, sport and cultural events that assemble a crowd of more than 10 people are prohibited. Cinemas and night-clubs will remain closed until further notice. Social distancing must be heeded to in other commercial units and centers. 3. Aggregation of more than 10 people at social events (funerals, weddings, mourning, baptism and other gatherings) is banned. 4. Every citizen must observe, and same instruction is being given by religious leaders to the faithful, prayers and associated religious sermons in their homes. 5. All Eritrean nationals living abroad are urged to take all necessary precautionary measures for their own safety, the safety of their families as well as the Eritrean communities. They should also refrain from travelling to Eritrea. 6. Stringent legal measures will be taken on all individuals and commercial enterprises that engage in hoarding and speculative price hikes by misconstruing the precautionary measures that are being taken to safeguard the safety of the Eritrean people and the country. 7. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments regarding COVID-19 and issue additional information and guidelines as necessary. March 21, 2020: Eritrea records index case (Statement) A 39-year old Eritrean national who has permanent residence in Norway arrived at Asmara International Airport at 7:00 a.m. today, March 21st, from Norway with Fly Dubai. The patient exhibited symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the screening process in the airport. He was quarantined promptly and diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after subsequent tests at the National Health laboratory. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment. March 18, 2020: Eritrea national exams underway Eritrea like most countries across the continent is taking precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is however going on with academic activity relative to the National School Leaving Examination 2019/2020 which started on Wednesday 18 March across the country. A statement from the Ministry of Education quoted Dr. Bisrat Gebru, Director of the National Testing Center, as confirming that “the examination will continue until the 23rd of this month, and will include 13 fields of studies. “Dr. Bisrat also indicated that a total of 14,960 students including 7,149 females are sitting in the examination that is being conducted in 8 testing stations.” The director further disclose that the parallel examination that was given in the International Eritrean Community Schools in Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been halted due to the coronavirus outbreak. Eritrea, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda are the few countries in the East Africa / Horn of Africa region to have managed to keep out the COVID-19 pandemic so far. March 17, 2020: Coronavirus-free Eritrea bans all internal, external travel Eritrea’s Ministry of Health also issued additional guidelines to all nationals & expatriates residing in the country. They have not recorded any case yet even though neighbours Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea have one, one and six cases respectively – as at March 18. The Sudan case has resulted in death. The guidelines basically bans all travels within and outside of the country. 1. Every person should refrain from internal & foreign travel unless this is for extremely urgent & unavoidable purposes; 2. Every person must avoid, in as much as this is possible, public gatherings; 3. Foreign travel from & to Eritrea has diminished significantly on the basis of the MoH guidelines issued last week. This will be bolstered further henceforth to fully restrict travel from, and to, Eritrea except in urgent & unavoidable circumstances March 12, 2020: Eritrea’s coronavirus rules: Chinese, Italians, Iranians to be quarantined Eritrea’s Health Ministry has issued guidelines relative to the recent coronavirus outbreak. The March 11 statement addresses local and international audiences in the areas of education and of entry into the Horn of Africa. The statement says persons originating from or with recent travel history to four virus-impacted countries will be quarantined. The countries are China, Italy, South Korea and Iran. Even though the government through the ministry has announced a quarantine, according to the Africa Disease Control Center based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Eritrea was among a handful African countries that do not have the capacity to test for the virus. Eritrea is not the only country resorting to quarantining persons from or connected to particular countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC; announced similar measure for Germans, Italians, French and Chinese. Uganda has also announced quarantine for persons from 16 high-risk nations. The Ministry confirmed that there was no case recorded in the country so far adding that since the country was “linked by land, air, and sea with several countries affected by the disease…. (it was) urgent and imperative for Eritrea to take precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak and spread of the disease as well as to prepare for all possible scenarios. The closest neighbour of Eritrea to have recorded a case is Egypt, the first African country to record a case and a death. It currently has Africa’s highest infection rate with over 50 confirmed cases. In view of these facts, the Ministry of Health issues the following guidelines: 1. Continuous sensitization campaigns will be disseminated through the various local media outlets in order to provide timely and full information to the general public. These announcements must be followed with due diligence. 2. In view of the potential gravity of the situation and for the sake of their own safety as well as the safety of the Eritrean people, the Ministry of Health urges all nationals and foreigners who may have plans to travel to, and from Eritrea, to postpone their plans on their own volition. 3. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments earnestly to assess occurrence, rate and extent of contagion, and other vital parameters and symptoms of the epidemic. It will accordingly issue appropriate announcements and guidelines. 4. Visitors who originate directly from, or who have transited through, China, Italy, South Korea and Iran will be quarantined.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:50:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) stats: virus-free quartet, most impacted nation per region are four African countries that have not recorded a case of coronavirus as at midday GMT of April 2. 49 countries have officially recorded cases. The death toll had passed 200 whiles recoveries were also rising. The region with the highest virus-free countries being southern Africa where Comoros and Lesotho have yet to confirm cases. South Sudan in East Africa and Sao Tome and Principe in Central Africa are also virus-free. Most impacted nations per region (as of April 2): The basic records are referenced from the African Union’s Africa Center for Disease Control, Africa CDC we also prioritize tallies from trusted national sources. Southern Africa = South Africa; 1,380 cases, 5 deaths, 50 recoveries East Africa = Mauritius; 169 cases, 7 deaths, 0 recoveries West Africa = Burkina Faso; 288 cases, 16 deaths, 50 recoveries Central Africa = Cameroon; 306 cases, 7 deaths, 10 recoveries North Africa = Algeria; 986 cases, 86 deaths, 61 recoveries As of April 2; Algeria toppled Egypt to become the most impacted North African country The classifications are based on where the countries are located especially in the case of countries that belong to two different blocs. Experts have stressed that it is only a matter of time before these countries likely detect cases even though much of the continent is closing borders to combat spread and improve containment of confirmed cases. The eight virus-free group comprises the following: 1. Sao Tome and Principe 2. Comoros 3. Lesotho 4. South SudanFri, 03 Apr 2020 11:20:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)‘Kokoro’ is celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s secret ingredient Nobu Matushisa is arguably one of the most famous global names associated with high-end, innovative Japanese cuisine. Food lovers and celebrities flock to his restaurants which span the US, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. The 70-year-old is best known for combining traditional Japanese fare with a Peruvian influence, and he’s the creator of world famous dishes such as the much-copied miso black cod. Chef Nobu’s signature dish of miso black cod Inspiring others During a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he frequently travels to oversee operations at his Dubai venue, Nobu told Inspire Middle East’s, Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham, how he feels about other restaurants replicating his signature dish. “I’m so much honoured that people have copied my recipe,” he says. “It means guests like it – it’s good food. So, automatically it inspires all of the world and I’m so proud of myself.” Business with Robert De Niro Nobu opened his first restaurant in 1987, in Beverly Hills, and less than a decade later he became a business partner of Hollywood actor Robert De Niro. Nobu and De Niro have been business partners for over 20 years Nobu spoke about their relationship with enthusiasm, saying: “his philosophy is my philosophy.” The duo expanded into the hotel business in 2013 and have a Saudi Arabian property in the works. “We do business all over the world. He is a good partner and a good friend,” Nobu added. Kokoro: It’s all about the hospitality Despite his achievements, Nobu humbly attributes his brand’s success to using the finest ingredients available and “cooking from the heart.” World famous chef Nobu Matushisa prepares a dish in his Dubai restaurant “I am Japanese, and I like to introduce all the Japanese culture, the passion, or as the Japanese say, the ‘kokoro,‘” he explains. Kokoro is a Japanese word that refers to the combination of the heart, mind, spirit and soul, and according to Nobu, it best describes his approach to cooking and hosting. The entrepreneur says that working with kokoro, making his guests feel happy and at ease, is more important than receiving any accolade. “I’m not looking for a Michelin star. The guests who come and make reservations, they want to enjoy the food and, especially, my way [of cooking],” he says. “When the customer comes to the restaurant, I like to see [their] smiling faces. I like them to stay like they’re at home.” SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: OCEANIC OFFERINGS Chef Bader from Kuwait shared his recipe for mussel sliders with tartare sauce. EMBED: Abdalla from Jordan posed with this impressive catch whilst at Mina fish market in Abu Dhabi. EMBED: Oluwatobi from Nigeria enjoyed an evening of fine dining at Nobu’s Dubai restaurant. EMBED:, 03 Apr 2020 11:09:16 +0000editorial@africanews.com Nigeria's tally at 190, Buhari briefed, lockdown 'brutality' criticized 3: Buhari briefed, Nigeria’s case tally update as of April 3 stood at 190 according to the Nigeria Center for Disease control, NCDC. Six new cases in Osun brought their tally to 20 with 98 in Lagos and 38 in Abuja. Twenty have been discharged with two deaths. President Buhari was on Thursday briefed by a finance team on the implications of the coronavirus on the economy. The president received among others, the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank governor, Minister of Petroleum Resources and head of the national petroleum body, NNPC. Daughter of the president Hanan Buhari was also cleared after entering quarantine when she returned from the United Kingdom two weeks ago. Her mother tweeted that she had finally rejoined the family on Thursday evening. The incidence of security forces abusing people while enforcing the lockdown has been criticised by rights group Amnesty International. The group is urging security agencies not to “abuse their powers” when it comes to enforcing movement restrictions in parts of the country. The army has asked people to report excesses by its men by providing contacts via its social media handles. The police chief also warned officers to behave “humanely, tactfully and professionally”, stressing that conduct of officers would be monitored closely. As at 11:00 am 3rd April, there are 190 confirmed cases 20 discharged 2 deaths For a breakdown of cases by states- Currently; Lagos- 98 FCT- 38 Osun- 20 Oyo- 8 Akwa Ibom- 5 Ogun- 4 Edo- 4 Kaduna- 4 Bauchi- 3 Enugu- 2 Ekiti- 2 Rivers-1 Benue- 1— NCDC (@NCDCgov) April 3, 2020 April 2: Govt knocks Soyinka, NCDC allocates Jack Ma’s donation When literary giant and Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka criticized the federal government for imposing a lockdown on two states and Abuja, there was a Twitter debate as to his locus in the issue whiles maintaining that he reserved the right to his opinions. The presidency responded to Soyinka’s critique in a press statement signed by Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu. Part of the statement read: “Prof Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books, and plays for theatre. He is of course entitled to his opinions… but they cannot – and should not – be judged as professional expertise in this matter.” The statement went on to cite how lockdowns in these times have become a key measure employed strategically by governments in the interest of public interest and health. “Perhaps Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic, after this emergency is over. In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis,” the statement concluded. Nigeria’s case tally update as of April 1: Twenty-three new cases reported; 9 in Lagos, 7 in the FCT (Abuja), 5 in Akwa Ibom, 1 in Kaduna and 1 in Bauchi State. As at 08:00 pm 1st April there are 174 confirmed cases. Nine have been discharged with two deaths The Nigeria Disease Control Center has meanwhile acknowledged receipt of a coronavirus donation by CEO of Ali Baba, Jack Ma. The NCDC has since allocated the package to all states across the country. April 1: Cases rise to 139, governor Makinde speaks As at close of day March 31, 2020; confirmed cases in Nigeria stood at 139 with 82 of those in Lagos. The commercial hub is enforcing a lockdown imposed by President Buhari to help arrest spread of the virus. Total tallies are 139 confirmed cases, 9 discharged, 2 deaths. For a breakdown of cases by states in real time Currently; Lagos- 82 FCT- 28 Oyo- 8 Osun- 5 Ogun- 4 Kaduna- 3 Enugu- 2 Edo- 2 Bauchi- 2 Ekoti- 1 Rivers-1 Benue- 1 Meanwhile in southwestern Oyo State, governor Seyi Makinde who recently tested positive for COVID-19 has explained why he is in principle not for a total lockdown. Four states in the region are on total lockdown which has brought to the fore calls for same to be applied but Makinde says Oyo will consider a lockdown on facts and with the wider public interest in mind. Speaking in an interview, Makinde said: “If you ask people not to come out, you lock down the market places, there are people who what they sell today – the profit from today’s activities is what they will eat tomorrow. “There are plenty people like that within our environment. So, are there alternatives available to us? Can we do selective lockdowns? I think, everything is on the table but it has to follow a logical pattern & it will need the input of experts. We are not just going to lockdown because everyone is locking down. “I have been watching CNN and the most successful place right now in containing this is the Czech Republic. And one of the things they brought out is that they made a law that if you must leave your house, you must wear a mask. It may be that route for us to go. “I have asked them to start evaluating that. If we must make that law and say everybody that must go out must wear a mask, then, how about those who cannot afford it. Can we make masks locally? Can we get our artisans and our tailors to commit to that with the govt supporting?” he said. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 30: Buhari signs lockdown regulations, cases rise to 131 President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the Covid-19 Regulations 2020 to declare Covid-19 as a “dangerous infectious disease.” A statement from the presidency noted that the president had signed the regulations “in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.” A spokesman, said the regulations, effective March 30, 2020, “also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction / Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.” The government’s chief lawyer, Attorney General Abubakar Malami, dismissed a reported legal challenge on the propriety of Buhari’s lockdown orders of March 29. He said the quarantine act empowered the president to restrict movement when a “dangerous disease” breaks out. According to lockdown rules, Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs during these restrictions, “exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations,” the spokesman stressed. Meanwhile the official tally in the country has risen to 131 as of March 30. Twenty new cases of were reported; 13 in Lagos, 4 in FCT, 2 in Kaduna and 1 in Oyo State. Lagos now accounts for 81 of the overall infections. Twenty new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 13 in Lagos, 4 in FCT, 2 in Kaduna and 1 in Oyo State As at 09:00 pm 30th March there are 131 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria with 2 deaths— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 30, 2020 Other major highlights covered below are: Buhari signs lockdown regulations, cases rise to 131 Adenuga donates 1.5 billion naira, Senators donate 50% salaries Buhari delivers nationwide address Buhari briefed, el-Rufai tests positive Nigeria’s testing up by 32% after Jack Ma’s donation Elumelu’s UBA makes $14m donation Ex-VP Atiku donates $135,000 towards relief fund Bauchi State governor tests positive Lagos closes all shops and markets for a week President tests negative, chief of staff infected Nigeria shuts all borders, cabinet meetings suspended Lagos state battling chloroquine poisoning Nigeria celebrates female doctor who identified index case March 30: Adenuga donates 1.5 billion naira, Seneators donate 50% salaries More private sector donations continue to pour into Nigeria’s coronavirus combat efforts. The latest is from Mike Adenuga a billionaire businessman who is into telecoms industry. Adenuga on Monday announced a 1.5 billion contribution to be shared between the federal government and Lagos State government. One billion to the federal government and 500 million to Lagos government. Adenuga is owner of Globacom, Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator, which has a presence in Ghana and Benin. Aliko Dangote, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Ahmed Tinubu are some individuals that have made donations towards the COVID-19 fight. Meanwhile, local media portals have reported that Senators have pledged half of their salaries towards the coronavirus fight. In a statement on Monday, Godiya Akwashiki, senate spokesman, said the monthly contribution would be sustainable until the country is declared free of the disease. Akwashiki said the senate is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that the country is free of the disease. “After due consultations following a keen review of the national efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria… “... the Senate wishes to announce that from March, 2020, Distinguished Senators will be donating 50 per cent of their salaries to these efforts to stop the spread of the disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, in our country,” he said. “This monthly contribution from the Upper Legislative Chamber will be sustained until Nigeria is declared safe from the ravages of this deadly disease,” he added. March 29: Buhari’s first COVID-19 address Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has given his first coronavirus address to the nation touching on a myriad of issues from containment efforts, social and economic intervention and the way forward. A major takeaway was the imposition of a lockdown on two impacted states, Lagos and Osun and also in the Federal Capital territory, FCT. The relevant part of his address on the measure is as below: “Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. “This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States. “All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period. “The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed. “We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States. “This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.” March 28: Buhari brief on response, Kaduna governor tests positive Nigeria’s Health Minister and head of the Center for Disease Control, NCDC, were in Abuja on Saturday to brief president Buhari on the response activities and critical next steps in the fight against the coronavirus. Minister Osagie Ohanire and NCDC Director General Chikwe Ihekweazu have been at the forefront of Nigeria’s response to the pandemic. From the issuance of press conferences to appearance on television to respond to critical concerns. As at close of day March 28, Nigeria’s case tally had reached 97 with over half of the cases in Lagos. One death has been recorded while three patients have been discharged in Lagos alone. Also on Saturday, the northern Kaduna State recorded its first case with the infection of state governor Nasir el-Rufai. He becomes the second governor to be affected after Bala Mohammed of Bauchi tested positive last week. Bauchi State has two cases, same as Osun, Edo and Enugu States. Ogun has three, seven in Oyo and 16 in the capital Abuja. Four other states have a case each – Kaduna, Rivers, Ekiti and Benue. We have expanded the number of labs with the capacity to test for #COVID19 to 6 with the inclusion of the Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Ibadan Tomorrow, we will be in Abakaliki to set up another lab as we quickly ramp up #COVID19 testing capacity in Nigeria— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 28, 2020 March 27: Tests rise after Jack Ma’s donation Nigeria reports that receipt of donation of medical supplies from Chinese businessman and CEO of Ali Baba; Jack Ma, had shot its testing capacity up by 32%. Africa’s most populous nation had carried out a paltry 262 tests for the virus as at March 25, local media portal The Cable reported citing available data they had seen. The sum is insignificant compared to South Africa which had carried out over 20,000 tests with a tally of over 1000 cases. As at March 26, Nigeria had 65 confirmed cases with majority in the commercial capital, Lagos. The portal today reported that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed a spike in testing after the donation which arrived in the country on March 24. The donation included 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields for each African country. Out of Nigeria’s total tally of 262 tests, 84 tests were carried out on Wednesday alone, indicating a daily increase of 32 percent done by the end of March 25. Tests are now run in 23 states out of the initial 16. COVID-19: NIGERIAN AIR FORCE AIRLIFTS MEDICAL MATERIALS DONATED BY JACK MA FOUNDATION FROM LAGOS TO ABUJA— Nigerian Air Force (@NigAirForce) March 25, 2020 March 26: Cases now at 65 Lagos continues to be what could be termed as the heartbeat of the coronavirus in Nigeria. Out of the 14 new cases announced ny the National Center for Disease Control, Lagos had twelve with the other one in Abuja and the other in Bauchi. Ogun state is the only other state with more than one case. Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Osun, Rivers and Bauchi all have recorded a case each. In the case of Bauchi local media outlets reported that a second case had been confirmed by the state government as at Thursday. The federal government disclosed today that inter-state travel was to be banned as a control measure. Government has shut all land and air borders but not declared a lockdown. The United Bank for Africa Group on Thursday also announced a donation of $14 million towards the coronavirus fight in the country. Whiles the majority of the money will benefit each state state in the country, an amount of 1.5 billion naira is also to the 19 other African countries where the bank operates, by supplying relief materials, critical care facilities, and financial support to Governments. For his part, UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu said: “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global pandemic must bring citizens, governments & business leaders together – & quickly. “As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria & Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various Governments, in stemming the spread. “We commend the efforts of governments & we‘re keen to partner & contribute our resources to the collective effort, that’ll ensure the response to the pandemic is swift & effective.” N1 billion to Lagos, Nigeria N500 million to Abuja, Nigeria N1 billion to the remaining 35 states in Nigeria N1.5 billion to UBA’s presence countries in Africa N1 billion for Medical Centres with equipment & supplies Free Telemedicine call centre facility— UBA Group (@UBAGroup) March 26, 2020 March 26: Bauchi records second case The only state in northern Nigeria with a confirmed coronavirus case has recorded a new case. Bauchi state now has two cases according to Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aliyu Maigoro, who made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday. He said the second case is a 62-year-old patient. The state governor Senator Bala Mohammed confirmed this week that he had the virus and is currently in self-isolation. President Buhari tested negative but his chief of staff who recently visited Germany, Abba Kyari, returned a positive result. So of former veep Atiku Abubakar has also tested positive while Buhari’s daughter is in self-isolation – as a precautionary measure – after returning from the United Kingdom. March 26: Six patients recover, cases up to 51 Nigeria is set to release six coronavirus patients after they fully recovered from the infection. All six persons are in Lagos State, the hardest hit by the disease. It will bring to eight the total number of recoveries. The disease control outfit said as at Wednesday March 25, the total number of cases stood at 51 with two recoveries and one death. Meanwhile there are concerns over the relatively woeful number of testing that has been conducted across the territory. A report by the local newspaper The Cable says a total of 178 tests have been run in Nigeria as a whole. Lagos alone has undertaken 88 of the figure with 52 in Abuja, the federal capital territory. The Federal Government announces plans to ban inter-state travel and possibly close down all motor parks as part of measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed disclosed the plans this afternoon. For a breakdown of cases by states in real time, please see Currently; Lagos- 32 FCT- 10 Ogun- 3 Ekiti- 1 Oyo- 1 Edo- 1 Bauchi-1 Osun-1 Rivers-1 Total: 51 confirmed cases#COVID19Nigeria— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 25, 2020 March 25: Former Veep donates 50 million naira Nigeria’s former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, has made a donation towards the country’s coronavirus relief fund. The 50 million naira ($135,000) donation was announced this in a statement he issued on Wednesday. According to him, the donation is being made on his behalf by Priam Group to form part of the stimulus package the federal government should create for Nigerians. He said: “I commend all all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. I further call on more more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times. “To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief Fund that will form part of the stimulus package.” Atiku confirmed earlier this week that one of the sons had tested positive for the virus and was currently receiving treatment in Abuja. March 24: Lagos alerts to potential mass infection The Lagos State government in Nigeria has announced a potential case of mass infection with respect to coronavirus. A message posted on their Twitter handle said a current patient had attended a big entertainment event that took place mid-March. “I hereby notify you that all participants at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) held on 14th March at Eko Hotels may have come in contact with one of the confirmed cases in Lagos and are most likely to have been exposed to #COVID19 Infection.” The message gave guidelines to all attendees including to observe strict self-isolation, contact the authorities when they notice any symptoms. The said hotel complex on Monday announced a partial closure which it called a scaling down of operations to minimize coronavirus risk. The award event in question, AMVCA, is an annual accolade presented by Multichoice recognizing outstanding achievement in television and film. The inaugural Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards ceremony was held in Lagos, Lagos State in Nigeria on 9 March 2013. Attendees at the said event are therefo advised to: 1️⃣observe strict self- isolation. 2️⃣ call our #TollFree line 08000corona if they notice any of the #COVID19 related symptoms 3️⃣ Let’s #TakeResponsibility by practicing #SocialDistancing to prevent the spread of the virus.WHO— LSMOH (LSMOH) March 24, 2020 March 24: President tests negative, chief of staff infected Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took a coronavirus test and was declared negative by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), multiple local news portals have reported. The test was carried out on Monday and the results delivered to the president “this morning in Abuja,” the local news portal THISDAY reported. His chief of staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, however, tested positive for the disease which precipitated the need to test the president. Kyari tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday after he had travelled to Germany on Saturday, March 7th to meet with officials of Siemens in Munich on the Nigerian electricity expansion programme. He returned on March 14th, but did not show any symptoms. Twenty-four hours later he started showing symptoms following which he voluntarily submitted himself for testing, the results of which were delivered yesterday. He has since gone into absolute isolation following the test result. March 23: Nigeria imposes partial lockdown Nigeria’s federal government has announced a raft of measures aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic in the country, Africa’s most populous. The new measures were released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. The new directive borders on border closures, a strong stay-away advice for residents of the administrative and commercial capitals and suspension of the weekly cabinet meeting. A presidential aide in charge of new media, Tolu Ogunlesi shared major highlights of the regulations that are to be implemented immediately by relevant authorities. All of Nigeria’s land borders, which have hitherto been under partial closure, shall now be closed for human traffic for four weeks effective 23rd March, 2020 All Abuja and Lagos residents are strongly advised to stay at home, avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-essential outings, until further advice is given. Suspension of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meetings until further notice. Postponement of the meeting of the Council of State scheduled for Thursday 26th March, 2020. In order to protect Federal Civil and Public Servants, a circular is to be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), which shall direct on actions to be taken immediately. The total ban on international travels shall commence at 12.00 midnight tonight at all our airports. March 22: Nigerians celebrate medic who identified index case Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state government on Saturday (March 21) revealed the identity of the doctor who suspected the index case of coronavirus in Nigeria. The state ministry of health in a series of tweets appreciated the doctor, Amarachukwu Allison, whose vigilance and brilliance it said “led to the early diagnosis and rapid containment of the first Covid-19 infection. Allison is a doctor at Lafarge Plc, a cement manufacturer. The disclosure comes almost a month after the index case, of an Italian, who arrived in Nigeria on February 24, was confirmed by Lagos State and the federal government. The Italian, who is a consultant with Lafarge, reportedly spent the night at an undisclosed hotel near Lagos airport and moved to the company’s facility in Ewekoro, Ogun state, the next morning. He was said to have spent the night at Lafarge’s facility when he fell sick and was taken to the company’s medical centre where preliminary diagnosis began. After testing positive for the disease, he was subsequently quarantined at the Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba, Lagos state. He has since tested positive and has been discharged by the Lagos State medical outfit that treated him. Heroine medic responds via Twitter: Responding to the Osun government’s tweet, Allison thanked God “for intuition and knowledge” and for the safety of her teammates. “I want to thank God Almighty for intuition and knowledge and also for the safety of my teammates and I who worked together at the time,” she said. “My special prayers to health workers around the world who have paid the supreme sacrifice and to all families who have lost loved ones. To all unsung heroes, thank you.” She effectively enters the league of Stella Adadevoh, a Nigerian medic celebrated in the country for having kept out the Ebola epidemic from the country years back. Adadevoh helped curb the spread of Ebola virus in Nigeria by placing the patient zero, Patrick Sawyer, in quarantine despite pressures from the Liberian government. I want to thank God Almighty for intuition and knowledge and also for the safety of my teammates and I who worked together at the time. Special thanks to Lafarge, NCDCgov OGCovid19update LSMOH Fmohnigeria IntlSOS for their prompt and professional— Amarachukwu Karen Allison (mzGolden17) March 21, 2020 March 20: Chloroquine posioning in Lagos An official of Nigeria’s Lagos State government has disclosed that hospitals are receiving patients suffering from chloroquine poisoning. Oreoluwa Finnih, a Senior Special Assistant to Lagos governor has thus urged the public to desist from using the anti-malaria drug as a measure of preventing coronavirus infection. In Nigeria reports indicate that the drug’s price has been hiked since the news broke. Chloroquine has been gaining traction on social media since some news agencies reported it had been approved for the COVID-19 pandemic. The outlets cited U.S. president Donald Trump as making the claims. America’s Food and Drugs Authority, FDA, has since disclaimed the assertion saying the drug has not been cleared for any such purpose. AN URGENT APPEAL: People are hoarding and buying chloroquine out of panic. People who need chloroquine for other illnesses may die due to this madness. Chloroquine pack yesterday 8,000 naira Today 25,000 naira. This is insane. Govt must act NOW. Pls RT this for someone to act.— #OurFavOnlineDoc ? (@DrOlufunmilayo) March 20, 2020 March 18: Nigeria bans travelers from 13 countries Nigeria’s federal government announced on Wednesday that it will ban travellers from 13 countries as a measure of controlling the coronavirus pandemic. The affected countries include China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The measure will however take effect on Saturday March 21. Nigeria joins a number of countries across the continent that have announced travel bans on countries with high coronavirus cases. Some countries have used reported cases to activate the bans. Ghana for example says travellers from countries with 100 or more cases will be refused entry. Nigeria currently has three confirmed cases, one of which has been discharged after recovery. The index patient, an Italian, is still receiving treatment. Citizens had on social media piled pressure on government to follow the trend and bar certain countries from entry into Africa’s most populous nation. All three cases are in the commercial capital of Lagos. The Nigerian Government has restricted entry to travellers from these countries: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, U.S, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland.— Ministry of Interior (@MinOfInteriorNG) March 19, 2020 March 17: Nigeria confirms third coronavirus case Nigeria has recorded a new coronavirus case in the commercial capital Lagos. The state government confirmed the case which involves a Nigerian woman who arrived from the United Kingdom last Friday. Akin Abayomi, the state’s commissioner of health, disclosed the development at a press conference, on Tuesday. The National Center for Disease Control said the patient developed symptoms during her 14-day self-isolation “She is clinically stable & is being treated at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos,” the NCDC quoted the Minister as saying. The new case is presently the only case because the first two patients had fully recovered and been discharged. The current case is independent of the index patient, an Italian who flew into Lagos on a Turkish Airline flight. The second patient was connected to the index patient. Most Nigerians on social media have been calling on the government to close the airspace as a measure of control. A number of African countries have closed their borders including the banning of public gatherings. Nigeria has yet to announce any such measures. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country has been on high alert since the first case. Authorities especially in Lagos along with the disease control outfit, have been giving regular updates on developments. The Honourable Minister Fmohnigeria has announced the 3rd case of #COVID19 in NigeriaThe case is a Nigerian who returned to Lagos from UK & developed symptoms during her 14-day self-isolationShe is clinically stable & is being treated at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos— NCDC (NCDCgov) March 17, 2020Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) DRC locks down expats zone, Malawi index cases, Rwanda arrests soldiers coronavirus was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019. Cases have since been confirmed in over scores of countries across the globe. The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic. WHO chief Tedros Ghebereyesus said whiles China had a robust health system to detect and control, his outfit remained concerned about the virus entering country’s with weak systems. With thirty-six African countries currently with recorded cases, governments continue to roll out increasingly robust measures to halt the spread and to contain the pandemic which has claimed a number of lives. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus and SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent. There is a flurry of restrictions across Africa as governments take measures to deal with the outbreak. SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa II Rwanda extends lockdown Cameroon president sets up solidarity fund Botswana president tests negative Burundi records index cases Ghana records jumbo recoveries Sierra Leone records index case Botswana records index cases, first death Uganda imposes lockdown Kenya wants 50 MPs tested, varied lockdown experiences South Africa cases hit 1,280; cases rise in East Africa Rwanda launches pro-poor support Lesotho, Zimbabwe announce lockdowns, Kenya enforces curfew Lesotho lockdown starts Saturday South Africa lockdown starts, cases rise in East Africa SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa I April 3: Malawi’s index case, A suburb of DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, will be put on lockdown for two-weeks starting Monday, Governor Gentini Ngobila announced on Thursday. Gombe, an area that has a big expatriate population is believed to the the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus crisis. Only medical and other essential service providers will be allowed movement during the measure. DRC currently has 134 cases concentrated in the capital. Governor Ngobila had last week abandoned a three-day total lockdown fearing price hikes and insecurity. Malawi on Thursday also announced its first three cases of COVID-19, becoming the fiftieth African country to be infected. The cases involved a woman with India travel history, her relative and house worker are the two other patients. Meanwhile in Rwanda, the army has confirmed that three soldiers are being probed over allegations of rape in a suburb of the capital Kigali whiles there were on COVID-19 lockdown enforcement duties. Residents of Nyarutarama have been telling the military prosecution office that the soldiers also beat up male residents and stole from them, a BBC reporter in Kigali says. One of the victims told journalists that on 26 March an armed soldier forced his way into her home and beat up her husband, when she tried intervene the soldier raped her. April 2: Rwanda extends lockdown, Cameroon fund etc. Rwanda has extended a strict lockdown imposed to help curb the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The measure was announced last month (March 21) and was due to expire on 19 April. The lockdown was to end this weekend but was extended by the cabinet on Wednesday after the number of confirmed cases climbed from 17 to 82 in two weeks, the BBC said. Under the regulations the populace was banned from leaving their homes with the usual exception covering essential services. Security forces were deployed to enforce the measure as government also rolled out a foot stimulus package for the vulnerable in parts of the country. Over in Cameroon, President Paul Biya on Thursday announced a Solidarity Fund to fight the pandemic, state-run CRTV reported. Government allocated a seed money of 1 billion CFA. Businessman, Baba Ahmadou Danpullo has donated a cheque of 100 million to the fund, the broadcaster added. Cameroon is Central Africa’s most impacted country with 284 cases, seven deaths and 10 recoveries as of April 2. In Botswana, president Eric Masisi was cleared to resume his duties in his office after working from home for the past two weeks due to self-isolation. He tested negative having taken a test as a precautionary measure after visiting Namibia on official duties last month. At the time of his visit, Namibia had recorded cases but Botswana was virus-free. The country now has four confirmed cases with one death. April 1: Burundi index case, Botswana death etc. Burundi’s Health Minister Thadée Ndikumana announced on Tuesday that two nationals had tested positive for the virus after travelling from Rwanda and Dubai. The result leaves only South Sudan as the uninfected country in the East Africa region. There had been doubts over Burundi’s claim that no-one in the country had coronavirus. The president’s spokesperson said the nation was an exception because it put “God first” reports said. Botswana also announced its first coronavirus death barely 24-hours after after confirming its first cases. The government said the victim was an elderly woman who was discovered to have had COVID-19 after her death. Vice-President Slumber Tsogwane said the 79-year-old had travelled to neighbouring South Africa and on returning home she had developed a fever. The woman was put under mandatory quarantine at the hospital where she died four days later. The country is currently in a 28-day lockdown imposed by president Eric Masisi to help curb spread of the pandemic. In the southern Africa region Lesotho, Comoros and Malawi have yet to record cases. The Ghana Health Service on Tuesday disclosed that some 3 persons out of the 161 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Ghana have tested negative after several tests. According to the service, some additional 31 persons who were under mandatory quarantine have significantly responded to treatment, shown no symptoms and have been discharged from admission. They will be under home management, pending several other tests to confirm their recovery status. Information on the GHS official COVID-19 update page said, “Three (3) of the confirmed cases have fully recovered and reverted to negative status for COVID-19 after repeat test following recovery from symptoms. “As at 31st March 2020, additional thirty-one (31) confirmed cases have significantly improved with no symptoms and have been discharged from admission for home care pending repetition of laboratory tests. This adds to the 18 that were earlier being managed from home and bring the number of cases on home care to forty-nine (49),” the statement read in part. March 31: Botswana records cases, Uganda imposes 14-day lockdown Botswana’s Minister of Health and Wellness has this evening announced that the country has three cases of COVID 19. During a special bulletin the Minister Lemogang Kwape said the three patients are 2males and a female, who had travelled from Thailand and the United Kingdom respectively. Kwape further indicated the COVID 19 patients are already in isolation undergoing treatment. Botswana is the one of the two countries in the Southern Africa bloc which was still a green zone, which had not recorded any positive cases of COVID 19. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched a mass screening programme for coronavirus. South Africa is Africa’s most impacted country with over 30,000 tests and 1,280 cases as at March 30. On Monday evening, the president said 10,000 field workers would be visiting homes to screen people – and those found with symptoms would be quarantined either in their homes or in hospitals. Mr Ramaphosa said the programme was a “new phase” in the fight against the spread of the virus. Uganda joined South Africa and others in the lockdown category of countries after president Museveni spelt out raft of measures aimed at helping halt the spread of the virus. March 30: Kenya wants MPs tested, lockdown experiences Kenya’s lower parliamentary chamber wants some 50 lawmakers to be tested for coronavirus amid fears they may have contracted the virus from a member who recently tested positive, the Daily Nation newspaper reports Local media reports say the parliament has submitted the names of MPs and parliamentary staff it wants tested to the health ministry. It wants them placed on mandatory quarantine as well. The MP who tested positive is believed to have contracted the virus from a county governor who had returned from Germany on a working visit. Kenya currently has 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with two deaths. Meanwhile Ghana and Zimbabwe joined the list of African countries enforcing lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Zimbabwe is in a nationwide lockdown like in South Africa and Namibia. Zimbabwe has seven cases with one death. Over in Ghana where confirmed cases are gone past 150, government has placed lockdowns on two major regions. The Greater Accra and Ashanti regions where cases have been recorded. South Africa’s lockdown enforcement has been the subject of widespread criticism after security agents were seen assaulting unarmed citizens some of them within their compounds. The country has over 1,200 cases. Pensioners are as at Monday morning queuing across the country for their allowances. The Ministry of Defense announced that it was ready to fall on other reserve forces to complement the current deployment. Over in Kenya, there were clashes between the populace and security forces over the enforcement of a night time curfew that started last Friday. Multiple regional states in Ethiopia have banned transport as cases recently spread to Oromia and Amhara regions. Ethiopia has 23 cases presently. Nigeria’s Lagos State along with Osun state and the capital Abuja have been put on lockdown by the federal government. Nigeria has 111 cases with over half in Lagos. Abuja is the next most impacted. About 12 other states have recorded cases with two in the north – Bauchi and Kaduna. March 29: South Africa tally hits 1,200; cases rise across Africa The South African government has reported that as at today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 1280. This is an increase of 93 from the previously reported cases. Guateng and Western Cape provinces remained the most impacted with 548 and 310 cases respectively. “It is with sadness that we announce the second death of a patient who had tested positive for COVID-19. The 74 year old male had been in ICU and ventilation in a private hospital in Ladysmith. “He had travelled to Kruger National Park with his family and came back with flu like symptoms. He was confirmed to be COVID-19 positive on the 27th March 2020,” the statement signed by Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize read. Cases continue to rise across Africa. Uganda recorded 10 cases over the weekend bringing the tally to 33. Ethiopia’s tally now stands at 21. Kenya now has 42 confirmed cases, the Health Minister confirmed on Sunday. Eritrea recorded a 100% raise in cases from six to 12 as at Sunday. Nairobi County continues to lead with 31 cases of those who have so far tested positive, followed by Kilifi with six, Mombasa with three, while Kajiado and Kwale with one each. Out of the 42 positive cases, 24 are male while 18 are female. Government has announced that the ministry’s medical teams have embarked on mass testing for all persons who arrived in the country last week, and are currently under mandatory quarantine in various designated hotels and government facilities. March 28: Rwanda, Lagos State support vulnerable The Rwandan government on Saturday, March 28, kick started a support initiative aimed at vulnerable families adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. Rwanda currently has 60 confirmed cases. President Paul Kagame had in a national address late last week highlighted the resolve of government to do everything possible to support vulnerable Rwandans during the lockdown citing its social and economic challenges. The hard-hit Rwandans living in urban centres without a salaried income are the most affected. The initiative kicked-off in some parts of the three districts of Kigali, state-run New Times said. The food relief is being drawn from the country’s National Strategic Grain Reserve under the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources which is used in case of food shortage, the portal added. Over in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos, the state government announced an Emergency Food Response as a means of supporting indigenes and the vulnerable. Neighbouring Ekiti State has announced a similar measures. “We are all aware that this is a trying time for our citizens and since the partial drop in economic activities, our government deemed it necessary to reach out to the vulnerable ones in the society,” Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said. For his part, Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, issued a new set of Executive Order with a raft of orders which included reactivating the State’s food bank to support the vulnerable. “I have directed that the Ekiti State Food Bank be reactivated immediately to provide food items to the poor and vulnerable families in our communities. The Task Force will announce the modalities as soon as the process is fully activated. “The State Government will consider providing a stipend to our self-employed citizens whose daily income will be interrupted at this time as subsidy for their loss of income,” the order read in part. