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Coronavirus: Zimbabwe beer ban U-turn, AU leaders meet, Cameroon tally booms

Coronavirus: Zimbabwe beer ban U-turn, AU leaders meet, Cameroon tally booms


The 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 - Zimbabwe police reverse beer ban, AU leaders meet

  • DRC locks down expats zone, Malawi index cases
  • 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 4: Zimbabwe beer ban, AU leaders meet

Reports surfaced on Friday that Zimbabwe police had issued a ban on sale of beer under lockdown rules to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. The move attracted lots of social media criticism.

But late Fiday, state-run Heral newspaper reported that police had reversed the earlier statement banning alcohol sales saying supermarkets and registered bottle stores can now continue selling beer on condition it is consumed off the premises.

In a statement, national police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned drinkers against gathering outside their homes.

Cameroon’s tally ‘boomed’ on Friday when Health Minister Manaouda Malachie confirmed that 203 new cases had been recorded taking the national tally to 503 as of March 3.

READ MORE: Cameroon records 203 new cases as COVID-19 tally hits 509

Meanwhile, African leaders have been holding virtual meetings to put together a continental response to the pandemic which has seen its statistics – cases, deaths, recoveries – growing in the last two weeks.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame called it a “productive conference call chaired by AU Chair President Cyril Ramaphosa,” according to him, the discussions centered on the need to speak with a common voice and seek Africa’s best interest.

“We discussed the need for Africa to stand together,speak with one voice and work through our institutions to mobilize resources and harmonize the support from international partners. Thank you to initiatives by African institutions such as African Development Bank and Africa Exim Bank for their support

“The meeting stressed the urgency & need to materialize all commitments swiftly and flexibly. Through coordinated action, we can succeed in mitigating the health and economic impact of COVID-19 on our population.

“The loss of and damage to life and economy globally and particularly in Africa is colossal….and so must be the amounts of energy and financial package(s) to bring things back to normal and beyond,” Kagame wrote on Twitter.

Some African leaders who participated included Senegal’s Macky Sall, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi, Mali’s Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, Egypt’s Abdel Fatteh Al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat and WHO boss, Tedros Ghebereyesus were also part of the meeting. “We were joined later by President Emmanuel Macron, a good partner for Africa,” Kagame added.

The Namibian president on Friday disclosed that he had held talks with his Chinese counterpart as part of efforts to strengthen Africa’s response to COVID-19. “I also expressed gratitude to President XI for China’s support and care of over 500 Namibian students in Wuhan and China during this pandemic,” Hage Geingob added.

Meanwhile South Africa’s Health Minister says the country is formally going to seek assistance from Cuba and China on managing the pandemic. Nigeria also confirms that it is awaiting a medical team from China to support its response to the virus.

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.

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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.


— 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 https://t.co/TKzhTM9gxe

— 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 https://t.co/CCXLYxS2gY

— 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). https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg pic.twitter.com/5iSYrHT8Jv

— 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 https://t.co/nYgusVpcdq

— 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 https://t.co/SV9cVPr2ov

— 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 pic.twitter.com/BB6DVZYNwq

— 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 https://t.co/zlqrA3dnBS pic.twitter.com/RWNgfxa1Fr

— 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. pic.twitter.com/6B5VTmxv63

— 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).

➡️ https://t.co/nPuhM6aEDT pic.twitter.com/sbrhQA4UP3

— 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.

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. pic.twitter.com/no1pcVjCDR

— 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. https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg pic.twitter.com/5EP26IT3Yh

— 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’ pic.twitter.com/zSsEAXqOol

— 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. pic.twitter.com/J6ugBP5ewb

— 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.”


— 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: https://t.co/A0dGVHYoYm https://t.co/q0YsP3PzRo

— 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.