Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:38:30 +0000Why does Emirati entrepreneur Sara Al Madani say no to female empowerment & yes to failure? a very early age, Emirati entrepreneur Dr. Sara Al Madani believed her ideas could turn a tidy profit. “I started my first business at the age of fifteen with only Dh20,000 ($5,445), and I’ve been financially independent ever since,” she told Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham, anchor of Inspire Middle East. Since then, Her Excellency has made successful regional forays in the food, fashion and technology sectors. Her advice to budding startups in the Middle East and North Africa, is that a global downturn presents the perfect moment to take the plunge. “A recession is never a reason to stop, or a reason to be scared to fail,” she says. “With the pandemic, a lot of companies went bankrupt. Therefore, they left the playground. They left a huge space for a lot of new blood, a lot of new ideas, a lot of creativity to take over.” Al Madani has taken her own advice, and whilst in lockdown with her family, she recently launched a company called ‘Hala-hi’. “It’s a platform that allows fans to connect to their favourite celebrities and to request personalized shout-outs from them,” she says. “It’s fun, it’s the first-of-its-kind in the region and we’re so excited about it.” Rebel & risk-taker IMAGE: IME SO3E25 – MAIN – SECONDARY PICTURE Dr. Sara Al Madani with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce Al Madani is a self-confessed rebel and risk-taker, and her attitude is one of towering ambition and positivity. The young Emirati is a motivational speaker & mentor, and at just 26-years-of-age she became the youngest board member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & the UAE’s SME Council in the Ministry of Economy. When coaching others, the businesswoman is disarmingly honest about challenges she experienced on her road to success. As in 2013, when a commercial venture with a friend, faltered. “I woke up one day with a phone call from the police that my cheques had bounced,” she told Euronews. “I was literally bankrupt, I had zero money in my bank account, yet I had over 100 employees and over 4 branches to take care of. I focused on how I went wrong, or contributed to make this go wrong, as that’s how you learn from your mistakes.” Banishing taboos IMAGE: IME SO3E25 – MAIN – SECONDARY PICTURE 2 Dr. Sara Al Madani works from home When asked how she views failure, so often not discussed in regional societies and business circles, Al Madani had this to say: “Failure is a big taboo and we’ve been taught through the media, through our culture, through our families – that failure is something we should be ashamed of and never talk about,” she says. “But I’ve never for a day felt that resonated with me. So, every time I failed, I spoke loudly about it. I wanted people to learn from mistakes so they wouldn’t do it again and I wanted to be open for other people to give me advice.” Al Madani doesn’t see any barriers for women in business in the Middle East and has no time for talk of gender inequality as a reason for women not excelling. Moreover, she wholly rejects the concept of female empowerment. “I don’t know why people even talk about this topic anymore,” she says. “To me, we’re all equal. There is no gender we’re just humans and I don’t believe that men and women compete with each other, they complete each other. As a business leader, diversity is my number one thing and I don’t believe that women belong in feminine industries and men belong in masculine industries.” As she raises her young family in the UAE, Al Madani’s overarching goal is to continue to inspire future generations of both men and women, to not only blaze a trail in business, but to give each other a helping hand along the way. With contributions from Nancy Sarkis, Arthur de Oliveira and Nicolas Tabbal.Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:38:30 +0000editorial@africanews.com of elephants found dead in Botswana mysterious deaths of several hundred elephants in northern Botswana within a short period of time is raising deep concerns. Question over these deaths remain unanswered several days after the publication of a report by the NGO Elephants Without Borders and its confirmation by Director of National Parks and Wildlife. At least 275, carcasses have been found while the NGO reports a figure of 356 elephants. “At this stage, it’s difficult to really tell what could be the cause of the mortality. We have eliminated from the local laboratories, the possibility that anthrax is the cause of death. But there are still a lot of infectious diseases and potentially other toxins that are being still investigated by the laboratory samples that have been collected”, Mmadi Reuben, Principal veterinarian of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National parks said. Carcass samples are currently being analyzed in three laboratories in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Canada, the Botswana Ministry of Environment said. But more needs to be done quickly. “The reports were coming in two or three months ago when this first started. So, something is happening and action is clearly needed’‘, Conservation biologist, Keith Lindsay said. At the end of May, Botswana’s Ministry of Tourism had already indicated that it was investigating the mysterious deaths of about ten elephants in the same area. Elephants Without Borders estimates that 70% of the deaths are about a month old, while the remaining 30% appear to be more recent, between a day and two weeks old. AFPFri, 03 Jul 2020 15:39:10 +0000editorial@africanews.com ministry temporarily closed over virus exposure remains one of Africa’s least impacted countries, one of a handful with less than 100 cases of COVID-19. Government has in the past month taken drastic measures including a strict lockdown. President Eric Masisi tested negative for the third time on June 1. The wholes parliament was quarantined at a point when a health worker tested positive there. As part of containment measures, wearing of home-made masks have been made obligatory in public. Data collection has also been a key plank of the response as part of contact tracing efforts. Some schools have reopened along with the trend across parts of Africa. Strict health protocols are to be observed as kids return for lessons. This article concentrates on major updates from the country in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. July 3: Foreign Affairs Ministry shut The Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation has been shut “due to COVID-19 exposure,” government confirmed on Friday. “... in line with the precautionary protocol measures the Ministry Headquarters will provide its services remotely until further notice. “The Ministry Headquarters in Gaborone will be closed to the public and visitors,” an official statement added. Total confirmed cases = 227 Total recoveries = 28 Total deaths = 1 Active cases = 198 Figures valid as of close of day July 2, 2020 July 2: President in quarantine – again President Masisi is in quarantine following the discovery of a positive case on one of the officers “closely serving” him. It will be the fourth time the president is quarantining. A