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 27: Lesotho to lockdown on Saturday Despite being among Africa’s virus-free nations, Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane, has announced a lockdown starting from Saturday, March 28, South African portal Eye Witness News reports. The Mountain Kingdom landlocked by South Africa has not recorded any confirmed COVID-19 cases. It relies on South Africa to help with testing as it does not have the capacity to do so. But on Friday, Ethiopian Airlines delivered coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits, masks, and protective suits donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. The consignment arrived a day earlier than expected. Lesotho’s ambassador to the African Union Mafa Sejanamane said delivery of the consignment was moved forward to ensure that it didn’t clash with South Africa’s national lockdown. Meanwhile South Africa has revised the death toll of two to one after Health Minister Mkhize said one of the two persons announced earlier on Friday did not die of the virus. The lockdown took effect with largely reports of obedience but also defiance in parts of the country leading security forces to make arrests and force others out of the streets. South Africa is Africa’s most impacted country with over 1,000 cases so far. Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa also announced late Friday that the country will go into lockdown from Monday, March 30, in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. So far, the country has recorded five cases and one death, 30-year-old journalist Zororo Makamba. The low number of cases though “need not induce complacency”, Mr Mnangagwa said in an address to the nation. For three weeks from Monday, Zimbabweans will be required to stay at home, except to buy food and access vital health services. The southern African country is allowing the use of the US dollars again, reversing last year’s ban on foreign currencies – a move aimed at supporting the already struggling economy against the effects of coronavirus. Some key headlines you will have details of as you scroll down_ DRC capital Kinshasa readies for first 4-day lockdown South Africa tally hits 927, Kenya records first death Somalia records second case South Africa president tests negative South Africa figures on the rise as lockdown looms Libya and Mali record index cases Sierra Leone tests suspected case, Ivory Coast figures jump Nigeria cases hit 40, South Africa entering national lockdown Cases rise above 1,400 with 40+ deaths South Africa tally hits 274, Botswana president in self-isolation Kenya records eight new case Mozambique records index case Eritrea, Uganda record index cases Africa’s tally heading towards 1,200 March 27: Deaths in SA, lockdown in Kinshasa, South Africa entered a state of lockdown at midnight of March 26, hours later; Africa’s most impacted country have reported the first two deaths from the coronavirus. President Ramaphosa flagged off the lockdown by tasking security forces to be a “force of kindness” and to secure the interest of the 57 million citizens. Already there are reports that people flouting the measure have been arrested. Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize announced on that the two deaths had occurred in the Western Cape province – one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital. He also announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had jumped to more than 1,000, but said the details would be given in a subsequent media briefing. In DR Congo, the capital Kinshasa which is the most impacted part of the country has announced that from Saturday (March 27), the city will be on a four-day lockdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. Residents would then be allowed to stock up on food in the following two days. The same pattern is scheduled to be repeated for the next three weeks. Meanwhile cases are rising across East Africa where Rwanda remains the most impacted with 50 cases as at March 26. Ethiopia recorded four more cases to bring the tally to 16 whiles Uganda now stands at 18. Kenya’s last known tally was 31. March 26: Kenya records death, SA cases shoot Kenya today confirmed its first death from the coronavirus disease with cases now at 31. The deceased was a Kenyan national who returned to the country on March 13 authorities said. Meanwhile with over 20,000 tests South Africa reports that the number of confirmed cases is now over 900. The country enters a 21-day lockdown at midnight March 26. Reports indicate that there is a flurry of business activity as people rush to buy supplies they will need over the period. Everyone, except for key workers like doctors, will be expected to stay at home. Businesses like restaurants and stores selling alcohol will be closed. Others in the medical field, security firms and those selling food will be allowed to stay open. In the streets, armed soldiers will be on patrol to make sure everyone complies, according to a government directive. SA president tests negative, Somalia records second case President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). “The President submitted for testing as a precautionary measure upon the advice of his physicians on Tuesday and received his results last night,” the Presidency said in a statement on Thursday. As Head of State and Chair of the National Command Council (NCC) the President has a rigorous public engagements schedule; and has, during the course of the last few weeks, held numerous meetings with a wide cross section of people from all walks of life. “The Presidency has deemed it necessary to make the test results public to reassure the nation that the President is in good health and continues with his duties,” the statement said. Over in Somalia, the Health Ministry confirmed the second coronavirus case which involved a citizen who returned home from Italy recently. He was not showing symptoms but was tested and is now quarantined. Somalia has the lowest infection rate in a region where Djibouti has 11, Eritrea 4, Kenya 28, Ethiopia 12. South Sudan is virus-free whiles Sudan had two cases at last check with one death. BREAKING: Somalia Ministry of Health confirms second case of #CoronaVirus. The person is a citizen who returned from Italy, and is not showing any symptoms but us being quarantined – Ministry.— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) March 26, 2020 Libya, Guinea-Bissau and Mali record infections Libya, the last country in North Africa has announced its first case of coronavirus. The Centre for Disease Control confirmed the case amid a continued battle between UN-backed government in Tripoli and the Benghazi rebel bloc led by Khalifa Haftar. The country which has been in a state of conflict since 2011 has closed its borders according to orders by the rival governments. Concerns have long been raised about the impact of the virus reaching the country whose health systems have been suffering in the amed conflict that has torn the country apart. Over in West Africa, Mali confirmed its first cases of coronavirus – involving two citizens who returned from France on 12 and 16 March. The patients are a 49-year-old woman from the capital Bamako and a 62-year-old man living in the western city of Kayes, the government said in a statement. The two are currently being treated as contact tracing efforts are carried out. An AP report last week said the country’s under-resourced health system was one of the biggest headaches for authorities as cases continued to spread in the West African region. For now, only Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau are virus-free in West Africa. Guinea-Bissau has registered its first two cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam said on Wednesday. The patients are a Congolese U.N. employee and an Indian citizen, and both have been placed in quarantine, he said, adding that public transport would be suspended to limit the spread of the virus. ?COMMUNIQUE DU GOUVERNEMENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE DU MALI SUR LES PREMIERS CAS DE CORONAVIRUS AU MALI— Gouvernement du MALI (@GouvernementM) March 25, 2020 South Africa cases up as lockdown looms South Africa’s COVID-19 cases have increased to 709 confirmed positive cases as of Wednesday. Speaking to the public broadcaster, the SABC on Wednesday morning, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the latest figures which increased by 155 cases overnight. With 64 new cases, Gauteng led the pack of the provinces with the highest increase. The Western Cape came in second with 61 cases. KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State had 11 and 15 new cases, respectively. The Health Minister says government is expecting an increasing in numbers as tests trickle in. According to the Minister, the COVID-19 test only takes three hours, but it is the moving of specimens between testing centres and labs which maybe causing the delay. Sierra test suspected case, Ivory records ‘boom’ Authorities in Sierra Leone are awaiting test results of a patient who meets the case definition for COVID19. The country is currently virus-free and under a state of public health emergency declared by President Maada Bio on Tuesday. A statement from the Health Ministry said the patient entered Sierra Leone on March 20 having travelled from Congo Republic through Ghana before her arrival. She reported to a local facility with symptoms and was referred to a center where medics put her in isolation and on treatment whiles a test was being run. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast on Tuesday recorded an almost 200% in the number of confirmed cases. Coronavirus cases in the West African country reached 73, government announced. The addition of 48 new cases to 25 as at March 23 means the figure is up by almost 200%. There are 3 recoveries and no death recorded so far. Ivory Coast shoots to third most impacted in the region after Burkina Faso (99) and Senegal (79). Government is enforcing raft of restrictions. Sierra Leone announces suspected case of #COVID19 – Patient currently in isolation and on treatment – Country currently virus-free – Prez announced state of public health emergency today – No lockdown yet, govt enforcing raft of restrictions – Mali, Guinea-Bissau also unaffected— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 24, 2020 South Africa cases not slowing, Nigeria alerts to potential mass infection Nigeria’s Lagos State government says hundreds of people who attended an annual TV awards event in the commercial hub in mid-March could potentially be infected. The State government subsequently announced that all patrons of the Africa Movie Viewers’ Awards at the Eko Hotel should immediately observe strict isolation and report any symptoms to the authorities as and when. “I hereby notify you that all participants at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) held on 14th March at Eko Hotels may have come in contact with one of the confirmed cases in Lagos and are most likely to have been exposed to #COVID19 Infection,” a tweet read. All major coronavirus related news on Nigeria South Africa’s coronavirus cases leapt again to 554 on Tuesday, the most of any country in Africa, as its 57 million people rushed to prepare for an unprecedented lockdown that begins Thursday. Across Africa, 43 of its 54 countries now have cases, with the total at 1,788. Thirteen countries have reported 58 deaths. South Africa has not recorded one. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced the 21-day lockdown. Rwanda and Tunisia earlier announced lockdowns. Determined shoppers made their last runs for supplies as authorities tried to reassure the public that food would not run out. South Africa cases not slowing down as lockdown looms South Africa enters lockdown, Nigeria tally reaches 40 South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day national lockdown as the country’s coronavirus figures surged on Monday to over 400 from 274 as at Sunday. According to the president, the measure will start effectively Thursday March 26. He said the move was to help disrupt the rise of the coronavirus which has been rising since the first case was recorded early this month. “The next few days are crucial. Without decisive action the number of actions will increase. This extremely dangerous for a population like ours. Our fundamental task is to contain the spread of the disease. We must therefore do everything to reduce the overall number of infections. South Africa is currently Africa’s most impacted by the coronavirus. Ramaphosa said all South Africans will have to remain home: “Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except in exceptional circumstances,” he stressed. READ MORE: South Africa declares 21-day national lockdown Nigeria records four new #coronavirus cases, tally now at 40 – Federal govt earlier issued ‘partial lockdown’ via presidential task force – Naija Twitter ‘screaming’ for total lockdown – Lagos leading the tally table – All borders, airports shut – A death recorded today— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 23, 2020 African tally hits 1,400, deaths pass 40 mark The WHO tracing portal as at March 23 put the number of cases at 1,396 with the last known case being in Mozambique, which case was confirmed on March 22. But the figures for some countries are not update for example Nigeria is quoted as having 22 cases at a time the disease control outfit has officially declared 30 confirmed cases. The tally continent-wide thus stands at 1,400 and over with 40 plus deaths. Nigeria, The Gambia and Zimbabwe have reported their first deaths as of today. In all, 43 countries have registered cases with Egypt’s 294 followed by South Africa and Algeria with 274 and 201 respectively. 1,396 confirmed #COVID19 cases in #Africa in 43 countries. There have been a total of 122 recoveries recorded: ??Algeria (65), ??Egypt (42), ??Burkina Faso (5), ??Senegal (5), ??Morocco (3), ??Cote d’Ivoire (1) and ??Nigeria (1).— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 23, 2020 Some other topics of interest below: Zimbabwe records index case Rwanda cases reach 17 Cases in South Africa jump to 202 Togo index patient recovers Gabon records death Cape Verde records index case Niger records index case Nigeria shuts all universities 760+ cases, 17 deaths, 49 recoveries South Africa, Nigeria record increases Mauritius records first cases Africa could be having unreported or underreported cases – WHO boss Zambia, Djibouti, Gambia record index cases Zimbabwe declares COVID-19 national crisis, outlines measures Ethiopia, Kenya record new cases Flurry of restrictions across the continent Nigeria, Rwanda, Burkina Faso record new cases Ethiopia – Ali Baba coronavirus support Ethiopia records jumbo figure in contact tracing Flights banned, borders closed Thirty African countries infected South Africa tally up to 274 South Africa confirmed on Sunday (March 22) that its coronavirus tally had reached 274 out of 9,315 tests run so far. It is the second most impacted country behind Egypt whose figures are inching past 300 mark. Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe all recorded marginal increases today. Ghana now stands at 24, Nigeria at 30 and Zimbabwe confirming its second case. DR Congo also reported two cases, the first outside the capital Kinshasa. Local news portal, Actualite CD quoted governor of Katagnga province as confirming two cases in the city of Mubumbashi. The governor has since imposed a lockdon to be enforced by security forces effective tomorrow. The two patients were aboard a Congo Airways flight that flew in from Lubumbashi. All other passengers on the flight have been put into quarantine as authorities look to trace possible contacts. Meanwhile after a trip to Namibia, Botswana president Eric Masisi has started a 14-day self-isolation which will include testing for COVID-19, the office of president confirmed late Sunday. The president will work from home over the period and stay quarantined from his family. He flew to Namibia for the swearing-in ceremony of counterpart Hage Geingob. Namibia has three confirmed cases. Botswana has no case. Members of the president’s entourage have also been advised to undertake self-isolation. #Botswana president starts 14-day self-isolation – Comes after trip to Namibia, swearing in of Geingob – Namibia has 3 cases – First known African leader to be tested for COVID-19 – Prez to work at home, quarantined from family – Botswana, Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho all virus-free— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 22, 2020 Mozambique records index case, Kenya tally hits 15 #Mozambique out of #COVID19 virus-free club – Leaves Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho, Botswana in the category – SA most hit in region – 11 African countries now uninfected – Sao Tome, G. Bissau, Mali, Libya, Burundi, S. Sudan and Sierra Leone – Cases heading to 1,200 with 34 deaths— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 22, 2020 “ 8 NEW #COVID-19 infections in Kenya bringing the total number to 15” CS Mutahi Kagwe #KomeshaCorona Press briefing— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) March 22, 2020 Eritrea, Uganda record index case Eritrea and Uganda have recorded their index cases on Saturday with both nations announcing that the patients were nationals. It leaves only South Sudan and Burundi as East / Horn of Africa countries without infections. Eritrea’s Information Minister posted on Twitter: “The Ministry of Health announced this evening the first confirmed case of a Coronavirus patient who arrived at Asmara International Airport from Norway with Fly Dubai at 7:00 a.m. LT this morning. The 39-year old patient is an Eritrean national with permanent residence in Norway. “The patient was quarantined promptly following the screening process at the Airport & diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after subsequent tests at the National Laboratory. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment at the moment, the MoH has stated.” In the case of Uganda, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a press conference: “The confirmed case is a 36 year old Ugandan male who arrived from Dubai at 2:00am today, Saturday 21 March 2020 aboard Ethiopian airlines. He presented with symptoms of high fever and poor appetite. “During the screening process at the airport, his temperature was 38.7. This prompted the health teams to isolate him at the airport for further follow up. Subsequent temperatures taken at intervals of 30 minutes and one hour remained the same,” she added. Meanwhile the tally of cases on the continent stands at 1,187 according to WHO’s tracking website. 34 deaths have been confirmed and 122 recoveries in total. Ghana, DR Congo are among those that have recorded deaths recently. Zimbabwe index case; Rwanda figures rise Authorities in Zimbabwe have confirmed the first case of coronavirus becoming the 38th African country to be infected. A statement from the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the patient was a 38 year-old Caucasian resident of Victoria Falls. He has a recent travel history to Manchester in the United Kingdom. He arrived in the country on March 15 via South Africa. The statement adds that he self quarantined and subsequently reported symptoms leading to a test being run at a facility in the capital Harare. Zimbabwe is the fifth southern African country infected. The government had earlier this week imposed a number of restrictions with the aim of keeping out the virus. Defence Minister had last week alleged that the virus was God’s punishment on countries that had imposed economic sanctions on the country. She specifically cited the United States and President Trump. #Zimbabwe records index case #coronavirus – 38 yo Caucasian resident of Victoria Falls – Has recent UK travel history – Arrive March 15 via South Africa – Self quarantined, reported symptoms – 38th African country infected, 5th in the region – Govt imposed restrictions this week— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 20, 2020 Rwanda has become the most impacted country in East Africa after registering six more cases bringing the tally to 17. It is the only country with double figures as of March 20, 2020. The Ministry confirmed the development late Friday. The oldest is 32 years and the youngest only 10 months old, a statement confirmed. Two French, a Swedish and three Rwandans made up the six new cases. After a day with no new positive tests, Rwanda records six new cases. The oldest is 32 years and the youngest only 10 months old. As of March 20, 2020, Rwanda has recorded 17 cases. AVOID unnecessary movements and WASH hands.— The New Times (Rwanda) (@NewTimesRwanda) March 20, 2020 Cape Verde records index case, Togo patient recovers Cape Verde confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday in a government statement. “The patient is a 62-year-old British citizen who entered the country on March 9 and began showing symptoms on March 16,” the statement said. Over in Togo, the index patient is said to have recovered (tested negative) but is still under medical observation, state TV quotes the health minister as saying. The West African nation is now dealing with eight other confirmed cases. Health Minister Moustafa Mijiyawa has asked travellers from high-risk countries “to exhibit the highest sense of responsibility and patriotism” and work with the authorities to curb the spread of the virus. He urged the Togolese to “stay calm and not panic” but to follow strict crowd control measures put out by the government. Meanwhile South Africa’s cases from 150 as at Thursday has reached 2020, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Friday. South Africa has consolidated second most infected on the continent only after Egypt with 210. More than 700 cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in 34 countries in #Africa as of 20 March, compared with 147 cases about one week ago. This map shares an overview of importation patterns of COVID-19 cases in the WHO African Region (19/03/20).