statement from his office confirming the incident read in part: “The Office of the President regrets to inform that due to the discovery of a positive Covid-19 test result last night on one of the officials closely serving His Excellency the President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi. “... the usual Covid-19 precautionary protocols have been activated, resulting in the immediate self-quarantine of His Excellency the President and some of his inner circle of officials. Contact Tracing is continuing and further updates will be made in the course of time,” it added. First quarantine after trip to Namibia for inauguration ceremony Second quarantine, after exposure to infected person during parliamentary session Third quarantine, after trip to Zimbabwe for SADC meeting June 23: Mandatory testing of cross border travellers The presidential task force for COVID-19 reported on Monday that it had recorded success in mandatory testing of cross border travellers, after one such traveler tested positive. The said traveler – an undocumented migrant, who came into contact with about 15 security officers in Gaborone and other primary contacts is currently receiving treatment. She was reported to authorities by residents of a compound where she stayed. “The 15 security officers and others who were primary contacts are currently awaiting their results. Pending the outcome of the test results, primary contacts of the security officers and other primary contacts such as their family members, are currently treated as casual contacts,” a June 22 statement from the task force read. Total confirmed cases = 89 Total recoveries = 25 Total deaths = 1 Active cases = 63 Figures valid as of close of day June 22, 2020 PRESIDENT MASISI'S MESSAGE TO RETURNING STUDENTS “Despite these difficult circumstances learning has got to continue, achievement has to be attained and performance realised.”— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) June 22, 2020 June 16: Gaborone lockdown lifted The lockdown imposed on Greater Gaborone has been lifted authorities announced on Monday, the measure was imposed last Friday. The lifting follows re-testing of 16 suspected cases, which returned 10 negative results. The remaining six cases are awaiting confirmatory results, according director of health services Malaki Tshipayagae. The southern Africa country exited an extreme lockdown on 21 May, the country was subsequently zoned with strict regulations on movement. Government has made contact keeping a core part of reopening the economy. With the lifting of the Gaborone lockdown, public schools are also set to reopen with the first batch (completing students) returning tomorrow whiles the latest returnees will be back in August (pre-primary children), a basic education ministry statement confirmed today. In between the two batches, non-completing students will return on Monday June 22. The statement said private schools are to make their own reopening decisions. PRESS RELEASE GREATER GABORONE LOCKDOWN LIFTING— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) June 16, 2020 Total confirmed cases = 60 Total recoveries = 24 Total deaths = 1 Active cases = 35 Figures valid as of close of day June 15, 2020 .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%; } June 12: Gaborone hospital, bank closed over exposure A bank and hospital in the capital Gaborone have been temporarily closed over what government says is possible COVID-19 exposure. A statement signed by coordinator of the presidential task force, Kereng Masupu said the Gaborone Private Hospital and Stanbic Bank branch at Fairgrounds were to remain shut till further notice. It added that “all staff, patients and visitors of these facilities between 8th June and 12th June, should immediately self-quarantine for 14 days” and call a toll free number in case they needed any assistance. “While further investigations are ongoing, the Contact Tracing Team will also communicate with those who have visited the hospital and bank, and are deemed to require further medical attention,” it added. Confirmed cases = 48 Number of deaths = 1 Recoveries = 24 Active cases = 23 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 12, 2020 CLOSURE OF POSSIBLE COVID-19 EXPOSED FACILITIES#LetsDefeatCOVID19Together #AReFenyengCOVID19Mmogo— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) June 12, 2020 June 7: Days of prayer ends today President Eric Masisi’s call for national prayers in efforts against COVID-19 ends today. He asked the populace to dedicate Friday (June 5) till today (June 7) as days of prayer. Countries that have also gone this path include Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. He, however, stresses the need to wear masks and to observe all necessary health protocols as a means of virus spread prevention. “We are not out of woods yet. Remember to wear your masks in public and follow all the health protocols,” he said via social media. The University of Botswana has also intensified online learning according to a bulletin by the Presidential Task Force. Whiles new regulations have been issued on the road transport permits under the Emergency COVID-19 regulations. Total confirmed cases = 40 Total recoveries = 23 Total deaths = 1 Active cases = 16 Figures valid as of close of day June 6, 2020 A REMINDER TO PRAY FOR THIS NATION AND THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE #BWPresidency #WeCanBeatCOVID19 ??— Office of the President, Republic of Botswana. (@BWPresidency) June 6, 2020 June 1: President tests negative – again The government this morning announced that President Eric Masisi was due to be released from home quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19. “His Excellency went into quarantine following his one day trip to Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May to attend the SADC Extra Ordinary Summit on Politics, Defence and Security,” a statement signed by his press secretary read in part. This becomes the third time the president has been tested for the virus. First was after he made a trip to Namibia for the investiture of Hage Geingob. The second was last month when a health worker at parliament tested positive during a session he was in attendance. All lawmakers and persons present were ordered to self quarantine at the time. A number of MPs who flouted the rule were subsequently forced into institutional quarantine. Lockdown measures were eased last month whiles government also zoned the country as part of virus spread containment measures. Strict health protocols and data entries have been legislated for public offices and private businesses. School also reopen this week with similar measures. Botswana president tests negative – again ????? - His third quarantine, after SADC trip to Zimbabwe - Previously quarantined after trip to Namibia, after parliament recorded incident - #COVID19 stats: 35 cases, 1 death, 20 recoveries, 14 active cases— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban ? #StayHome (@AlfaAfrican) June 1, 2020 Major incidents covered previously: June 1: President tests negative – again May 31: Tourism top on president’s agenda as reopening continues May 25: govt prioritize data amid stay away campaign May 20: Extreme social distancing ends, country zoned May 19: president in Harare for SADC meeting May 13: More recoveries, ex-prez leads local donors May 11: capital Gaborone declared high-risk area, ‘quarantined’ May 10: Regulations on resumption of road transport May 8: Steve Harvey’s donation arrives, relaxed lockdown starts May 6: Phased lifting of lockdown starting May 8 May 1: Face masks compulsory in public, shared spaces April 23: All MPs released from quarantine after tests April 14: Cabinet donates 10% of salaries towards COVID-19 relief fund April 10: stubborn MPs moved into govt supervised quarantine April 9: Tally rises to 13, all MPs placed under quarantine April 1: Botswana president tests negative March 22: President in coronavirus self-isolation after Namibia trip May 31: Tourism top on president’s agenda as reopening continues Government has prioritized reviving the country’s tourism sector as the gradual reopening of the economy continues after a virus lockdown. The office of the president said in a social media post: “In order to revive Botswana’s tourism sector Government shall accelerate the initiatives aimed at stimulating local and regional tourism by creating an enabling environment for increased investment in the tourism sector and facilitate in particular citizen participation.” The statement said the areas of agro tourism and land tourism will also be identified and made available for citizens. The reopening of the country continues with return to school on June 1. But parents are urged to stick to strict guidelines for children returning to school. Full address – Presidential update on government response to coronavirus pandemic Total confirmed cases = 35 Total recoveries = 20 Total deaths = 1 Active cases = 14 Figures valid as of close of day May 31, 2020 May 25: govt prioritize data amid stay away campaign The Botswana government is emphasizing data collection at public and private business places as a key plank in the fight against the pandemic. An advisory posted on Twitter over the weekend reminded outfits of their data collection responsibilities. Titled “Advisory on registration details required across all business sector entry points,” it said all organizations must: “… ensure and safeguard personal visitors / customers information in COVID-19 registers for purpose of contact tracing.” The require entries are: Full name, contact details, date of their visit, temperature readings. Only an authorized official is supposed to make entries and anyone found in unlawful possession of the register risks a fine (5,000 Pula), a jail term (12 months) – or both. The government is also ramping up its campaign asking citizens to stay home as much as possible. It advised people who could to stay, work and create from home, another advisory read: It it is not essential, avoid it. Total confirmed cases = 35 (new cases = 5) Total recoveries = 19 Total deaths = 1 Active cases = 15 Figures valid as of close of day May 24, 2020 NEW WEEK LOADING... WORK FROM HOME IF YOU CAN!#LetsDefeatCOVID19Together #AReFeyengCOVID19Mmogo ??— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 24, 2020 May 20: Extreme social distancing ends, country zoned Government announced an end to extreme social distancing on Wednesday signaling the end of Three Phases of lockdown. A zoning strategy has been announced to help curb virus spread. The current case count is 29. “A part of the containment strategy, the country has been divided into Zomes to restrict movement of people; allow swift responses in the event of an aggressive outbreak,” a statement posted on social media. There are nine COVID-19 zones as follows: Boteti, Chobe, Ghanzi, Greater Francistown, Greater Gaborone, Greater Palapye, Greater Phikwe, Maun and Kgalagadi zones. Thirteen check points have also been designated across the country. Issuing clarity on the issue of alcohol sale, the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry issues a statement that said it remained banned till further notice. The statement said relevant laws are “subject to the ongoing State of Emergency, therefore, the Emergency Powers Regulations regulating the prohibition of the sale of alcohol still apply. Hence, there shall be no sale of alcohol in all liquor outlets until further notice.” May 19: president in Harare for SADC meeting President Eric Masisi left Gaborone on Tuesday for Harare where he is attending a meeting of the Southern African Development Community, SADC. His spokesperson confirmed that extraordinary circumstances had forced him to travel as the incoming chairperson of SADC’s political, defense and security cooperation arm. “IT, security and defense experts have advised the president that meeting should be face to face in light of sensitivity of issues discussed,” Bathelefi Leagang said. The president and his entourage return later today and shall be subjected to 14-day quarantine. It will be his third consecutive quarantine. The first after he attended investiture in Namibia in March and later in April after a healthworker in parliament tested positive on a day he was in attendance. PRESIDENT MASISI ATTENDS SUMMIT President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi will today attend the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation (Organ) Troika in Harare, Zimbabwe in his capacity as the incoming Chair.— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 19, 2020 May 13: More recoveries, ex-prez leads local donors Botswana currently has twenty-four confirmed cases of which there are six active cases with seventeen recoveries (five news) and one death. Support for government’s efforts to combat the virus has also seen a surge in financial donations into the COVID-19 fund. Ex-President Festus Mogae and his wife were among the latest donors. Former President Mogae and Barbra Mogae, this morning donated P100 000 to the covid-19 relief fund. The Vice President received donations worth over P964 000, from different organizations and individuals to help government combat Covid-19, government confirmed on May 12. “The money donated will be used to buy medical equipment that will be used to fight Covid-19,” the veep added. Other contributors included: Ghana Community in Botswana = P100 000 Botswana Tribal Association = P10 000 Botswana Democratic Party Women’s Wing = P153 000 Mazars Audit firm = P201 000 Former MPs Association = P30 000 Awil College = P20 000 and television content worth P1.6 million, Kerala Semajam Botswana = P250 000 Old Apostolic Church who donated Personal Protective Equipment worth = P100 220 May 11: capital Gaborone declared high-risk area, ‘quarantined’ Government on Monday declared the capital Gaborone a “high-risk area” and advised residents to limit their movements from henceforth. It also suspended the pink permits which allowed for movement into and outside of the capital. A statement issued by Dr. Kereng Masupu, coordinator of the presidential task force on COVID-19 read: “Following the confirmed COVID-19 case of a truck driver who came into Gaborone through the Tiokweng border on Sunday 09 May 2020… “... the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force would like to advise the public that only those who have been issued Pink Permits for travel into and out of Gaborone are suspended with immediate effect until further notice. “This therefore declares Gaborone a high-risk area and members of the public are strongly advised to limit their movements.” The statement further disclosed that efforts were underway with respect to contact tracing along the route that the infected driver travelled. The patient is on admission at the Sir Ketumile Masire Hospital. “Those holding Essential Service permit will be allowed to travel into and outside of Gaborone except for those holding the pink Permit,” the statement further clarified. PINK PERMITS SUSPENDED #LetsDefeatCOVID19Together#AReFenyengCOVID19Mmogo ??— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 11, 2020 May 10: Regulations on resumption of road transport Road transport is returning across the country in the wake of eased lockdown measures. President Masisi in exercising his emergency powers authorized the lifting of transport restrictions from May 8 to 21st. A gazette of the new regulations issued by government indicated that road transport was the sole beneficiary of the order as rail and air transport remained banned. Road transport services – not limited to taxis, call cubs and staff buses – shall operate from 8th to 21st May, 2020 within a 60 kilometre radius of the place of operation. Some conditions that accompany especially the public means of transport include: abiding with Covid-19 protocols, public transport associations to certify readiness of vehicles to operate as per the Covid-19 protocols and the cleaning of vehicles 2 – 3 times daily. Drivers are to also enforce adherence of passengers to using face masks. Loading capacity of different vehicles have also been reduced. Mini buses shall carry 70 percent of seating capacity with social distancing, hence a 16-seater bus will carry a maximum of 10 passengers. As of May 10, there are currently 23 cases with 12 recoveries, 10 active cases and one death. There has not been an increase in confirmed cases for weeks now. UPDATE ON EASING OF EXTREME SOCIAL DISTANCING#EasingExtremeSocialDistancingBW #StayHomeSaveLives #covid19— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 10, 2020 May 8: Steve Harvey’s donation arrives, relaxed lockdown starts Botswana is one of few African countries that have not recorded increase in cases for over a week. A phased return to work measure starts today with a series of strict guidelines among which are: Maintaining a register of employees, visitors, customers etc. that interact with a facility Observance of social distancing of 1 – 2 metres apart Provision of sanitizers and means of washing hands at premises Wearing of face masks (home-made) Deny entry to persons who fail to abide by guidelines President Eric Masisi was personally at the airport in Gaborone to receive a donation from American TV star Steve Harvey. The 7.2 metric tonnes of medical equipment arrived on Wednesday. It comprised of personal protective equipment which will be used by frontline staff dealing with the pandemic. The president said the consignment had been “donated by our friends, Steve Harvey “Mothusi” and his lovely wife Marjorie Lesedi Harvey.” The couple are good friends of the country having paid a recent visit to the southern African country. with COVID-19. I would also like to convey our gratitude to the UAEmGov</a> (United Arab Emirates(UAE) government for responding graciously to the plea made by these friends of Botswana, Steve & Marjorie. <a href=""></a></p>— Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi (OfficialMasisi) May 7, 2020 May 6: Phased lifting of lockdown starting May 8 Botswana will start a phased lifting of its lockdown staring May 8, vice president Slumber Tsogwane affirmed on Wednesday. President Masisi, himself a lawmaker, was present at the sitting. Lawmakers returned to the chamber to discuss issues relating to emergency powers that allowed the president to impose measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. Presenting the motion before Parliament, the leader of the House and Vice President, Mr Slumber Tsogwane, said the purpose of the Regulations is to regulate the period during which the state of public emergency exists. “Based on our response to date and the current trajectory of the disease, we have decided to open our economy albeit incrementally, while observing the disease patterns,” he said. There was strict virus prevention measures in and around the parliament. All present were masked whiles sanitizers were administered to all entrants into the building. MOTHUSI DONATES TO BOTSWANA #LetsDefeatCOVID19Together#AReFenyengCOVID19Mmogo ??— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 4, 2020 May 1: Face masks compulsory in public, shared spaces The Government of Botswana has issued legislation that makes it compulsory to wear masks/face coverings in public places, businesses and common areas of residential buildings from 1 May 2020. Specifications have been issued in an official media release stating that medical and non-medical masks needed to be worn by members of the public. Whiles the medical versions are to be used by persons working in high risk areas, others have to wear the non-medical type. “Cloth face mask or home-made item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item that covers the nose and mouth when in a public place,” the release said of the non-medical masks. The government urged the public to stick to non-medical masks in order to free scarce medical masks for health workers. Vendors are to sell medical masks to only persons in the medical profession, health workers, persons handling clinical waste or involved in COVID-19 related activities. The government cautioned that the use of the masks whiles helping to decrease the probability of contracting the virus also need be observed along with “specified personal hygiene practicing and social distancing.” Botswana case file as of today: 23 confirmed cases, five recoveries and one death. 2. Non-Medical – cloth face mask or home-made item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item that covers the nose and mouth when in a public place.— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) May 1, 2020 April 23: All MPs released from quarantine after tests Botswana’s president and vice president have been released from home quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19. The presidency in a statement today said: “Director of Health Services has released His Excellency, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic … and …Vice President Slumber Tsogwane from home quarantine today, 23rd April 2020. “This follows the release of their COVID 19 test results which came out negative yesterday,” the statement by presidential spokesperson Batlhalefi Leagajang said. “All members of parliament have tested negative for COVID-19 and they are being released from quarantine,” Kereng Masupu, coordinator of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force, told a news briefing. On April 9, all members of the legislature were admitted to home quarantine after a nurse on duty at the parliament tested positive for the virus. The president and vice are also MPs and were present at the said date. A day after the order, some unnamed MPs were arrested and put in institutional quarantine for breaching self quarantine rules. They were pictured in shopping malls at a time