➡️— WHO African Region (WHOAFRO) March 20, 2020 Cases in Africa rising As at March 20, the WHO’s COVID-19 website record showed that cases on the continent was heading for the 800 mark. Of particular concern is cases in South Africa that have been leaping, at last count at 150 only behind Egypt/ Burkina Faso has entered the top four with 40 cases dislodging Tunisia’s 39 whiles Senegal has now reached 38 cases. Records indicate that some 69 people have also recovered. The highest being 32 people in Egypt. Seventeen people have died with the most recent case being in Algeria. The country has recorded seven deaths, Egypt has six, Morocco with two and Burkina Faso and Sudan with one each. On Thursday, Nigeria’s federal government ordered all universities to be shut amid fears that the pandemic could spread. Primary and other schools had been shut at the state and federal levels whiles places of worship had also been asked to remain closed. Niger is the latest country to record an index case. It leaves Mali, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau in the privileged bracket of unaffected West African countries. “We have just registered this Thursday March 19, 2020, our 1st clinical case of #Coronavirus at #Niger . I invite all of my fellow citizens to keep calm. I urge you to respect all preventive measures. Insha’Allah, together we will overcome this ordeal,” President Mahammadou Issoufou said in a tweet. Nous venons d’enregistrer ce jeudi 19 Mars 2020, notre 1er cas clinique de #Coronavirus au #Niger. J’invite l’ensemble de mes concitoyens à garder leur calme. Je vous exhorte à respecter toutes les mesures de prévention. Incha Allah, ensemble nous surmonterons cette épreuve. -IM— Issoufou Mahamadou (@IssoufouMhm) March 19, 2020 Case spike in South Africa, increase in Nigeria South Africa now has 150 confirmed cases, 24 more from the last tally of 126 according to the disease control outfit. The country is now the second most impacted only behind Egypt. Over in Nigeria, four more cases have been recorded in the commercial capital Lagos, according to local media outlets. The overall toll will come to 11 with the new cases. Ghana has also reached 11 confirmed cases as of today. Cameroon meanwhile has asked 195 passengers who arrived in the capital Yaoundé on an Air France plane flight on 17 March to self-quarantine for 14 days. The appeal comes after three people on Air France flight number AF 900 tested positive for Covid-19. Cameroon now has 10 cases of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. #Covid19#Cameroon Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie calls on 195 others who have not been screened to adhere to the recommended isolation measures, and urgently call 1510 to be obligatorily tested for the virus.— CRTVweb (@CRTV_web) March 19, 2020 Mauritius infected, 16 death overall Mauritius on Wednesday confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth who led a cabinet meeting on the pandemic late Wednesday said the three have been placed in isolation. Two of the three cases involve cruise ship workers aged 21 and 25, while the third is a traveller from the UK aged 59. He said the government was tracing all the people the British traveller had come into contact with. The government has closed all schools and borders points of the Indian Ocean island nation. It has also banned commercial flights and tourists for the next two weeks, beginning on Thursday, March 19. Meanwhile the death toll in Africa has reached sixteen according to figures by the BBC. Six each in Algeria and Egypt, Two in Morocco and one each in Sudan and Burkina Faso. 633 confirmed #COVID19 cases in #Africa in 33 countries and 17 deaths. In past 24 hrs, The Gambia, Mauritius & Zambia have announced first cases. WHO is supporting countries with surveillance, diagnostics & treatment.— WHO African Region (WHOAFRO) March 19, 2020 Africa could be underreporting figures “You know as of today (March 18), the number of cases reported from sub-Saharan Africa are 233 cases and four deaths, that is actually in terms of confirmed cases, it is the lowest region. “But as Mike said, we cannot take this number as the amount of, or the number of cases we have in Africa, probably we have undetected cases or unreported cases. But in addition to that, even if we take this 233 cases as true, we have to prepare for the worst. “In other countries we have seen how the virus actually accelerates after a certain tipping point. So the best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst and prepare today. It is actually better if these numbers are really true, to cut it from the bud. “And that is why we are saying we have to do the testing, we have to do the contact tracing, we have to do the isolation and cut it from the bud,” the words of Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. He was speaking on Wednesday March 18 in the WHO’s daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. He stressed the need for mass gatherings to be avoided because of the propensity of aiding quick spread of the virus. “I think Africa should wake up, I think my continent should wake up,” he added. At a briefing today World Health Org DG DrTedros says there are likely to be more cases in Africa than currently reported, adds that ‘the Continent must wake up and prepare for the worst’— Samira Sawlani (samirasawlani) March 18, 2020 The Gambia, Djibouti, Zambia records first case Djibouti’s Foreign Minister confirmed the country’s first coronavirus case which involved a member of a Spanish military contingent that entered the country recently. He confirmed that the group have been isolated and were under medical supervision. None of them had contact with the Djiboutian people since entry. The country is undertaking formalities that will allow for the contingent to be sent back to Spain within the shortest possible time. In the Horn of Africa region, Ethiopia and Somalia have all recorded cases. Sudan and Kenya have also done same. A day after the Zambian authorities imposed wide ranging measures which included banning public gatherings and closing school, the first two cases were recorded according to a local news portal, Mwebantu. The case involves a Zambian couple who arrived in the country on March 15 after a 10-day holiday in France aboard Emirates Airline, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said in a statement. They were screened at the Kenneth Kaunda Airport and asked to under go self-quarantine because on arrival they showed no symptoms. Whiles in quarantine, the husband reported symptoms following which authorities were notified and a test carried out on the couple returned positive. The Gambia recorded its first coronavirus case yesterday in a statement by the health minister. The country becomes the 31st to be infected in Africa. The case involved a young woman who flew in from the United Kingdom. All passengers on the flight she came in with are being traced, authorities confirmed. Gambia’s only neighbour Senegal has also been greatly impacted by the pandemic with close to thirty confirmed cases. President Macky Sall last week announced a raft of measures that included ban on public gatherings and closure of schools. The Gambia has yet to announce such measures which most African countries – affected or virus-free – are implementing as preventive or containment measure. Zimbabwe outlines coronavirus measures President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has just addressed the nation: Declares Coronavirus a National crisis. Sporting events/ Independence Day celebrations etc postponed. No travel ban but those from affected regions advised to not travel. Schools remain open till Easter holidays.— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) March 17, 2020 Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria record new cases On Tuesday morning, Nigeria reported its third case in Lagos of a Nigerian lady who last travelled to the United Kingdom. Kenya also reported a news case bringing its tally to four. The latest case was confirmed today at the National Influenza Centre Laboratory. The patient is reported to have travelled from London, United Kingdom on 8th March, 2020 arriving in the country on 9th March, 2020, a statement read. In Ethiopia, Health Minister Lia Tadesse, said a new positive case involved a British diplomat who had entered Ethiopia from Dubai. She was self-isolating when the case was brought to the attention of the authorities. She is the sixth case for the country. Contact tracing is underway. President Uhuru Kenyatta has also slated Saturday March 21, 2020 as a “Day of Prayer” as the country turns to God to seek his intercession in the midst of the pandemic. The president stressed that Kenya has historically used prayer to seek divine intervention during hard times. The session will however take place at the State House and the media are to carry it live on their platforms to allow all Kenyans to participate. The statement from State House read in part: “... we also turn to God to share our fears, our apprehensions, but also to seek his guidance and ever-present protection. “With this in mind and after consulting a cross-section of ordinary Kenyans as well as our religious leaders, I have decided to declare this coming Saturday, 21st March 2020, as a National Day for Prayer. “In consideration of the protocols that we announced on Sunday and other ongoing protocols that will be announced from time to time, I have thought it necessary that this day of prayer be observed in our homes, in our places of work or wherever we shall be residing on that day. “This prayer day will be led by a team of religious leaders here at State House, Nairobi starting at 12.00 noon on Saturday.” PROCLAMATION OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER BY H.E. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES, 17TH MARCH 2020— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) March 17, 2020 Flurry of restrictions, cases increasing A number of African governments are announcing restrictions aimed at preventing the rise in coronavirus cases in their territories. From the closure of borders and the suspension of flights to banning of public gatherings and even in the case of Sudan declaring a state of emergency. We pool together the major restrictions and measures by different governments: Sudan: The Sovereign Council in Sudan has declared a state of emergency to help control the coronavirus pandemic. The country has only a case which has resulted in the death of the patient in question. The council “decided to close all airports, land and sea border crossings, except to humanitarian aid,” spokesman Mohammad al-Fakki Suleiman told journalists. State news agency Suna quoted a military spokesman as saying that cadets and trainees would be given leave as a precaution. Tunisia: The North African country announced it will be closing its land borders and airspace to all commercial activities from Wednesday, in a bid to protect the country from the spread of coronavirus. Health officials say the number of confirmed cases has risen to 24. The latest announcement by Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh comes three days after a 16:00 curfew was announced for restaurants, cafes and bars. All commercial flights are to be cancelled, but arranged evacuation flights will be permitted. Trade and cargo will not be affected by these measures. Ivory Coast: The country via an announcement by President Alassane Ouattara on Monday evening announced a temporary ban on foreign visitors especially those from countries hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The ban only applies to countries that have more than 100 confirmed cases, the authorities said in a statement on Monday. This includes the US, France, the UK and most of Europe. For the next 15 days, only Ivorian nationals and permanent residents of the country will be permitted to enter from abroad following a mandatory two-week quarantine on arrival. The security council headed by President Alassane Ouattara also ordered the closure of all schools and universities from Tuesday for a period of 30 days. Chad: Despite being virus-free, Chad on Monday announced suspension of all flights effective midnight of March 19, 2020 in an official government statement. Only cargo planes will be allowed to land at N’Djamena International Airport. Earlier reports said government quarantined a group of French passengers who arrived Sunday. Chad remains the sole Central African country unaffected. Botswana and Zambia who are also virus-free have announced a series of measures similar to what most African countries have in place. All schools, colleges and universities in Zambia to close indefinitely this Friday in response to the pandemic. The announcement has been made by the country’s minister of health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya. Zambia yet to report a confirmed case. Zambia missions abroad have been directed to review visa applications for would-be travelers to Zambia. Foreign travel to high risk countries should be be postponed. Buses from outside Zambia will not dock at the usual station—the InterCity—but at a dry port. This is to ensure a thorough screening of passengers. Isolation centers have been identified in different parts of the country. Bars and churches will have restricted hours of operation. The southern African country has so far investigated 28 alerts but results have been negative. Virus-free #Botswana announces #COVID19 measures – Citizens of 18 countries banned – Visa issuance suspended, valid visas cancelled – Gathering of 100+ people suspended – Social distancing rules outline – Funerals should be no more than 2hours READ MORE:— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 16, 2020 Rwanda, Burkina record new cases Rwanda and Burkina Faso have recorded increase in their tallies. Rwanda confirmed two new cases of coronavirus bringing the total number to seven. The country’s ministry of health says of the two, one is a Rwandan woman whose husband had earlier tested positive. The other patient is a German who arrived in Rwanda from Germany on 13 March, then developed a cough and went to the hospital on 15 March. Authorities in Burkina Faso also said five new cases had been recorded putting the overall tally at fifteen according to the WHO’s coronavirus tracking site.Fri, 03 Apr 2020 10:55:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) in Africa: over 7,000 cases, 290 deaths, 4 virus-free countries are now more than over 6,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic. According to the latest data by the Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. The whole of Africa has rising cases with a handful of countries holding out. We shall keep updating this list which will be put in sub-continental blocs: East, West, Central, southern and North Africa. All statistics are sourced from Africa CDC updates, from the John Hopkins University and from official government data. The classifications are based on where the countries are located especially in the case of countries that belong to two different blocs, like Tanzania in East Africa, despite belonging to EAC and SADC. SUGGESTED READING: Malawi records three cases of coronavirus Major stats as at April 3 Confirmed cases = 7, 064 Number of deaths = 290 Recoveries =622 Infected countries = 50 Virus-free countries = 4 Countries in alphabetical order Algeria – 986 Angola – 8 Benin – 13 Botswana – 4 Burkina Faso – 306 Burundi – 3 Cameroon – 233 Cape Verde – 6 Central African Republic – 8 Chad – 8 Congo-Brazzaville – 22 DR Congo – 134 Djibouti – 40 Egypt – 865 Equatorial Guinea – 15 Eritrea – 22 Ethiopia – 35 Eswatini – 9 Gabon – 21 (The) Gambia – 4 Ghana – 204 Guinea – 52 Guinea-Bissau – 9 Ivory Coast – 194 Kenya – 110 Liberia – 6 Libya – 11 Madagascar – 59 Malawi – 3 Mali – 36 Mauritania – 6 Mauritius – 169 Morocco – 735 Mozambique – 10 Namibia – 14 Niger – 98 Nigeria- 184 Rwanda – 84 Senegal – 195 Seychelles – 10 Sierra Leone – 2 Somalia – 5 South Africa – 1,462 Sudan – 8 Tanzania – 20 Togo – 39 Tunisia – 455 Uganda – 45 Zambia – 39 Zimbabwe – 9 Virus-free = Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros, Lesotho, South Sudan SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa IIFri, 03 Apr 2020 10:30:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) S.A police evict migrants in Cape Town in South Africa on Thursday forced the evacuation of hundreds of foreign migrants who had been sheltering in a church premise for months. Wearing riot gear, the police officers broke down the front door of the church and forced their way. The migrants refused to leave the church, demanding that the government relocates them. “People here at the church were still concerned about their own issues and where not entirely happy but there is nothing we can do, we have to make sure everybody is safe and everyone is healthy and obviously they are going to a place which may not be the best but certainly is in their best interests that they moved out the church and be placed in Belville (a suburb 30 km (19 mi) away’‘, Chris Nissen, Part-Time Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission said. The operation at the Central Methodist Church was aimed at ending a long standoff between the group of foreign nationals and city authorities. South Africa is in the midst of a 21-day lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic; hence the migrants will have to remain at the temporary camp for at least the remaining two weeks of the lockdown. Last month, police undertook a similar operation to remove migrants who had been camping in the square outside the church. APFri, 03 Apr 2020 08:32:26 +0000editorial@africanews.com voter turn out in Mali's legislative polls in Mali said Thursday that voter turnout for the country;‘s legislative elections was just 36 percent. Mali’s territorial administration minister, Boubacar Alpha Bah said many chose to stay away from the ballot box due to threats of violence and COVID-19 pandemic. “A total of 797 out of 22,147 polling stations could not open, accounting for 2,800,508 voters or 3% of the electorate. Votes cast was 2,627,320, turnout 35.73%, total number of lists 547, total number of candidates 1,417 of whom 430 were women, giving a participation rate of 30% for women and 70% for men”, Alpha Bah said. On Sunday, Malians went to the polls to elect new lawmakers in an election that has been long delayed over security concerns. Releasing the provisional results Thursday, Alpha Bah said of the 7.6 million registered voters, 35.73 percent cast their votes. Polling day was marked by several violent incidents in the volatile north and centre, including the kidnap of officials. Last week’s election followed the kidnap of leading opposition figure Soumaila Cissé, a first in Mali for a politician of his stature. But analysts said the election to the 147-seat parliament was critical to implementing reforms that could lead the former French colony out of its cycle of violence. Provisional results indicate Cissé was elected in the first round, but also show a second round of voting will be needed in some districts where no candidate won a majority. Preliminary results show many candidates who support President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta will likely face a second round of voting on April 19, according to an AFP tally. AFPFri, 03 Apr 2020 11:54:13 +0000editorial@africanews.com Egyptian violinist serenades neighbours from balcony residents of Cairo in Egypt try to cope with a curfew, one Egyptian man decided to use his gifts to lift spirits up. Mohammed Aly, a college student serenaded his neighbours from his balcony with his violin on Tuesday March 31. “I wanted to share this with people here, especially since the coronavirus is making us stay at home. So, its putting a strain on people psychologically. Everyone is very bored from staying at home, so I wanted to lessen that boredom for others and for myself. We are all staying at home and there is no work and all that, so I wanted to be happy by making others happy”, Aly said. As Aly dished out incredible tunes while he played the string instrument, his neighbours watched on. The North African nation has imposed a nightly curfew in a bid to curtail spread of the coronavirus. And to ease the pressure some might be feeling despite being locked at home, Aly put up this show to help people overcome the boredom. Egypt has 779 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and has reported 52 fatalities. The World Health Organization said for most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, like fever and cough. However for others, particularly older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia and can be fatal. APFri, 03 Apr 2020 06:21:11 +0000editorial@africanews.com's IDPs concerned about COVID-19 infection are deep concern among internally displaced persons in the north-eastern region of Maiduguri in Nigeria over the spread of the coronavirus. Around Maiduguri in the north-east, thousands of displaced people are crammed into state-controlled camps. “We’re always praying and that’s all we can do, it is a test from almighty God so we ought to accept it with good faith. There is no peace and God is testing us with such a calamity, God take it away from us”, Aisha Abubakar, an IDP from Nganzai said. For Ibrahim Buba, an IDP from Gwoza “There’s no support or any donation that will encourage hygiene and healthy lifestyles but yet they are still making emphasis on coughing etiquette and good personal hygiene, so how do you expect the less privileged in the camp to cope with this situation.” Bunu Bukar Mohammed is a member of Smiles mission health care. He said people are complying with precautionary measures like frequent hand washing with soap under running water to avoid inhabitants from getting infections. “People are complying very well, the level of compliance as you can see here, the security at the gate quite around trying to enforce, in fact I even sighted somebody who wanted to gain access into the camp and the person declined to wash his hands and of course he was denied access”, Mohammed said. Officials have placed makeshift hygiene facilities as part of measures to ward off the virus in these camps. There are about 1.8 million people displaced by the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in this city. AFPFri, 03 Apr 2020 11:54:17 +0000editorial@africanews.com confirms three coronavirus cases, 50th African country infected president Peter Mutharika on Thursday confirmed that the country had recorded three cases of COVID-19. They are the first recorded cases in the southern African country. Local news outlets report that the President made the announcement in a Special Address to the Nation. The address carried by the state-owned MBCTV lasted one minute and 23 seconds. The president disclosed that all three cases were confirmed in Lilongwe. Mutharika said one of the patients is a 63-year-old who had recently travelled to India. The other two are her relation and her domestic worker. A week ago, Mutharika declared a state of national disaster over the pandemic which continues to spread across the continent. With Malawi officially becoming the 50th African country to be infected, there are four countries uninfected – Lesotho, Comoros, South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:30:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) re-introduces USD [Business Africa]*Zimbabwe has re-introduced the US dollar, which was banned in June last year along with other foreign currencies. * It is now being used in domestic transactions as a move to help alleviate the economic crisis deepened by Coronavirus pandemic. For more, we hear from economist Vince Musewe, joining us from Harare, Zimbabwe.Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com buying disrupts food market [Business Africa] impact of Coronavirus is being felt in households… Panic-buying has pushed up the price of basic necessities and food, especially cereals. It is a worrying behavior for the Food and Agriculture Organization, which warns it could cause a global food crisis. Coronavirus: CEMAC seeking solutions Finance ministers and economic experts from the CEMAC region recently met in Brazzaville, Congo, to forge coordinated solutions to the COVID 19 impact on their economies. They have been asked to design bankable projects that will go a long way in helping people. These as Brigette UGWE with Nyasha MUTIZWA report, include financing enterprises related to the fight against coronavirus.Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:18:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Leone announces 3-day national lockdown, doctors push for 14 days 2: Sierra Leone announce 3-day lockdown with two cases Twenty-four hours after confirming an index case, Sierra Leone announced a second case which involved a medical doctor with no links to the first patient. Both cases were registered in the capital Freetown. On Wednesday April 1, authorities announced a three-day nationwide lockdown as a containment measure against the spread of the virus. Defence minister and national COVID19 Coordinator, Brig (Rtd) Kellie Conteh announced that coming Sunday, Monday & Tuesday (April 4 – 6) are stay-at-home days. Meanwhile, doctors in the country are pushing for a two-week lockdown instead of three days. They argue that 14 days being the virus incubation period could help identify any potential cases. They also called for protective gear for all health facilities and a “designated and adequate facility” for affected frontline health workers”, plus compensation. In next door Guinea, which is also under a state of emergency, a big jump in figures have been recorded. Twenty-one new cases have shot the tally to 52. The new cases emerged from a list of primary contacts of earlier patients from Europe. March 31: Sierra Leone confirms index case Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio has confirmed that the country has its first case of COVID-19, multiple media outlets in the West African country have confirmed. The country becomes the 48th African country to record a case as well as the last in West Africa to do so. Already a raft of measures have been imposed to check the entry and subsequent spread of the virus. Earlier today, government announced the latest leg of measures which included that schools and other learning institutions throughout Sierra Leone will close today, indefinitely. Government had closed all borders last week after neighbours Guinea and Liberia did so. Guinea also announced a 9pm – 5am curfew throughout the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus. President Alpha Conde also isolates the capital, Conakry with no vehicular movements allowed to and from the rest of the country. This, after the country’s COVID numbers doubled. Guinea’s current tally stands at 22. Sierra Leone records index case of #COVID19 - Implication: All of West Africa infected - Govt implementing raft of measures including state of public health emergency - Country becomes 48th African country infected - Most recent is Botswana on March 30#coronavirus— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 31, 2020 March 27: Sierra Leone closes borders for 30 days Virus-free Sierra Leone on Friday announced closure of its borders for a 30-day period barely days after President Julius Maada Bio announced a state of public health emergency. According to reports, the measure was to keep out the coronavirus which has engulfed all of West Africa except for Sierra Leone. The country tested two cases which turned out to be negative. The border closures come in the wake of same action taken by neighbours Guinea and Liberia. Guinea president Alpha Conde declared a state of emergency on Friday also for 30-days over the virus. The closure will last for a renewable period of 30 days excepting cargo vehicles which will be limited to two apprentices & a driver. They’ll be subjected to a 14-day surveillance by both countries on entry and exit. All learning institutions & entertainment centers have been closed for 14 days, as have churches & mosques. All cultural events have been prohibited. Liberia is currently in a lockdown over the pandemic. The three countries were at the heart of the Ebola epidemic that killed thousands years ago. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 24: President Maada Bio declares 12-month state of Public Health emergency Despite being among 11 African countries that have not recorded any cases of the coronavirus, Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio has imposed a twelve-month state of public health emergency effective today March 24. Our correspondent in Free Town, Eric Sylas Kawa, had reported last week that government had imposed a raft of measures but the president in an address said a lockdown was not on the cards. Today’s move signifies that the country is not taken any chances with the pandemic which has affected all its neighbours in the region. #SierraLeone Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has declared a state of Public Health Emergency to tackle the Corona Virus. The 12 months state of emergency starts on the 24th of March. Sierra Leone is among few countries to be free of #COVID19africanews</a> <a href="">africanewsfr— Eric Sylas Kawa (EricSylas) March 24, 2020 Sierra Leone records COVID-19 scuffles over quarantine at airport The Freetown International Airport, Sierra Leone’s main entry point via air witnessed a coronavirus related scuffle after passengers aboard a Kenya Airways flight refused necessary health protocols. One of the country’s experienced journalists Umaru Fofana reported the said flight had a that passengers aboard the flight had a suspected COVID-19 case leading to the decision to quarantine all the passengers. It is not known how authorities detected the case in question. “At least three passengers refused to be isolated saying they’d rather return to where they’d come from…,” Fofana said in a tweet. “Meanwhile passengers who’ve just arrived on an Air Peace flight from Nigeria have also been asked to be quarantined. They’ve refused, citing the (Sierra Leone) government policy which says only passengers from countries with up to 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus should be automatically quarantined,” he said in a follow up tweet. Sierra Leone remains one of a handful African countries yet to record a coronavirus case. But like all governments are doing, the presidency released a detailed statement that outlined directives crucially banning overseas travel for all government officials and urged members of the public to heed same. An initial statement had directed thus: “Public gatherings should not be attended by more than One Hundred (100) persons,” the second directive read. But a Ministerial team that visited the airport on Monday had urged passengers to adhere to health protocols. A statement from the president on the pandemic read: “I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives advisories.”Thu, 02 Apr 2020 12:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) killed in Congo-Brazzaville as lightning triggers electrocution people were killed on Wednesday when a lightning strike damaged a high-voltage power line in a suburb of the Congolese capital Brazzaville, the local mayor and witnesses said. The mayor of Kintele, Stella Mensah Sassou Nguesso, told state radio that seven bodies had been sent to a nearby morgue and another 13 to a mortuary in the capital. An eyewitness said lightning “cut through two high-voltage cables,” electrocuting people on the ground. The witness further revealed that one of the cables landed on a house and electrocuted three people to death. Other victims were electrocuted as they tried to save the former three victims. Amateur videos were uploaded to various social media pages indicating authorities rushing in to save a few injured victims. The incident occured on the first day of a month-long lockdown. The country has so far recorded 22 cases of coronavirus with two deaths.Thu, 02 Apr 2020 11:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com AfDB approves $2m package for WHO's Africa response coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is all but gathering steam in affected even virus-free African countries. The rate of infection is lower on the continent as compared to Europe, Asia and parts of the Americas, where lockdowns are in place. The impact on gatherings is an area that most African governments have moved to control. A number of business conferences were cancelled on account of the pandemic. A number of governments have also declared State of Emergencies. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa extensively outlined the economic impact of the pandemic on the economy – mining, tourism – in his first address on Saturday. In Nigeria, the government is looking to revise the current budget. Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on business with emphasis on a raft of incidents that have been undertaken. Ethiopian suspends ops to over 80 destinations East Africa betting down by 99% Kenya pay cuts, tax reviews Nigeria, Egypt to shut down all airports Rwanda fines companies guilty of price gouging MTN Nigeria, Cameroon tweak mobile money charges African Finance Ministers meet ECA boss via technology Nigeria to slash budget by Ghana, Kenya telcos review mobile money charges South Africa apex bank warns against currency scam Nigeria reduces petrol price Rwanda, Ethiopia move to control prices of essentials Nambia economy hit Zimbabwe suspends international trade fair African airlines to lose big – IATA Statement: AfDB approves $2m package for virus combat The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Tuesday approved $2 million in emergency assistance for the World Health Organization (WHO) to reinforce its capacity to help African countries contain the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impacts. The grant, which is in response to an international appeal by the WHO, will be used by the world body to equip Regional Member Countries to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate, contain and manage detected cases of COVID-19. It is one part of several Bank interventions to help member countries address the pandemic which, while slow to arrive in Africa, is spreading quickly and is straining already fragile health systems. Specifically, the WHO Africa region will use the funds to bolster the capacity of 41 African countries on infection prevention, testing and case management. WHO Africa will also boost surveillance systems, procure and distribute laboratory test kits and reagents, and support coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels. This grant “ will enable Regional Member Countries to put in place robust containment measures within 48 hours of COVID-19 case confirmation and also support the WHO Africa Region to disseminate information and increase public awareness in communities,” said the Bank’s Human Capital Youth and Skills Development Department. The grant will contribute toward a $50 million WHO Preparedness and Response Plan, which other partners including the United Nations system, are also supporting. It is estimated that Africa will require billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scramble together contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns, in desperate efforts to contain it. Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession. The Bank Group is expected to unveil a financial assistance package that will enable governments and businesses to undertake flexible responses to lessen the economic and social impact of this pandemic. Last Thursday, the Bank raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year social bond, the proceeds from which will go to help alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic. It is the largest dollar-denominated social bond launched in international capital markets to date. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Zimbabwe, Nigeria cash transfers to vulnerable The Zimbabwean government on Monday (March 30) reported that it had budgeted over $600 million to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme for the next three months. The move is part of efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, for which reason government imposed a 21-day total lockdown to contain its spread. The measure announced last Friday started yesterday. According to Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, the Social Welfare Department will use its structures to identify the beneficiaries under the facility. An amount of half a billion dollars has already been provided to fight Covid-19. The ministry said it was ready to attend to more requests. “Vulnerable groups in our society are the most exposed under this Covid-19 crisis,” he said. “Accordingly, Treasury has set aside resources to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme and payment will commence immediately,” he added. Zimbabwe recently okayed the use of the US dollars due to coronavirus related economic squeeze. The country’s health system is one of the continent’s most fragile. With 7 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death, health workers have threatened to abandon their posts if not provided with the needed protective gear to face the virus. Over in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, President Buhari in an address last Sunday ordered financial intervention schemes be rolled out for the vulnerable. Lagos state and other states are rolling out state-level interventions. Sadiya Farouk, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, confirmed on Monday that the ministry has commenced cash transfer to poorest households in the country to cushion effect of the COVID19 pandemic. Records indicate that as of February 29th, 2020, the Federal Government had identified 10,695,360 individuals in 35 states across the country as the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians, during this crisis of COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria’s population is at 200 million. Two states and the federal capital, Abuja, are currently on lockdown imposed by the federal government. The country has 131 confirmed cases with two deaths. The commercial hub of Lagos as at Monday March 30 accounted for 61% of the total number of cases. As at February 29th, 2020, the Federal Government has identified 10,695,360 individuals in 35 states across the country as the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians, during this crisis of #COVID19 pandemic, President MBuhari directed the FMHDSD to look and take care of them.— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) March 30, 2020 Ethiopian’s operational updates Africa’s most expansive and profitable airline, Ethiopian Airlines, says it has suspended flights to over 80 destinations as at March 29 due to the impact of COVID-19. The Airline in a statement said all its cargo operations remain intact. “We have continued to operate all our domestic services, but our domestic market has declined by 50%,” they said in a statement. Ethiopian outlined a series of health and safety measures it had put in place to help combat the virus which has adversely impact air travel across the world. Among others, disinfection of all work areas, strictly adhering to social distancing among employees and all associates of the company, regular measurement of body temperature and instituting a culture of proper hand washing. “So far, we have consumed more that half a million each (gloves and masks) and we have more than 300,000 each in our stock so that there is no shortage. We have signed a contract with multiple suppliers for a constnous supply of as many as we require,” the statement added. The Airline said it had made deliveries of coronavirus donation by Chinese businessman Jack Ma to 51 African countries and some European countries. “We are helping save lives, and this is one of the greatest intrinsic satisfaction in life, for which our brave men and women are proud of,” the statement concluded.— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 29, 2020 Betting going extinct The gambling sector in East Africa is in a “total mess” following the collapse of global sport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a Ugandan betting company has said. “In terms of sales, we’ve lost about 99% because most of our people are not too much into online betting,” Ivan Kalanzi, a brand ambassador for GAL Sport Betting website, told BBC Sport Africa. Betting markets have dramatically shrunk in light of the suspension of the world’s leading football leagues, which has left little for people to gamble on. But in east Africa, the market has been particularly hard-hit because few in the region bet online. Kenya pay cuts, tax reviews Kenya’s president has announced pay cuts for himself and his deputy as well as a category of top government officials. All savings are expected to go into helping combat the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking on Wednesday, President Kenyatta said himself and deputy Ruto will forgo 80% of their salaries whiles Cabinet Secretaries and Chief Administrative Secretaries to take 30% pay cut each and 20% for Permanent Secretaries. The president also confirmed that the number of cases in the country had increased by four and now stood at 28. Other details he gave during his briefing were: One patient has recovered from COVID-19 National Treasury to offer 100% tax relief to persons earning less than Sh24,000; Income tax down from 30% to 25%. Daily curfew from 7pm to 5am effective Friday, March 27, 2020. All State and Public Officers with pre-existing medical conditions or aged 58 years and above to take leave or work from home. Kenya Airways to fly citizens for free “As our last flight departs JFK today, we are offering one-way complimentary tickets to Nairobi, to Kenyan citizens in urgent need. Please contact our team on +1(866)5369224 for more information,” this is a tweet from Kenya Airways, KQ, the East African country’s national carrier. “*All passengers will be subjected to entry/screening procedures instituted by the MOH,” KQ added. The airline has suspended all flights in and out of the country whiles government has also announced the closure of all borders in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Kenya currently has 16 confirmed cases with government announcing stricter measures aimed at arresting further spread. Kenyans have hailed the embattled airline for the current gesture. The Nairobi – New York route was relaunched in October 2018. KQ got permission to operate direct flights to the US in September 2017, after several failures due to non-compliance at its airports. Instead of 22 hours, the travel time over 13713km between Nairobi and New York had been cut to 15 hours, saving up to seven hours. The historic direct flight is expected to help the company recover from a $267 million debt. As our last flight departs JFK today, we are offering one-way complimentary tickets to Nairobi, to Kenyan citizens in urgent need. Please contact our team on +1(866)5369224 for more information. *All passengers will be subjected to entry/screening procedures instituted by the MOH— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) March 24, 2020 Egypt, Nigeria shut down all airports Two of Africa’s economic giants, Nigeria and Egypt have shut down all airports to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Nigeria had till now shut down all but the Lagos and Abuja airports. The order starts on Sunday March 23 as the country continues to experience rising confirmed cases of the disease. Egypt will shut down its airports and air travel starting March 31 to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus. The new measures will heavily impact the country’s economy and tourism sectors. Some 138,000 jobs are immediately at risk and 1 billion us dollars in airline revenues has been lost, according to IATA. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Rwanda fines 44 company for hiking prices Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has fined a number of companies engaging in price gouging in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant race to stock food and get some critical items. Forty-four companies and business people in Kigali alone have been fined to the tune of 3.81 million Rwandan Francs. The Ministry along with the Kigali City authorities said the fines related to raising prices of some food products, intentional use of unapproved weighing scales, issuance of illegal invoices, substandard and/or poorly manufactured items. Asked if the current action related to items that had their prices set and controlled by government, the Ministry clarified: “Only for essential crops. However, in this particular times fighting the spread of Covid-19, we have decided to control prices of basic food items to avoid speculation.” MTN reviews tariffs in Uganda, Cameroon Mobile phone giants, MTN, are tweaking their tariffs in the area of mobile money transfers in some African countries with the aim of reducing contact with cash amid the coronavirus pandemic. The latest developments are in Uganda and Cameroon where the operator is waiving costs on transfers done with their mobile money platform. The MTN Uganda offer included among others: For 30-days, customers can send up to Ushs 30,000/- (about $8) Mobile Money every day to other MTN MoMo customers free of charge. The offer is meant to reduce the risk of transmission by avoiding the physical exchange of currency notes. The offer comes alongside a day-time data bundle that will enable Ugandans stay on-line and work from home. Customers will get 1GB of data at just Ushs 2,000 valid between 9am and 5pm. MTN is also complementing government’s sensitization drive by availing UGX 500 million ($130,000) in cash and free media channel space (radio, tv, social media, SMS, call centre IVR platform) to promote the Ministry of Health’s sensitization messages. MTN Cameroon said the suspension of payment of fees starts today: “Within the framework of its response plan to the health crisis caused by the Coronavirus / COVID-19, MTN Cameroon announces the suspension, effective Friday, 20 March 2020, of the payment of fees on money transfers between MTN Mobile Money accounts. “This measure suspending the payment of fees concerns money transfers for amounts up to 20,000 FCFA (twenty thousand francs). The measure will be limited to 3 transactions per day, per account, and will be valid for a period of 30 days. This may be reviewed based on the evolution of the health crisis. “MTN Cameroon, by suspending the payment of money transfer fees between Mobile Money accounts, seeks to provide its support in the fight against this Coronavirus, by reducing the use of cash as much as possible, and favoring distance payments,” an official statement of March 19 read in part. MTN Cameroon puts its customers first and suspends payment of money transfer fees by Mobile Money to fight against the spread of #COVID19 #BienEnsemble #GoodTogether— MTN CAMEROON (@MTNCameroon) March 19, 2020 Impact of coronavirus on African economies – Analysis .