they were meant to be in quarantine. Botswana, currently under a state of emergency and lockdown has 22 confirmed cases to date (April 23), one death has been recorded with zero recoveries. The overall test tally stands at 5,023 people. Two senior health officials were fired by the president on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons. April 14: Cabinet donates 10% of salaries towards COVID-19 relief fund Cabinet members in Botswana have agreed to donate 10% of their salaries towards the country’s COVID-19 relief fund, government announced on Tuesday. According to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, members have pledged 10% of their salaries to the relief fund for a period of six months. The deductions will total P167,407.20 every month. The amount comes up to about $14,000 per month and $84,000 over the six-month period. Speaking on state broadcaster, BTV, Tuesday evening VP Tsogwane said, the President , himself as Vice President, Ministers and Assistant Ministers have all written letters and authorized deduction of 10% of their salaries to help the nation in the fight against COVID-19. He also thanked Batswana and the private sector for their continued contribution to the fund and urged others to bring their pledges, monetary or otherwise. The country is under a lockdown occasioned by a state of emergency imposed to curb spread of the virus. PRESIDENTIAL COVID-19 TASK FORCE PUBLIC ADVISORY NO 8 APPLICATIONS FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES PERMITS— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) April 13, 2020 April 10: stubborn MPs moved into govt supervised quarantine Barely 24 hours after government announced that all lawmakers were supposed to observe a period of quarantine for COVID-19, the Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, says a number of MPs are to be put under government supervised quarantine. Dr Malaki Tshipayagae said the MPs in question had breached home quarantine after a number of them were seen shopping in supermarkets. He did not specify how many of the 65 members were affected by the new measures. The MPs are said to have been exposed to a health worker who was in attendance during a recent session. A government statement read in part: “It has since come to my attention that some Members of Parliament have breached their quarantine rules by going to supermarkets thus spreading the risk. “This is regrettable and the public is informed that the MPs have been removed from home quarantine and will be quarantined under government supervised quarantine. “His Excellency the President, Members of Parliament, Senior Government Officials and members of the media who attended are urged to follow home quarantine rules and not risk the spread of the disease to members of their families and the public at large.” The country is under lockdown after the President declared a state of emergency to curb spread of the virus. As of April 10, Botswana had recorded 13 cases with one death. Major African stats as of April 10: Confirmed cases = 12,369 Number of deaths = 632 Recoveries = 1,632 Infected countries = 52 Virus-free countries = 2 (Lesotho, Comoros) Figures sourced from John Hopkins University tracking site April 9: Tally rises to 13, all MPs placed under quarantine All sixty-nine lawmakers in Botswana have been placed under compulsory quarantine by the Director of Health Services Dr Malaki Tshipayagae. The parliament referred to as the National Assembly comprises 65 members of Parliament including the president and speaker. The move follows a report given to the Minister of Health on Thursday confirming that seven new cases had been recorded in the southern African country bringing the national tally to thirteen. “Amongst the cases is a healthworker who was on duty at yesterday’s Parliament session. Health professionals are currently advising Parliament on how they are to proceed considering that some of the members interacted with the health worker,” a government statement added. President Masisi was in early April released from self quarantine after he travelled to Namibia for the swearing in of his counterpart Hage Geingob. At the time Namibia had recorded cases and Botswana had yet to record a case. The president’s test result returned negative allowing him to resume duties at his office. The country is currently under a state of emergency with a raft of measures being enforced to curb the spread and increase containment efforts of the virus. Of the now thirteen cases on record, one death has been recorded. President Masisi at an extraordinary meeting of parliament today stressed the importance of the emergency laws in a time as this. He assured MPs that no aspect of the laws would be abused. “I, Mokgweetsi Masisi did not seek the Presidency of this country for reasons of ruling by decree; I did not campaign for election as President of this celebrated democracy for me to erode civil liberties upon coming into office; “It is in this spirit that I pledge, and So Help Me God, that I intend using the declaration of the State of Emergency, solely for the purpose of protecting our people against the decimating potentials of the Novel COVID-19 virus,” he told lawmakers. April 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.Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) US visa lottery winners frustrated by Trump's ban extension President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend the 2020 US Diversity Visa Lottery could have dramatic consequences on thousands of winners. On the shores of the Mediterranean in Alexandria, many Egyptian winners feel cheated. This is the case of this teacher. Islam Elrweny had to abandon his post in Saudi Arabia. “I had to risk my job and I also had to pay the residency permit fees myself as I was not leaving on my regular vacation, which is around 3,200 US dollars I had to pay a big part of it. I sold my furniture as soon as I could for a very low price as I was in a hurry and I hadn’t even the chance to sell my car, so I left it there and I got back here. After I finished my medical test, I was shocked by the proclamation of president Trump as visas were stopped for two months and then that was extended until December 31st, which meant that we are not going to get our visas”, he said. According to US lottery specialists, only 13 thousand visas out of 55 thousand planned for 2020 have been issued. Consular operations stopped in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The US State Department said no exceptions are being made for the winners who have not claimed their visas yet. The lottery requires the visas be obtained by September 30 or they will be voided. The Trump administration cast the halt as part of its efforts to free up jobs in an economy reeling from the pandemic. Long before the pandemic, Trump criticised the lottery, falsely claiming it has been “a horror show” because countries put in “some very bad people.” Foreign governments do not choose who applies or ultimately wins. Citizens of qualifying countries are the ones who decide to bid for the visas. Dozens of the 2020 winners reached out to The Associated Press in response to a request to tell their stories. Many of the winners are highly educated. But they said they are hindered