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } African finance ministers in virtual meeting with ECA boss The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, has turned to technology as it seeks to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on economies across the continent. ECA boss Vera Songwe in Addis Ababa is host of the virtual meeting expected to last two hours. It is co- chaired by two Finance Ministers; Ghana’s Ken Ofori-Atta and South Africa’s Toto Mboweni. The ECA headquartered in the Ethiopian capital cancelled a scheduled conference of minister last month at a time that the pandemic was at the stage of an epidemic and was arriving in Africa. As of today (March 19), there are over 630 confirmed cases with 16 deaths across 34 African countries. The numbers continue to rise as governments move to implement a flurry of restrictions including closing borders and imposing strict public guidelines. South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa in an address last Sunday admitted that the country’s economy especially in the area of mining and tourism had been badly hit by COVID-19. Ghana’s finance minister told parliament recently that a $100 million fund announced by President Nana Akufo-Addo was not readily available and the country may have to turn to international lenders to raise part of the money. Nigeria to cut budget by 1.5 trillion naira The record budget of Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer estimated at 34.6 billion dollars for the year 2020 will likely be revised downwards, according to the Ministry of Finance. This is due to the sharp drop in the price of crude oil which is also related to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed revised figure will be 1.5 trillion naira (about $5 billion) less the original figure of 10.9 trillion naira. World oil demand is expected to contract this year for the first time in more than a decade, as the coronavirus epidemic is causing a blockage in economic activity, the International Energy Agency disclosed recently. Another trigger effect of the crisis on the oil market is the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia, two OPEC heavyweights that have caused the production pact between the two countries to collapse. The 2020 budget, adopted in December, was calculated assuming crude oil production of 2.18 million barrels per day at a price of $57 per barrel. Nigeria is still struggling to emerge from the 2016 recession, which was caused by the collapse of oil prices at the end of 2014, with economic growth currently hovering around 2%. Ghana, Kenya tweak mobile money charges As part of measures to reduce handling of cash amid the coronavirus pandemic, Telecom operators in Ghana have agreed with the Bank of Ghana, BoG, to waive charges on a certain amount of transaction. All transfers of 100 cedis (about $18) or below will attract no charge according to a current directive from the BoG. the measure is supposed to be in place for the next three months. “The Bank of Ghana has agreed with banks and mobile network operators on measures to facilitate more efficient payments and promote digital forms of payments for the next three months, subject to review, effective March 20, 2020,” a BoG statement noted. The West African country has a high mobile network coverage with most people preferring money transfers using mobile transactions that banks. All networks have platforms that offer a wide range of services from sending and receiving money to the payment of utility bills etc. Kenya’s major network operators had also announced a similar measure days back. Kenya’s M-Pesa is one of the most efficient mobile money transaction platforms across Africa. South Africa central bank warns against currency scammers The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the apex bank, on Tuesday issued a public warning that persons posing as officials purportedly collecting contaminated bank notes were fraudsters. Reports indicate that some people had been going round asking South Africans to surrender their contaminated bank notes and that it was part of the SARB efforts to curb spread of coronavirus. The BBC reports that persons involved in the scam have been issuing fake receipts for the money collected, saying banks will compensate them. “The SARB will never ask members of the public to hand over their cash,” the bank said. In a Twitter thread, it said no banknotes or coins had been withdrawn and no instruction issued to hand in money that might be contaminated. It also urged members of the public to contact the police when approached by “individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives”. Zimbabwe cancels trade fair Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a national disaster over coronavirus even as the country is yet to confirm any case. Mr Mnangagwa has also postponed independence day celebrations scheduled for 18 April and banned all public gatherings of more than 100 people. The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that was to take place in the south-western city of Bulawayo from 21-25 April has also been postponed. The ban will affect church gatherings, weddings and sporting events for 60 days. The president told a press briefing at his office in the capital, Harare, there would be no travel ban, but discouraged travellers from countries that had confirmed coronavirus cases from visiting Zimbabwe. He also advised Zimbabweans against travel abroad until the pandemic was under control. Namibia records economic dip Business dips in Windhoek following Namibia’s first two coronavirus cases on Saturday. Small scale enterprises are lamenting of poor sales as people desert public places as precautionary measures. “Personally for my job, it went down a bit, because the clients now don’t want to be in public places. I work in a salon and nobody wants to show up because it is crowded most of the time”, a barber said. For Sylvia Ashipala “Our Namibia is a poor country and there is no medicine or vaccination. What will happen to us with this coronavirus, what can be done? If there is no medicine in the pharmacy? “For example we work in the government, when we got to the pharmacy to buy pills, we are refused because the pharmacy says the government doesn’t pay, now who will help us? Our country has nothing, no vaccine, no pills.” Namibia has joined a host of African countries that have taken drastic measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Windhoek has shut down buildings like the National Gallery and libraries in a bid to prevent social gatherings. Notices posted to the premises said the facilities will be reopened on April 14.Thu, 02 Apr 2020 10:40:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com's giant economic strides, secures $1.4 bn debt cancellation Paris Club of creditor countries have agreed to restructure Somalia’s external public debt with an immediate cancellation of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars. Somalia has been pushing for the cancellation of its ballooning debt, some of which dates back over four decades ago when the country was fighting the regime of Siad Barre, who was toppled in 1991. The agreement between Somalia and the Paris Club creditor nations was reached on Tuesday evening under the so-called “Cologne terms,” as part of an initiative to provide interim debt relief to heavily indebted poor countries Somali finance minister Abdirahman Beileh welcomed the debt cancellation and vowed to continue with economic reforms to help rebuild the country. In time, debt relief will help Somalia reduce its external debt to $557 million in net present value terms from $5.2 billion at the end of 2018, the IMF and the World Bank said. This is yet another milestone for Somalia as a part of the HiPC process. The Paris Club congratulates #Somalia for having reached its Decision Point under the enhanced initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (enhanced HIPC Initiative) in March 2020.— Central Bank of Somalia (@CBSsomalia) April 1, 2020Thu, 02 Apr 2020 10:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com 'whips' Wimbledon, flags UEFA fixtures 'off side' has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July. The entire grass-court season has been abandoned, and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July. Meanwhile, all Champions League and Europa League matches have been suspended “until further notice” by UEFA because of the global coronavirus pandemic. All national team games in June have also been postponed, including play-off matches for Euro 2020 – already postponed to 2021 – and qualifying matches for the Women’s Euro 2021. The European governing body’s 55 member associations met on Wednesday. The Premier League is suspended until at least 30 April.Thu, 02 Apr 2020 10:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com govts using a similar COVID-19 containment rule book measures have been taken by different governments to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has been confirmed in 49 African countries as of April 1. Some of these measures have included strict enforcement of hygienic practices like hand washing, travel restrictions and economic relief programmes. While each African nation arguably has different realities and contexts, in the face of a common enemy, leaders have taken to adopting measures announced by their counterparts. In this article, we look at some of the measures that have become generally accepted practices in the fight against coronavirus across the continent. Lockdowns Lockdowns have become the latest tool employed by governments to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Rwanda became the first country on the continent to implement a national lockdown, and was quickly followed by South Africa – Africa’s most impacted country, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Uganda. Over Ghana, Nigeria and Namibia, governments have imposed partial lockdowns. Ghana’s Greater Accra and Ashanti regions were affected whiles Lagos, Ogun states and Abuja were listed in Nigeria. Namibia has locked down two provinces according reports. The conditions of lockdowns include suspension of most business operations, movement of vehicles, and strict curfews, which are enforced by security agencies. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Economic relief The coronavirus pandemic has devastated several businesses and sectors of African economies, and some governments have announced measures to cushion their citizens’ losses. These measures also include humanitarian relief in the form of food and basic amenities for the most vulnerable people and sections of society. Nigeria and Zimbabwe announced cash-transfer programmes for 10 million individuals and 1 million households respectively. Uganda and Rwanda on the other hand plan to distribute food and other emergency rations to their people during the enforced lockdowns. Kenya’s president last week announced a raft of economic relief measures that included reductions in taxes and interest rates on loans. Eritrea’s government postponed utility bills and banned companies from laying off employees in the wake of the coronavirus. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Travel bans While the World Health Organisation (WHO) discouraged travel restrictions in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, this position has since been disregarded by African countries that have resorted to closing their borders. The coronavirus is seen as an imported disease, and consequently the closure of land, sea and air borders is considered an effective measure of preventing the introduction of new cases. Cameroon, Republic of Congo, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda are some of the countries that have banned international flights for limited periods. Other countries like Morocco, Senegal and Ivory Coast have imposed restrictive measures against travelers from high-risk countries. These are countries that have recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases. Before the travel bans, some countries had taken on mandatory quarantine measures. These were mostly implemented as self-quarantine for travelers from low-risk areas and institutional quarantine for travelers from China, United States, France, Germany, Spain, Iran and the United Kingdom. Nearly all African heads of state have delivered live televised addresses to their countries, using the occasion to announce government efforts to curb coronavirus. So, apart of Cameroon, I have counted from the comments Equatorial G., Eritrea, Burundi, Togo…. Hope I didn't miss out on any.— Khan Donald (@don_cantona) March 31, 2020Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:50:00 (Daniel Mumbere) top court sacks 'illegally appointed' main opposition leader’s main opposition leader has been removed as President of the Movement for Democratic Change party. Nelson Chamisa lost a court appeal to remain head of the country’s biggest opposition party on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court ruled that his appointment was illegal. While the party prepares to hold a congress within the next three months, Thokozani Khupe, the former MDC vice-president and Chamisa’s main challenger, will lead the party. The court noted that Chamisa had not been elected by a congress as prescribed by MDC bylaws. In 2018, Chamisa won about 45% of the national presidential vote, losing narrowly to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Following the death in 2018 of MDC founder, Morgan Tsvangirai, the duo have claimed to be the legitimate leaders of the party. Nelson Chamisa will either appeal the court decision, or leave the MDC to form a new political party, according to experts. DICTATORSHIP NEVER WINS. DICTATORSHIP ALWAYS ULTIMATELY FALLS AND SO SHALL IT BE WITH ALL THOSE WHO CONNIVE WITH IT!THE PEOPLE ALWAYS WIN AND THE PEOPLE SHALL GOVERN! BIGGER AFTER IT ALL. CORRECTNESS NEVER COMES SECOND BEST!— nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) March 31, 2020Thu, 02 Apr 2020 08:47:40 +0000editorial@africanews.com scammed in Morocco's biggest-ever property scheme“Give us our money!”, demands a group of home buyers, standing on land that should by now be finished condos — one of many fictitious projects that together comprise what is described as Morocco’s biggest-ever property scam. Adverts on state television had promised dream homes at three for the price of two, while brochures boasted of ornately carved wood finishings and copious marble. But it was all a fantasy — more than 600 million dirhams (about 57 million euros, $65 million) allegedly disappeared, leaving more than 1,000 buyers out-of-pocket, according to one of the lawyers representing them. In a country where corruption is endemic, the unprecedented scale of the alleged fraud has generated political waves. Called upon by deputies to address the issue in parliament, Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani said the government was absolved of any blame, provoking indignation among defrauded investors who have appealed to King Mohammed VI. The man accused of being at the forefront of the scheme has been charged and is in detention awaiting trial. But the vast scam has prompted major questions about alleged negligence and complicity of some Moroccan institutions. Mohamed el Ouardi, as head of the Bab Darna group, allegedly received advances for apartments that never made it beyond the paper they were drawn on. “The swimming pool would have been just over there,” scoffs would-be apartment owner Soufiane, aged in his 40s, as he points across a building site in the commercial capital Casablanca. Bab Darna consists of a group of firms that cashed advances from “at least 1,000 victims” who invested in around 15 fictitious real-estate projects in and around Casablanca over a decade, Mourad el Ajouti, one of the lawyers for the investors, told AFP. The money was allegedly embezzled by cashing “advances ranging from 20 percent” to the full cost of the apartment, he added. ‘Who protected him?’ Houria, 49, who works in e-commerce, said “highly persuasive sales agents” proffered a golden opportunity and swayed her into advancing 400,000 dirhams; 20 percent of the cost of a villa. But the vendor “had neither the title deed nor construction permit”, el Ajouti said; basic requirements lacking in all contracts signed by the investors. Such practices did not prevent Bab Darna from exhibiting with great fanfare at real-estate shows in Casablanca, Paris and Brussels. “The authorities were not aware (of el Ouardi’s activities)?” asked Houria, dumbfounded. “Who protected him?” She, like other victims that AFP spoke to, did not want their full names published. El Ouardi, 59, is described as a smooth salesman who carved a path through the real-estate jungle. But in November, with nothing to show for their investments, angry customers went round to his home. When cheques for reimbursements that they say he penned personally bounced, their patience finally ran out and they hauled him to the police station. He is currently awaiting trial with six alleged accomplices — his finance manager, the notary and sales agents. A trial date has not yet been set, but the suspects face between 10 and 20 years in prison for fraud or complicity in fraud. ‘Persuasive’ Many of the victims come from Morocco’s diaspora, who number several million and often invest in property back home. “I left Morocco to escape corruption and nepotism, but these things have entrapped me once more,” lamented another victim Youssef, 36, who lives in Japan and is self-employed. Sifeddine, an entrepreneur living in Argentina, reserved an apartment thanks to a brochure promoting modern buildings covered in ivy, alongside elegant palm trees shading a turquoise pool. The TV adverts, broadcast during primetime hours and using famous actors, reassured him. “El Ouardi received me at his villa and was very persuasive, in front of a notary and agent,” he said. “It was 10pm, the sub-municipality’s office was opened specially at his request to sign the contract; he must have greased a lot of palms,”, Sifeddine alleged. Jalal, a salesman in his 40s of dual French-Moroccan nationality, took the plunge in 2018 when he visited a Moroccan real-estate show in Paris. Bab Darna “had one of the best stands” at the show, known as Smap Immo, he said. He came back to Morocco to sign the deal, and took the presence of a notary and registration of the contract at a sub-municipality office as guarantees of legitimacy. ‘Hotbed of corruption’ El Ajouti views the scandal as a collective failure of multiple institutions. “Authorities within the planning ministry, the town council, the urban agency” should all shoulder shares of the blame, he said. He also criticised officials from the real-estate show, who, he said, should have scrutinised exhibitors’ credibility. Smap Immo, which rejects it is in any way responsible for the scandal, has itself filed a complaint against Bab Darna for fraud and harming the exhibition’s reputation. Real estate is among the sectors most affected by corruption in Morocco, according to the head of Transparency Maroc, a local anti-graft advocacy group. The sector is “a hotbed of corruption, conflicts of interest and insider trading between landowners, local authorities and urban agencies”, Ahmed Bernoussi said. One Moroccan architect, who did not want to give his name, said “agents work hand-in-hand with elected officials, who often themselves become real-estate developers.” Bernoussi points to the recent sentencing of a former head of a southern Marrakesh urban planning department to 10 years in prison for demanding bribes in return for speeding up the granting of permits. Nevertheless, the Bab Darna affair has “dealt a strong blow to the credibility of the sector”, Anis Benjelloun, vice-president of Morocco’s federation of real-estate agents, said. “The federation has repeatedly deplored this sort of practice,” he added, describing the affair as “a scam permitted by a flawed system.” So will it lead to change to give more protection to home buyers in future? Contacted by AFP, Nezha Bouchareb, Morocco’s minister of urban planning and housing, acknowledged “dysfunctions and illegal practices”. “We must strengthen our efforts to correct them,” she said. Sales based solely on paper plans regularly give rise to scandal in Morocco, ranging from apartments that do not match brochures’ promises to major delays in construction. The sector is regulated by a 2002 law, which was amended in 2016 — but a decree needed to implement that overhaul is still pending. That decree is “in the process of being finalised”, Bouchareb said. AFPThu, 02 Apr 2020 11:54:05 +0000editorial@africanews.com and music classes go online in Vietnam amid coronavirus concerns authorities ban large gatherings and all non-essential businesses, including gyms, some Vietnamese arts instructors have taken to conducting their lessons online. Belly dance instructor Than Ngoc Ha Van has moved all her classes online since early March. With just a laptop connected to Internet and a large TV screen, she can interact with up to eight students per lesson via Zoom video call. Van conducts her classes from her dance studio by showing dancing moves to her students and ask the students, who follow via their smartphones or laptops, to practise. “The online teaching is very convenient for both instructors and students, as we can conduct the class anywhere.” Van says. For some lessons, Van pre-records her dancing moves and streams the video footage live on Facebook to her students, and students record their dance moves to send back to Van for feedback. Not all online classes can conducted smoothly. Vietnamese traditional music teacher To Minh Cuong holds his singing class to students via Facebook messenger video call on his smartphone, and admits that he prefers the traditional way of teaching. “Studying directly at class is easier as I only need to show the students once or twice how to sing a long line from the lyrics, but with online studying like this, due to the slow Internet connection, I have to sing every short line from the lyrics about four times for them to practise the song,” Cuong shared from a classroom where he held online “xam” singing class, a form of Vietnamese traditional music. Vietnam has recorded 169 cases of COVID-19 infection, and officials have moved to curb its spread. All shopping malls, restaurants, bars and gyms, except those providing food and basic needs, will be shut down until at least 15 April. Gatherings of more than 20 people have also been banned. AFPFri, 03 Apr 2020 08:12:31 (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA) marks year of bloody conflict the world is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, war-shattered Libya on Saturday marked one year of its latest bloody conflict that is plunging it ever deeper into chaos. Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and others have fuelled the fighting in the oil-rich but poverty-stricken North African nation where hundreds have been killed and over 150,000 displaced. Medical experts warn that Libya is at heightened risk of the fast-spreading COVID-19 illness, given the deteriorated public health system in the gateway country for desperate Europe-bound migrants. As much of the world has hunkered down, militias in the south of the capital Tripoli have kept firing bullets, mortars and grenades at each other, the explosions echoing across the city. Libya has been gripped by chaos for almost a decade, since longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi was brought down and killed in a 2011 uprising backed by several Western powers. It is now split between the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and forces loyal to eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar, who launched his offensive to try to capture the capital on April 4 last year. One year on, and several failed ceasefires later, “we are simply witnessing the decimation of a nation”, said analyst Jalel Harchaoui of the Clingendael Institute in The Hague. The United Nations’ envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, threw in the towel in early March following the repeated failure of efforts to restore order, although he said his resignation was for health reasons. A Berlin summit in late January saw Moscow, Ankara and other foreign players engaged in Libya pledge to respect an arms embargo and support a truce. But barely 10 days later, Salame was denouncing violations and a continuous influx of foreign arms and mercenaries. ‘Existential battle’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly sent military equipment and fighters to the GNA. Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have meanwhile supported what Haftar claims is a campaign against jihadist “terrorists” and “criminals”. As Haftar’s offensive has so far failed to take Tripoli, said Harchaoui, Erdogan’s government has been able “to increase its presence and influence in the Libyan capital”. In recent months, Erdogan sent hundreds of pro-Turkish Syrian fighters to battle the pro-Haftar forces, who are supported by Russian mercenaries Moscow denies having sent. Armed groups from western Libya are fighting Haftar forces “in an existential battle”, said Wolfram Lacher of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “Haftar’s forces are notorious for looting and summary executions, and they include groups that are motivated by a thirst for revenge against entire communities,” he said. “The fear of war crimes, of collective punishment, of marginalisation under dictatorial rule means that the forces fighting against Haftar won’t give up easily.” Fighting has intensified in recent days, despite the latest pledges by both sides to accept UN and international calls for a humanitarian truce to help contain the coronavirus. The international community’s “distraction linked to COVID-19 has accelerated and exacerbated this escalation which, in any case, was inevitable,” said Harchaoui. Libya has confirmed just a handful of cases so far, but the UN aid agency OCHA has warned it is “at high risk of the spread of COVID-19 given its levels of insecurity, weak health system and high numbers of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons”. ‘Situation unbearable’ A few days ago, the GNA even announced a counter-offensive paradoxically named “peace storm”. Fighting is still concentrated south of Tripoli and east of the coastal city of Misrata, after pro-Haftar forces in early January captured Sirte, some 250 kilometres (150 miles) away. Fears of war and disease have piled on misery for the displaced, such as Fatma Khairi, who has taken refuge in a school building in the working class district of Abu Slim, in the south of Tripoli. “I have a lot of trouble with the communal toilets where often there is no water or soap,” she told AFP. “My family and I live in dramatic conditions that I can hardly describe to you. The situation has become unbearable.” The humanitarian situation is likely to deteriorate as the world faces a deep economic crisis and a further slump in the price of oil, Libya’s main source of income. Pro-Haftar forces have already shuttered the country’s main oil fields and production has come to a virtual standstill. A political resolution to the conflict seems remote, said both Lacher and Harchaoui, who agreed that the international community would have to pressure the outside powers, especially the United Arab Emirates. “If no Western state agrees to contradict the UAE even a little, an even more serious deterioration of the conflict will be inevitable,” said Harchaoui. Lacher judged that for now “Western states are not ready to exert meaningful pressure on Haftar and the UAE. As long as this is the case, the prospects for a political solution are virtually non-existent.” AFPThu, 02 Apr 2020 05:34:00 (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA) rights in Africa: advocates must team up to consolidate gains - Report rights advocates need to better team up to advance their objectives across Africa given the hard terrain in which they operate, according to a digital rights report released in March 2020. Paradigm Initiative’s 2019 Digital Rights in Africa Report said even though the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance gave rights groups a seat at the table, their impact remained suppressed by the two other partners – government and private sector organizations. “An important admission in Internet Governance is that although these three important stakeholders have similar opportunities for engagement in these multi-stakeholder processes, they do not have equal powers or resources. “Clearly, nation states and private sector organizations wield more power and influence on decisions and actions in the Internet Governance space,” the report stressed. The report took a critical look at the state of digital rights in 13 African countries across the five regional blocs. Benin, Nigeria (West Africa), Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (Central Africa), Egypt, Morocco (North Africa), Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania (East / Horn of Africa) and Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe (southern Africa). The report titled “Violations Reloaded: Government Overreach Persists Despite Increased Civil Society Advocacy” noted that a number of African governments continued to take a leaf from Russia and China in exerting digital rights violations for different reasons. The report said in part: “that control of the information space is synonymous with control of the political space. The information space is therefore perceived as a legitimate theatre of conflict – much the same way as land, air and the sea are established theatres of conflict. “This new doctrine of control of cyberspace is reflected on the state of digital rights on the continent. This new approach to cyberspace influenced by China and Russia is also facilitated by the export of technology and training from these countries, as noted by the influential report by the University of Oxford. “The influence of China and Russia on Africa, in this regard, is immense, as demonstrated by the strong-armed information control tactics deployed on the continent to stifle dissent and hunt opposition voices.” Civil society groups pushing for increased respect for digital rights by governments it said needed to better liaise and regularize their advocacy in seeking the best interest of Africans online. It said the digital rights advocacy needed to be actively pursued by advocates across the digital, press and human rights spheres in order to make more concrete progress and to consolidate gains. “... even this challenging context presents an opportunity as it highlights the need for collaboration among civil society actors across various countries and regions. “There is no doubt that the impact of civil society’s work in the defence of digital rights can be vastly improved if there is more collaboration and coordination. Nigeria-based Paradigm Initiative, is a pan-African social enterprise working to advance digital rights and inclusion in Africa. Its annual Digital Rights in Africa Report – first published in since 2016 – gives an in-depth analysis of the state of digital rights in Africa, and examines violations such as Internet disruptions, illegal surveillance, arrest of bloggers and the passage of hurtful legislation, amongst others.Wed, 01 Apr 2020 17:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) is Uganda’s central bank governor Mutebile dead? has become one of the biggest threats to communication in the modern age. While the internet has arguably democratized the dissemination of information, this revolution has been hijacked by people who share unverified, false and malicious messages to millions of people on the internet. The World Health Organisation has actually said that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 40,000 lives globally has been accompanied by an equally devastating infodemic of large amounts of unverified information. To combat the rise of fake news, more and more news organisations are conducting dedicated fact-checks to debunk the myths, verify the claims and share the facts on several viral stories. In this article, we will publish fact-checks made about different stories going viral in African countries. Is Uganda’s central bank governor dead? VERDICT: The apex bank governor is not dead On Tuesday night, stories circulated on Ugandan online platforms, claiming that the governor of the central bank, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile had passed away at a hospital in the capital Kampala. Social media posts claimed that Mutebile had succumbed to kidney failure. The information was given a semblance of credibility because the governor had been admitted at Nakasero Hospital a few days ago, in addition to Sunday’s appointment of a substantive deputy governor by President Yoweri Museveni. Several journalists were quick to flag the news as false, and eventually the central bank and Nakasero also dismissed the false alarm. “Governor was unwell. His doctors attended to him and he is currently recovering very well,” Bank of Uganda’s Director of Communications Charity Mugumya said on Twitter. The bank went on to explain that Mutebile had taken sick leave on Wednesday March 25, 2020 and would resume duty as soon as he recuperated. “Strongly disregard the false and malicious stories of his passing,” BOU’s Director of Research, Dr. Adam Mugume said. Local news portal, Chimpreports, said Mutbeile is actually due for discharge, according to the director of Nakasero Hospital. “It is absolutely not true. He is fine. Due for discharge shortly,” the hospital’s Dr. Ben Mbonye told Chimpreports, which had reported Mutebile’s admission at Nakasero Hospital. 71-year-old Muteblie has been at the helm of Bank of Uganda since 2001. On Sunday, Museveni appointed Dr Michael Atingi-Ego to the position of deputy governor, replacing Dr. Louis Kasekende whose contract expired in January this year.Wed, 01 Apr 2020 15:00:00 (Daniel Mumbere) death: Senegal, French football mourn iconic Pape Diouf Diouf, a former president of French soccer club Marseille, died Tuesday in Senegal after contracting the coronavirus. It was the West African country’s first COVID-19-related death, according to the health ministry. He was 68. Diouf, who was president of Marseille from 2005-09, had been treated since Saturday in intensive care in Dakar, health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said. Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment. “I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.” Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region. In its most recent count, Senegal has reported 190 cases of the coronavirus, with 45 of those having recovered. Diouf was a charismatic and popular leader who was close to the fans and players at Marseille, the only French team to win the European club title. “Pape will forever remain in the hearts of Marseille people and (is) one of the great architects of the club,” Marseille wrote under a photo of Diouf. Shortly before his time at the club ended, Diouf signed Didier Deschamps as the new coach and Deschamps won the French league title and League Cup in his first season in charge. It was Marseille’s first league title in 18 years. Deschamps, who coached France to World Cup success two years ago, described Diouf as “a man of convictions, a spirited man, passionate about football” adding that his “sudden and brutal death deeply saddens me.” “I could measure his popularity, which was immense with the Marseille people whose hearts he had won,” Deschamps said on L’Equipe’s website. The French soccer league called Diouf’s death “a moment of immense sadness for French soccer.” Diouf was born in Chad to Senegalese parents. After arriving in Marseille at the age of 18, he became a sports journalist and then a players’ agent. Diouf was not afraid to take risks in signing unheralded players, such as the diminutive Mathieu Valbuena from third-tier side Libourne in 2006 when he was 21. The 1.67-meter (5 feet, 5 inches) Valbuena went on to prove Diouf right, and all the doubters wrong, playing 52 times for France. “A great man with a great heart,” Valbuena said. “We were hypnotized by his speeches, he had a lot of charisma.” Diouf was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in 2012, one of the country’s highest honors. APWed, 01 Apr 2020 11:50:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com president tests negative, ends coronavirus quarantine 1: Botswana president tests negative Botswana president Eric Masisi has tested negative for COVID-19 and has subsequently been released from home quarantine, “with immediate effect,” to resume duties at his office. “This follows the release of his Covid-19 test results yesterday which came out negative,” a statement from the office of the president said. The April 1 statement was signed by his pres secretary Batlhaleft Leagajang. The president entered self-isolation on March 22 after returning from Namibia where he attended the swearing-in ceremony of President Hage Geingob. At the time Namibia had three confirmed cases whiles Botswana had none. The country has now registered four coronavirus cases, the index cases on March 30 whiles the first death was also recorded a day later. President Masisi in an address imposed 28-day strict lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } TOGETHER WE CAN CONTAIN COVID-19#coronavirusBW #covid19BW #coronavirus #covid19— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) April 1, 2020 March 22: President in coronavirus self-isolation after Namibia trip Botswana president Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi is in self-isolation for a fourteen day period, the government through the office of president confirmed late Sunday. The decision to self-isolate comes after he returned home from an official trip to neighbouring Namibia. He attended the swearing in ceremony of President Hage Geingob in Windhoek. “The rationale for the imposition of self-isolation is that while Namibia has registered three (3) imported cases, and is considered low risk for SARS-Cv-2 transmission at the the time of His Excellency the President’s trip to Namibia, the low testing rates in the Region makes that determination difficult and there is a high possibility of undetermined local transmission,” the statement read. The statement added that during the period, the president will be tested for coronavirus, “as such, (the president) will be working from his official residence but quarantined away from his family.” Other members of his entourage have been advised to do same. The statement signed by a permanent secretary on government communications also said Masisi during his time in Namibia held talks with his peers on urgent border issues in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other African leaders who attended the inauguration include Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joao Lourenco of Angola. Botswana is one of four countries in the region that has not registered a case of coronavirus as yet. Others include Comoros, Malawi and Lesotho. So far 43 African countries have recorded cases with over 30 deaths and 122 recoveries.Wed, 01 Apr 2020 11:39:04 +0000editorial@africanews.com is worst global crisis since World War II - UN chief Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the world faces the most challenging crisis since World War II, confronting a pandemic threatening people in every country, one that will bring a recession “that probably has no parallel in the recent past.” There is also a risk that the combination of the disease and its economic impact will contribute to “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict,” the U.N. chief said at the launch of a report on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. Guterres called for a much stronger and more effective global response to the coronavirus pandemic and to the social and economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing. He stressed that this will only be possible “if everybody comes together and if we forget political games and understand that it is humankind that is at stake.” “We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending people’s lives,” the report said. “But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is attacking societies at their core.” The secretary-general told reporters: “The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis — large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive, with country and international responses being guided by the World Health Organization.” He stressed that “we are still very far from where we need to be to effectively fight the COVID-19 worldwide and to be able to tackle the negative impacts on the global economy and the global societies.” First, he said, many countries are not respecting WHO guidelines, with each tending to go its own way in dealing with the pandemic. “Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world,” he said. “It is essential that developed countries immediately assist those less developed to bolster their health systems and their response capacity to stop transmission.” Secondly, he said, while $5 trillion has been mobilized, most of that money was by the developed world — including $2 trillion in the United States — to support their own economies from the consequences of the pandemic. “We are far from having a global package to help the developing world to create the conditions both to suppress the disease and to address the dramatic consequences in their populations, in the people that lost their jobs, the small companies that are operating and risk to disappear, those that live with the informal economy that now have no chance to survive,” he said. “Massive support to the developing world is still required.” The report also cites International Labor Organization estimates for 2020 that between 5 million and 25 million jobs will be lost, with a corresponding loss of between $860 million and $3.4 trillion in labor income. It also cited an estimate by the U.N. trade and development organization UNCTAD of a 30-40 percent “downward pressure” on global foreign direct investment flows this year. Guterres announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to support efforts in low- and middle-income countries, with the aim of swiftly enabling governments to tackle the crisis and promote recovery. He expressed hope that there will be “a positive response” from the international community to help vulnerable people including the tens of millions of refugees and internally displaced people, those in the slums of big cities in the global south, and poor people in middle-income countries who are more numerous than in the least developed countries. The secretary-general said developed countries must massively increase the resources available to the developing world by expanding the capacity of the IMF to issue special drawing rights, and enabling other international financial institutions to rapidly inject resources into countries that need them. Guterres said he strongly supports an idea from French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at last week’s summit of the Group of 20 major industrialized nations that there should be a G20 initiative to help Africa. “But, again, we must act quickly to make it happen,” he said. “If not, the African continent will have enormous difficulties in facing this challenge.” APWed, 01 Apr 2020 11:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Sudan's zero coronavirus cases from total of 18 tests - govt Sudan, one of five virus-free African countries, says it has carried out 18 tests for the COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic. A March 31, 2020 statement from the office of the first vice-president confirmed that the country had no case of coronavirus. The same day that Burundi confirmed an index case leaving South Sudan as the only East African country uninfected. “The High Level Taskforce would like to inform the general public that all the 18 samples collected since the outbreak of COVID-19, have tested negative for COVID-19 by Polymerase chain reaction (PCR).” The statement went on to caution against the spread of rumors about an infection in the country. “I am urging people to ignore circulating rumours about the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country. “People should not panic and be scared of the rumours being spread by social and local media,” the statement added. Rwanda has the highest infection rate on mainland East and Horn of Africa region with 75 cases with the lowest being Burundi’s two cases. Mauritius, however, has 175 cases as of March 31. Previously, some experts had expressed doubts about South Sudan’s prolonged no case citing that the country could have failed to detect cases due to lack of capacity. Across Africa, South Africa has run over 40,000 cases and has recorded over 1,300 cases. In mid-March this year, South Sudan suspended flights from countries affected by coronavirus, including Egypt and United Arab Emirates. On 25 March, President Salva Kiir issued an order imposing a night-time curfew, as part preventive measures against coronavirus. The measure started on March 26. Interior Minister Paul Mayom Akec announced the measure stressing that the populace were expected to stay home from 8pm until 6am across South Sudan until further notice. Akec further said health conditions requiring movements of ambulances, broadcast journalists on duty and network operators on duty would be exempted. “The order is in compliance of the republican order issued by the President for the protection of the citizens of South Sudan from the health risk of COVID-19,” he explained.Wed, 01 Apr 2020 11:15:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) puts first woman doctor, Tewhida ben Sheikh, on new banknotes’s apex bank, Central Bank of Tunisia last Thursday, March 26, unveiled new banknotes honouring a female history maker in the country’s medical history. The bank disclosed that the new 10 Tunisian dinar note would feature female doctor Tewhida ben Sheikh, the first woman to make it onto the country’s currency. Ben Sheikh, born in 1909 passed on a decade ago, in 2010. She was the first Muslim woman to become a physician in North Africa in the 20th century, and is particularly renowned for her work in women’s health and specialization in gynaecology. In 1928, she became the first woman to attain a high school baccalaureate and eventually specialized in gynaecology, heading campaigns around access ti contraception and abortion which precipitated the legalization of abortion in 1965. The new note went into circulation on Friday, March 27, as legal tender. It will circulate alongside the country’s other currency. The country uses coins and banknotes. The dinar is subdivided into 1,000 milim or millimes. Currently, there are coins of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 500 millimes and 1, 5 and 10 dinars in circulation. With respect to banknotes there are 5, 10, 20 and 50 dinars. #WATCH Tunisia honours first female doctor on banknote Featuring on Tunisia’s 10 dinar bill is the late physician and gynaecologist Tawhida Ben Sheikh who was the country’s first female doctor READ:— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) March 30, 2020 In a statement, the central bank said that the new note has several security features, including: A watermark through the image of Ben Sheikh and the number 10 that can be seen when looking at the note through light. A windowed security thread that appears continuous when looked at over a light, but discontinuous otherwise. A circle on the upper left corner containing the number 10 that changes color depending on the angle of view. Micro-text printing of “DIX DINARS” below the portrait of Ben Sheikh and in other places. According to the Global Exchange website, the dinar was set out as the new currency in Tunisia in 1958, although it did not start to be used until 1960. Until that moment, the official currency had been the franc and the equivalence to the new currency was of 1,000 francs to 1 dinar. The Tunisian dinar is commonly abbreviated DT, although the word “dinar” placed after the number is also accepted. Importing and exporting dinars is forbidden in Tunisia. Every year, each Tunisian is allowed to exchange up to 6,000 dinars in foreign currency before leaving the country.Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:20:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) governor hails Lagosians for respecting lockdown’s commercial hub of Lagos is at the center of the country’s coronavirus combat. Lagos has the highest number of confirmed cases (as at March 29) and the state government has continued to roll out multiple measures to deal with the disease. Lagos has in the past weeks suspended schools across the state – be they public or private, 70% of state government workers were asked to stay at home last week with the most recent move being a week’s closure of shops and markets. The state, with a population of over 20 million, has also been a major beneficiary of coronavirus intervention funds. Governor BabaJide Sanwo-Olu late last week announced a stimulus package to benefit poor people. Africanews will put a special spotlight on Lagos and major coronavirus developments coming from the state. Our main Nigeria COVID-19 updates page is also available. April 1: Governor hails Lagosians State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has commended Lagosians for respecting the federal government imposed lockdown which started on Monday stressing that it was in the best interest of the populace. He also thanked the security forces and the frontline medical staff for their dedication in supporting enforcement. He touched on the emergency food response measures which had been extended to over half-dozen local government areas. “I would like to note the high level of our people’s compliance with this presidential directive. It has shown that we realise the enormity of the challenge that we are facing and the choice that we have made – fighting to stave off a massive attack of COVID-19. “Our medical staff – exceptional men and women all – are doing their all to ensure that the patients do well, regain their health and return home to their families. We will be doing a lot to encourage them and lighten their burden by staying indoors. “Those at the bottom of the economic ladder, the underprivileged and the most vulnerable among us, will not be left to fend for themselves at this difficult time, Our Relief Package, which will reach about 200,000 households in the first instance, has continued… “Parts of the following local governments are being covered: Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Ikeja, Badagry, Ibeju – Lekki, Agege, Oshodi-Isolo, Apapa and Lagos Mainland. Others will soon be reached,” he stressed. Finally, Lagos Island that never sleeps now on lockdown…— Dele Momodu Ovation (@DeleMomodu) March 31, 2020 March 31: Lagos accounts for 61% of cases Lagos state accounts for 61% of reported coronavirus cases across Africa’s most populous nation as of March 30. Nigeria’s diesease control outfit confirmed the case tally had reached 131. Out of the number, 81 were in Lagos. The federal government on March 29 imposed a lockdown on Lagos and Ogun States as well as the federal capital territory, Abuja. Meanwhile, Lagos continues to receive support from the private sector. The latest being 500 million naira donation by telecom giant Mike Adenuga. Adenuga also donated a billion naira to the federal government’s response. Governance must continue during our #COVID19 required lockdown. The Lagos state executive council has moved to virtual meetings that allow everyone participate at the same time. We are fully committed to leading from the front. Please #StayAtHomeAndStaySafe— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) March 31, 2020 March 30: Elumelu’s UBA redeems 1 billion naira donation Pan-African banking entity, the UBA Group, on Monday redeemed a one billion naira donation to the Lagos State government. The amount was part of a $14 million dollar pledge by the bank to Nigeria’s coronavirus combat. TUBA Group’s Managing Director, Kenneth Uzoka handed over the cheque to Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on behalf of the group Chairman Tony Elumelu at the Lagos State government house. An amount of one billion naira is also to be shared among remaining 35 states with 500 million for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Another billion will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for medical centers. An amount of 1.5 billion naira is also reserved for the bank’s overseas operations. N1 billion to Lagos, Nigeria N500 million to Abuja, Nigeria N1 billion to the remaining 35 states in Nigeria N1.5 billion to UBA’s presence countries in Africa N1 billion for Medical Centres with equipment & supplies Free Telemedicine call centre facility— UBA Group (@UBAGroup) March 26, 2020 “This is really an important intervention and it will go a long way to meet our needs now and in the future to ensure that Lagos continues to remain safe for business. “We are indeed happy that the bank decided to make this very bold move to support the healthcare delivery system in Lagos and we sincerely appreciate the timely gesture,” the governor said after the ceremony. Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub has been the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus headache accounting for more than half of the national tally which stood at 111 as at midday of March 30. Lagos, Osun state and Abuja have been put under a 14-day lockdown by federal government starting today. ensure that Lagos continues to remain safe for business. We are indeed happy that the bank decided to make this very bold move to support the healthcare delivery system in Lagos and we sincerely appreciate the timely gesture. (2/2)— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) March 30, 2020 Ex-Lagos governor donates to state, NCDC National leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has donated over half a million dollars to the coronavirus combat in the country. Tinubu, a former Lagos state governor on Sunday pledged the sum of 200 million naira (about $522,000). He noted that the amount was to be split between the Lagos state government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). He also outlined economic measures he believed government needed to undertake to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. March 29 is Tinubu’s birthday which has come to be associated with the Bola Tinubu colloquium, an annual event to celebrate the day. The current pandemic meant that it could not hold. “Today, but for COVID-19 we would, as we have done for the last twelve years, have celebrated this day with the Bola Tinubu Colloquium. This year we could not but by God’s grace we will do so again,” he said in a tweet before announcing his pledge.. It has usually been attended by top government officials including the President, vice president, state governors and captains of industry from across the country. 3. That is why I have chosen today to announce that I will be making a donation of N200m to fight this deadly virus. Pursuant to this pledge, N100m will be made available to the government of Lagos State and another N100m to the NCDC to support their efforts in fighting COVID-19.— Bola Ahmed Tinubu (@AsiwajuTinubu) March 29, 2020 Buhari imposes lockdown on Lagos State The Federal Government on Sunday, March 29, imposed a lockdown on Lagos State as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The measure which also affects Ogun state and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, was announced by President Buhari in his first nationwide broadcast over the pandemic. “Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. “This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States. “All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period. “The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed,” the president said in an address that touched on a range of issues around the pandemic. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Lagos State (Case File) As at: March 27, 2020 Total confirmed = 52 Active Cases = 49 Total discharged = 3 Nigeria’s overall tally = 97 Key updates below include: Federal government locks down Lagos, Ogun GT Bank donates 110-bed isolation facility Governor dismisses curfew reports Lagos undertaking mass disinfection Lagos using neighbourhood market schemes 70% of public servants asked to stay at home GT Bank hands over isolation facility to state govt On Saturday Macrh 28, Lagos State Government took delivery of a 110-bed isolation facility on the Lagos Island, where confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the State can be managed and treated. The facility was conceived and built in collaboration with the management of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank). The bank said it was part of its social responsibility in helping combat the pandemic. Governor Sanwo-Olu allayed the fear of the residents over the growing cases of the disease, saying the State was working assiduously to stem the rate of transmission, especially by those who returned from abroad. The Governor hinted that there had been improvement in the recovery of some patients currently isolated at the State’s Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba. He said the State would continue to build capacity to enhance its response strategy and actions towards containing the pandemic. The bank’s CEO Segun Agbaje hailed the State Government for accepting the collaboration offer in building the structure, noting that half of the resources used to build the facility was donated by Africa Finance Corporation. He expressed optimism that the effort would strengthen the capacity of Lagos to stop the spread of the virus. The isolation facility, which sits on an expansive area in the Mobolaji Olufunsho Johnson Stadium in Onikan. It is divided into operational sections, including Intensive Care Unit (ICU), regular-bed wards, pharmacy department, doctors’ quarters and consulting rooms. The facility is also equipped with ventilators for the use of patients that may develop acute respiratory symptoms. Residents of Mokoko in dire situation amid COVID-19 .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:30:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) govt, opposition back coronavirus-induced poll delay’s election set for August has been postponed as the national election board said Tuesday the coronavirus makes it impossible to prepare. The vote has been highly anticipated in a country that has seen sweeping political reforms in the past two years but a surge of violence as some people use the new freedoms to settle old scores. Both the government and opposition camps have expressed support for the election board’s decision. With the government’s mandate expiring in a few months, lawmakers are expected to vote to extend it. This is the first major election in Africa to be postponed because of the coronavirus. Several African countries have upcoming presidential votes this year, including Burundi and Tanzania. “Although the circumstances of the delay are deeply worrying, it does offer an opportunity to reset Ethiopia’s troubled transition,” William Davison, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for the country, said in a statement. The ruling party should take this opportunity to discuss with opponents important issues such as conditions for a fair election, he said. It is “necessary that they are provided the time and conditions to compete on a level playing field with the incumbent when the electoral timetable is rescheduled.” Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the political reforms since he took office in April 2018, has repeatedly pledged that the election would be free and fair. His reforms included appointing a former opposition figure to lead the election board. APThu, 02 Apr 2020 06:54:13 +0000editorial@africanews.com needs $100 bn economic stimulus amid coronavirus combat - UNECA is two to three weeks away from the worst of the coronavirus storm and needs an emergency economic stimulus of $100 billion according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ECA. This figure will bolster preventative measures and support its fragile healthcare systems. Almost half of the funds could come from waiving interest payments to multilateral institutions according to the organisation. That would give countries the fiscal space needed to impose social-distancing measures, widen social safety nets and equip hospitals ahead of an expected surge in infections. While Africa accounts for 1% of global health expenditure, it carries 23% of the disease burden. A lack of resources and staff means authorities must work fast to limit the spread of the disease on a continent where hospitals have an average of just 1.8 beds per 1,000 people, UNECA data show. As at March 31, there are more than 5,000 Covid-19 infections in 48 countries across the continent, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Soweto residents defy social distancing measures the midst of the lockdown, the hustle and bustle of ordinary days has somewhat quieted in Soweto. The streets of South Africa’s most famous township are struggling to be completely free. In this historic city’s supermarket, hundreds of people line up to stock up on supplies. In this queue, social distancing measures have been defied. And yet they are recommended by health authorities. “I’m worried there’s no police. In all the lines… You can see how long the lines are in this hypermarket. But there are no policemen. And keeping the set distance is not the order of the day”, said HR practitioner, Sihle Hlomuka. Seen Msomi, a marketer ‘‘thinks there has to be some kind of force implemented because people aren’t listening. Next to the people who come here to do their shopping, there are people who drink and people who hang out in the street. These days off are not just for staying home and doing whatever we want as we would do on a vacation. They are not a vacation. We really need to join.” South Africa has imposed a 21-day lockdown period which is set to last until April 16th. Less than a week after the start of this unprecedented period in the country’s history, violence involving military personnel against civilians has been reported, particularly in townships such as Soweto. AFPWed, 01 Apr 2020 05:27:15 +0000editorial@africanews.com celebrate its 20th anniversary online instead of onstage due to the coronavirus [No Comment] spring, dance company BalletBoyz was all set to celebrate its 20th anniversary with “Deluxe” – a live tour taking in theaters across the U.K.. But with the coronavirus outbreak forcing venues to shut their doors, it became clear to the company’s founders William Trevitt and Michael Nunn that the show couldn’t go on – at least, not as originally planned.Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com, Uganda lead in global searches for coronavirus info: Google has the highest coronavirus-related searches, according to data from global search engine giant Google. Google’s trending section is keeping tabs on how its users are searching for information on the coronavirus pandemic that has been ravaging the world for months. As of Monday 30th March 2020, Ethiopia was leading in global searches with a value of 100, which represents the peak popularity of a particular search term. A few days earlier, Uganda’s searches for coronavirus information also peaked at 100. Other African countries featured in Google’s coronavirus search trends include Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. What are Africans searching for? Google provides details of searches for a few African countries including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. In South Africa coronavirus tips were trending, along with Italy and China as search terms. Nigerians are searching for symptoms, cures and also interested in what’s happening in China and Italy, a pattern similar to that in Kenya. Google, like other technology companies is working with first responders to the pandemic including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and different countries’ health ministries. For every search, Google displays a special Covid-19 alert section that provides credible information on symptoms, prevention, treatment and the latest statistics of the pandemic. WHO has already declared the massive amounts of coronavirus-related information available on the internet as an infodemic, and users are encouraged to only seek answers from verified sources like health ministries, centers for disease control and international agencies like the World Health Organisation. You can follow Google trends hereTue, 31 Mar 2020 14:06:05 (Daniel Mumbere) express concerns as coronavirus lockdown kicks in in Africa’s biggest city scrambled to finish last-minute shopping on Monday night ahead of a lockdown imposed by the federal government. Authorities are trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Lagos is the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the country accounting for about 60% of all cases across the country. In the impoverished area of Lagos Island, buyers can’t find enough food for two weeks. Abdul Rahim, a customer in Jankara market told the media: “We are not fully prepared because the economic situation in Nigeria is not really good. It’s very poor. Things are more costly than before.” For his part, a vendor at the market, Emeka worried of the impact of the lockdown: “They have asked us to sit at home. They have to provide what we are going to need for us. “Inside the house, there is no food for us. You see many people here but they have no money to buy nothing for them. No stuffed food. We don’t have anything to eat in the house,” he bemoaned. President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a two-week “cessation of all movements” in two states – Lagos and Ogun as well as in the capital Abuja in a bid to ward off an explosion of cases in Africa’s most populous country. Businesses are to be shut, non-food shops closed and people made to stay at home as the authorities look to track down possible carriers of the disease after reporting 111 confirmed cases and one death so far.Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com African nations spared of COVID-19 has inaugurated its coronavirus detection system at a time when the country seems to have been spared from the pandemic that is affecting most nations in Africa and around the world. Health Minister Thadée Ndikumana gave a tour of the laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health to the press . According to the government, the infrastructure meets the standards of the World Health Organization. “Burundi has organized according to its means. We have already allocated an apartment at the Prince Louis Hospital, equipped with oxygen, but we also have eight rooms that are actually available at the military hospital, while Burundi is in the process of finalising a hospital with a capacity of more than one hundred people in Mudubugu”, Ndikumana said. Despite zero case of the coronavirus in Burundian territory, authorities are intensifying precautionary measures to its citizens especially in public places. “It’s a very scary disease, that’s how they describe it on the radio. The authorities warn us to enter the market after washing our hands thoroughly and if possible to leave our homes after washing our hands”, Alexis Nzohabonayo, a trader said. In addition to Burundi, five other African countries were spared by covid-19 as of Tuesday March 31. There are two islands: Comoros and Sao Tome and Principe. The rest are mostly landlocked countries such as Lesotho, Malawi and South Sudan. AFPWed, 01 Apr 2020 05:27:18 +0000editorial@africanews.com Lagos, Brazzaville lockdown begins’s largest city Lagos is almost empty following a lockdown over COVID-19. Business have been closed, markets abandoned and streets are empty. The usually chaotic traffic jam of a city that holds some 20 million people has been brought to a standstill. Police have been deployed to man checkpoints during this two week lockdown. On Monday, Africa’s post populous nation embarked on one of the continent’s most ambitious efforts at social distancing after 135 cases and 2 deaths were recorded due to the coronavirus. In Central Africa, the Republic of Congo also begins a 20 day nationwide lockdown and a night curfew on March 31 according to a decree released Monday. The curfew is scheduled from 8pm to 5am. On Saturday, President Denis Sassou Nguesso also declared a state of health emergency. Brazzaville has reported 19 coronavirus cases. The defense and security forces have been mobilized to enforce the lockdown. Several other African countries have begun the lockdown including South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda. AFPWed, 01 Apr 2020 05:27:20 +0000editorial@africanews.com away in Zimbabwe as coronavirus lockdown kicks in and streets were almost deserted in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare on Monday as the country entered lockdown in its battle against the coronavirus. Police were deployed to control crowds at supermarkets as people queued for food whilst officers also controlled traffic in the city centre. A local health worker said the government had made “the best decision” in limiting people’s movements as she hoped it would help stop the spread of the virus. “As a health worker I think it was the best decision made by the president. For example looking at the Italian situation there was crisis where nobody was positive about COVID-19 when it first came. “And also looking at our situation in Zimbabwe and the resources that we have, we have got limited resources as a third world country. So I think it was the best just to limit the number of people moving up and down like on public transport, especially in the CBD, and also limiting the number of visitors going to the hospitals, to and from, because also it helps in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Jacqueline Mudoka said. The southern African nation has few cases of the virus but its health system is in crisis, and the virus may quickly overwhelm it. There are seven cases with one death as at Monday March 30. Government is also supporting one million vulnerable people with cash transfers.Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:35:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com down in Uganda: surviving coronavirus Kampala-style Mayanja lives in Kampala, the bustling capital of Uganda. He is one of an estimated 1.6 million people ordered expressly to stay at home by the government. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is one of the most heard African leaders relative to how governments are strategizing on containment and curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. His most recent address was on March 30, 2020 where the strictest set of measures were rolled out. Amongst them: a 14-day ban on all transport. Public transport was banned last week but private cars have been added as cases in the country rise. Africanews as part of our coronavirus coverage reached out to Raymond over how he was surviving the lockdown. His first response was: “It’s not an easy kind of life to cope up with. But it’s the only solution around to stop the spread of the virus.” He is one of few people who are able to do some amount of their job online but even with that, he admits internet connectivity is a headache. “I work when work comes in, just that internet is a bit costly.” What are your biggest fears living in a lockdown? My biggest fear is, how long will the lockdown take? Shall the medical experts have gotten a cure? How did you prepare for the current situation? I had saved up some little money, I did some shopping but if the period takes long it may not last. How do you socialise in these times? I use watsapp and email, plus Facebook. How was a typical day before the lockdown? It was normal, however panic was everywhere. Do you think government took the right decision with a lockdown and why? It was totally the right decision, mostly with how poor our health system is… The lockdown is the only way to stop the spread. It’s going to affect us economically but it’s the only solution. Life comes first. If you want to share your coronavirus lockdown experiences, please send us an email at Our team will contact you with a set of questions.Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:54:19 +0000editorial@africanews.com restores internet to western Oromia after 3-month blackout the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world and particularly in Africa, the need for information has never been more important but in the midst of all that too the battle against misinformation rages. The World Health Organization, WHO, called the scourge of fake news, an infodemic, that is even a more potent threat that the virus that has affected hundreds of thousands and killed thousand others. As part of our multi-pronged coverage of the pandemic, we have different news slots looking at the major news surrounding COVID-19 outbreak, the impact on sports, the business disruption and even effect on culture, religion and entertainment. Internet access restored to western Oromia in Ethiopia Internet connectivity has been restored to a part of Ethiopia’s Oromia region which has been without connection for about three months. In January this year, is a partial internet cut was imposed across several towns in western Ethiopia. President of the region confirmed early Tuesday that due to improvement in the security situation in the region, connection was to be restored. State-run FBC confirmed that connectivity had returned. Activists, press and human rights groups had actively campaigned for government to restore internet access in the affected areas. The campaign got a fresh impetus with the coronavirus pandemic as campaigners insisted that people in the region risked not getting enough information of the public health crisis. At the time of the blackout, government defended the move as necessary to curb rising insecurity in the area where the army was engaged in exchanges with a former rebel group. Over a dozen officials of the region have been killed in the last few months by suspected rebels in the area. The BBC confirmed back in January that “in some areas mobile call services were also not working.” The state monopoly EthioTelecom stayed away from commenting on the situation. The outfit twice last year cut the internet; first over national level examinations and in the wake of a foiled coup in the Amhara regional state. #Ethiopia: Internet has been restored in west #Oromia zones— FBC (Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.C.) (@fanatelevision) March 31, 2020 This LIVE blog zooms in on social media relative to how people are reacting to issues around the virus, we would also look at how African leaders and other influential people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach out. We would also drop major international news on the virus once a while.Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:50:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)