by the lack of opportunities in their homelands. Among those selected this year, were an infectious disease doctor, an agricultural engineer, a software developer, a post-doctorate researcher, a businesswoman and a middle school teacher. US immigration lawyers are considering suing the administration over the matter. APFri, 03 Jul 2020 11:55:46 +0000editorial@africanews.com returns to Ethiopia capital; AU, UN react, net still blocked Ababa calm amid high security presence Four days since the murder of famed Oromo entertainer Hachalu Hundessa, normalcy is returning to the Ethiopian capital after last few days of deadly protests, bomb blasts and deployment of the army to curb rising violence. The BBC reports that many businesses and offices in Addis Ababa have reopened as of Friday morning. The city mayor had on Thursday evening addressed the populace urging people to get back to work. The Africa LIVE page also says public transport has also resumed, amid heavy security presence on the streets. Clashes especially in the capital led to death of ten people with police quoted as saying there were active plans to incite communal violence. The funeral of Hundessa, was held Thursday in his hometown of Ambo, in the Oromia region amid heavy security presence. Two people died in scuffles with security forces. His death reignited tensions across Africa’s second most populous nation. Demonstrations resulted in the deaths of 81 people and increased political and communal tensions was only curbed by deployment of the military. .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%; } Internet remains blocked – NetBlocks Internet remains blocked for a fourth consecutive day according to Net Blocks, a net rights group monitoring the outage. “Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm that internet has been cut across most of Ethiopia from just after 6:00 a.m. UTC (9 a.m. local time) on Tuesday 30 June 2020 amid protests and unrest. “Real-time data show that the country remains offline as of Friday morning 9:00 a.m. local time,” Netblocks added. The blockade has impacted the release of COVID-19 statistics which prior to July 1 were released on a daily basis. July 3: Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville We are deeply concerned at violent events in Ethiopia this week where a prominent singer and activist from Oromia Region, Hachalu Hundessa, was shot and killed in the capital, Addis Ababa on Monday. The killing of Hundessa sparked protests across the country, including in the capital and in Oromia Region. While some of the protests were peaceful, a number were violent from the outset. According to information we have received, roads were reported to be blocked in most parts of Oromia Region and buildings vandalised and burnt, while there was gunfire and bomb explosions in Addis Ababa. The authorities responded to the spread of the protests by shutting down the Internet in Oromia Region, as well as in Addis Ababa, making it extremely difficult to verify reports about the number of people killed and injured. According to the Government, around 50 people were killed, while media sources indicated some 80 people had died, including three members of the security forces. We note with concern that the protests following Hundessa’s killing have increasingly taken on an ethnic undertone. We therefore call on all, including young people, to stop carrying out ethnically-motivated attacks and to stop inciting to violence, acts that only serve to exacerbate underlying tensions. We also urge the security forces to exercise restraint when managing protests and to refrain from using unnecessary or disproportionate force. Thirty-five people were reported to have been arrested by security forces on Tuesday evening during a protest over the location of Hundessa’s funeral. According to the police, the protesters, who wanted the singer to be buried in Addis Ababa, unsuccessfully tried to prevent his body being taken to his hometown of Ambo. His funeral went ahead in Ambo on Thursday. The shutting down of Internet services is of particular concern as it disproportionately restricts the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and risks further exacerbating tensions. We urge the authorities to restore Internet access without further delay. The authorities have announced that suspects in Hachalu Hundessa’s murder have been arrested. It is essential that there is a prompt, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into his death to ensure those responsible are held accountable. The victims and their families have the right to justice, the truth and reparations. We also stand ready to provide support to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in its investigation of potential human rights violations during these violent events. Jawar, Eskinder appear before court Addis offices of three TV channels accused of instigating ethnic tensions and attacks have been shut even though they continue broadcast from other studios; the three are: Asrat, Oromia Media Network, OMN; and Dimsti Woyane. OMN owner Jawar Mohammed who was arrested on Tuesday appeared before a court on Thursday. The court adjourned with Jawar to reappear on July 16. Bekele Garba who was arrested with him is due to reappear on July 13. Over 30 other people are in custody. State broadcaster EBC also quoted an official of the Federal Attorney General office as confirming that journalist Eskinder Nega was arrested on suspicion of “instigating chaos,” he is accused of dispatching groups of youth with the aim to create chaos. Jawar is currently an opposition politician with the Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC, whiles Eskinder is leading member of National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) and Balderas for Genuine Democracy. Meanwhile in the eastern city of Diredawa, where two people were killed in the aftermath of the musician’s killing, the police say they have arrested more than 270 people in connection with the violence, the BBC report added. July 2: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission appeals for calm in Ethiopia The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat is monitoring the recent developments in Ethiopia closely, following the killing of the Ethiopian Artist and musician Haacaalu Hundeessaa. The violence has claimed many lives so far with scores of people injured. The Chairperson wishes to extend his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wishes the injured a speedy recovery. While the country mourns the loss Hachalu Hundesa, the Chairperson appeals for calm, restraint by all sides and calls on all Ethiopians to refrain from acts that could further escalate the current situation. The Chairperson calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chairperson of the Commission reaffirms its support to the government and people of Ethiopia in their efforts to promote a stable, peaceful and prosperous countryFri, 03 Jul 2020 11:45:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) African countries prolong border closure to EU? [Morning Call] European Union says travelers from the United States and most other countries would not be able to enter Europe beyond July 1, citing epidemiological factors for the decision. Other countries whose travel restrictions were extended include Brazil, Russia and India, which have seen their number of positive cases surge in recent weeks. The US, Brazil, Russia and India are the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases in the world. Now, to the countries from whom visitors can come in- Australia, Canada and Japan. Others are Algeria, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Out of these 14 countries, only Rwanda and Algeria are from Africa. Till date Africa remains the least impacted continent on Coronavirus with nearly 400, 000 cases out of over 10 million world wide. There are mixed feelings over the list of approved countries for visit to the EU in light of this reality. @jerrybambi1Fri, 03 Jul 2020 10:14:29 (Jerry Bambi) Coast Prime Minister returns after overseas medical check Prime minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, returned home on Thursday after a two-month absence for medical treatment in France. The presidential candidate of the ruling Rally of Republicans party addressed the media upon his arrival at the airport saying he was ready to resume his duties alongside President Alassane Ouattara. “I am back home to take my place at the President’s side, to continue the work of development and construction of our country, Côte d’Ivoire,” Coulibaly stressed. He has not commented on the October 31st presidential election, but members of his government are confident of a victory. Sidy Tiemoko Toure, government spokesperson and Ivorian Minister of Communication and Media told the press: “Within the party that was formed to support him, it’s truly a family that’s getting back on track to win the 2020 election in October.” Ivory Coast’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire has chosen former president Henri Konan Bédié, as its presidential candidate for the October polls. .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 Jul 2020 12:03:08 +0000editorial@africanews.com minister resigns over COVID-19 protocol breach sitting Ghanaian lawmaker and deputy minister has resigned his ministerial post after admitting to openly flouting COVID-19 protocols at a time he had tested positive. The presidency confirmed in a July 3 statement that Carlos Ahenkorah’s resignation as Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry had been accepted by the president. “This follows the admission by the Deputy Minister of his breach of COVID-19 protocols, when, as a person certified to be positive for the virus, he visited a registration center in his constituency before the period of self-isolation was complete. “President Akufo-Addo is admonishing all of his appointees to bear in mind that they have to provide leadership, at all times, for adherence to the protocols that have been established to help the nation defeat COVID-19,” the statement added. Local and social media had been awash with interviews of Ahenkorah admitting to knowing his status but leaving his house into public places. He defended his decision to step out of his home saying he had passed a week in self-isolation and that he acted on medical advice. The former minister admitted being admitted at the main hospital in Accra where he spent the night. He told local Citi FM that he had been with a former party scribe, who died due to the virus. He also visited a voter registration center with his driver – who had also tested positive for the virus. A number of government officials have contracted the virus. Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang Manu and two other ministers are currently undergoing treatment. Confirmed cases = 18,134 Active cases = 4,467 Recoveries = 13,550 Number of deaths =117 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 2, 2020 Citi97.3 · Eyewitness News: Interview with Deputy Trade Minister, Carlos Ahenkorah on his COVID-19 statusFri, 03 Jul 2020 09:50:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)'s tourism gears up for comeback [Interview] the beginning of 2020, Africa, the world’s second fastest growing tourism industry, was projected to rake in billions of dollars. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought travel and tourism to a near-standstill. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that the pandemic will cost up to 2 million direct and indirect jobs in tourism on the continent. Many countries are reporting a steep loss in overall revenue with most relying heavily on international travelers. Tanzania was the first country to reopen its boarders to tourists and international travel followed by the Seychelles Island, Tunisia, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Rwanda, Liberia and Zambia. Popular destinations like South Africa have opted to push back their reopening date to early 2021 as the government has gradually started to open back up. As more and more African countries open their borders, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) led Global Tourism Crisis Committee has drawn up guidelines to restart tourism. In this interview, Nyasha K Mutizwa discusses these guidelines and the new normal for travel on the continent with Elcia Grandcourt, the UNWTO Regional Director for Africa. @NyashaKMutizwaFri, 03 Jul 2020 09:40:00 (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA) COVID-19 stats: 432,421 cases; 10,646 deaths; 207,148 recoveries are now more than over 400,000 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 John Hopkins University and Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. As of May 13, every African country had recorded an infection, the last being Lesotho. We shall keep updating this list largely sourced from the John Hopkins University tallies, Africa CDC and from official government data. SUGGESTED READING: Africa’s COVID-19 deaths pass 100,000 mark Major African stats: June 30 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 432,421 Active cases = 214,627 Recoveries = 207,148 Number of deaths = 10,646 Countries in alphabetical order Algeria – 14,657 Angola – 315 Benin – 1,199 Botswana – 227 Burkina Faso – 967 Burundi – 170 Cameroon – 12,592 Cape Verde – 1,301 Central African Republic – 3,788 Chad – 868 Comoros – 303 Congo-Brazzaville – 1,382 DR Congo – 7,189 Djibouti – 4,715 Egypt – 71,299 Equatorial Guinea – 3,071 Eritrea – 215 Eswatini – 873 Ethiopia – 5,846 Gabon – 5,513 (The) Gambia – 55 Ghana – 18,134 Guinea – 5,450 Guinea-Bissau – 1,654 Ivory Coast – 9,992 Kenya – 6,941 Lesotho – 35 Liberia – 819 Libya – 891 Madagascar – 2,403 Malawi – 1,342 Mali – 2,260 Mauritania – 4,606 Mauritius – 341 Morocco – 12,969 Mozambique – 918 Namibia – 293 Niger – 1,081 Nigeria- 27,110 Rwanda – 1,063 Sao Tome and Principe – 717 Senegal – 7,054 Seychelles – 81 Sierra Leone – 1,518 Somalia – 2,944 South Africa – 168,061 South Sudan – 2,021 Sudan – 9,663 Tanzania – 509 Togo – 667 Tunisia – 1,178 Uganda – 902 Zambia – 1,632 Zimbabwe – 617 SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa IIFri, 03 Jul 2020 09:30:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) fishermen protect sea turtles fishermen have joined forces to protect sea turtles. As one of the ocean’s most endangered species, the sea turtle is threatened by poaching, pollution and even fishing nets. “We sometimes catch turtles but we release them back into the ocean. It is not good to eat them because they contribute to the preservation of marine species. Shrimps and octopuses in particular abound where turtles are found”, a fisherman, Gamar Kane said. Plastic has become an increasing danger as turtles often mistake them for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods. Youssef El Ali is the President of the NGO Océanium. He said cleaning up the beaches is crucial. “What also needs to be done is to clean the beaches, because the turtle, which eats a lot of grass in the area, can start eating the plastic bags that it confuses with jellyfish. From there, ecotourism camps, bring back the tourists to take advantage of this tourist attraction. To make the population live from this tourist attraction instead of living off from the fishing of these turtles”, El Ali said. The local fishermen association says the number of turtles have fallen by around 30 percent in the past 20 years. But visitors who come each year are almost guaranteed a memorable photo with some of the thousands that still line the coast of this West African nation. The association is also trying to sensitize the communities here about the economic benefits of the turtles, in hopes that they can join the battle to protect them. AFPFri, 03 Jul 2020 09:13:25 +0000editorial@africanews.com at 60: prez restates need for unity, solidarity on Wednesday (July 1) celebrated the country’s 60th independence anniversary amid calls for solidarity despite the challenges facing the Horn of Africa nation. In his message, President Mohamed Farmajo underscored the commitment of Somalis to remain focused, noting that despite the many hardships they continue to face, Somalis can take pride in the progress that is being made. President Abdullahi Farmajo stressed the sacrifices of their forbears “This independence did not come easily. This independence came after many people devoted their lives for it, some of them shed their blood while others also paid money.” Somalia which attained self-rule as a unified country on July 1, 1960, began independence anniversary celebrations at midnight with the hoisting of the national flag across the country’s regions and in the capital Mogadishu. Three decades on from the beginning of Somalia’s security crisis, unrest and terror has become firmly rooted in the country’s post-independence political upheaval. The country’s population of almost 15 million remains under threat from insurgent group al-Shabaab, which has carried out a number of deadly attacks that have killed thousands. .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 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com bans EU travellers in retaliation for flight blacklist a snub on the list of 15 nations deemed ‘safe’ for their citizens to travel to the European Union, Senegal has reacted to the announcement. On Wednesday, Dakar announced that it would not reopen its air space to travellers from EU countries. The announcement was made by the Senegalese air transport minister without further details. The Central African nation of Gabon also announced a similar reciprocal ban for EU citizens. The EU’s list of 15 nations considered safe which was released on Tuesday takes into account epidemiological criteria. The only African countries on the EU list are Rwanda, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Senegal has recorded over 7,000 cases of coronavirus with 121 deaths as of July 3, according to the John Hopkins University tallies. As part of the revival of economic activities, Senegal has decided to reopen its airspace to international flights from July 15. .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 Jul 2020 08:40:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com referendum allows Putin to stay in power till 2036 78% of Russian voters officially approved the amendments to the country’s constitution that will allow Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. The Russian Electoral Commission announced this Thursday after all the ballots were counted. According to the commission, there was no case of fraud reported. But the opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, is having none of it. “This vote is a forgery, but above all it is a public declaration of what is happening in the country: Vladimir Putin, together with a group of his corrupt friends and colleagues, has illegally taken power and wants to remain Russia’s leader for life,” Nalvany protested. A “triumph”, according to the Kremlin, yet the European Union reports irregularities and calls on Moscow to investigate. Chechnya has the highest approval rate for these new amendments. The only region that opposed them is the autonomous province of Nenetsie, in the far north-west of Russia. The text of the new constitution was already available for a long time in all bookshops. It was to come into force at the same time as the official publication of the results of the vote.Fri, 03 Jul 2020 08:20:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com at 58: Bujumbura hosts first post-Nkurunziza celebrations on Wednesday (July 1) marked its 58th independence anniversary. The official ceremony in the capital Bujumbura featured colorful parades by security personnel and civilians. Presiding over the event was President Evariste Ndayishimiye who ascended to power in June following the death of President Pierre Nkuruzinza. He cautioned the nation against being used as “instruments of colonialists.” “On this day there is no Burundian who could not celebrate, except a Burundian who is used by the colonialists, there is no Burundian who does not know this day because it is a day that reminds us of the misery that the Burundians endured,” the president stressed. #Burundi Fête de l’Indépendance: Fin du défilé riche en couleurs par des professionnels issus de différents secteurs socio-économiques. Les cérémonies sont agrémentées par des numéros culturels présentés par des majorettes.— Ntare Rushatsi House (@NtareHouse) July 1, 2020 He also paid tribute to his predecessor Nkurunziza, whom he credited for teaching the nation the spirit of patriotism. Congratulating Burundians on the successful conduct of May’s general election, Ndayishimiye urged the nation to foster unity and work towards peace and development. In a statement, the US State Department commended the Burundian people for their commitment to a peaceful transition of power in their recent national elections. Burundi and Rwanda gained independence from Belgium on July 1, 1962. #Burundi Les cérémonies marquant la célébration de la Fête de l’Indépendance se poursuivent à la devanture du Stade Intwari en présence du Couple présidentiel, des Hautes personnalités et des Membres du Corps diplomatique. Ici, le Passage en revue des troupes par SE GeneralNeva</a>. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Ntare Rushatsi House (NtareHouse) July 1, 2020 .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 Jul 2020 08:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com releases four protest leaders on Thursday provisionally released a key protest movement leader, Karim Tabbou, and three other jailed activists ahead of the country’s independence day. Tabbou, 47, is one of the most prominent figure of “Hirak” a movement that forced the downfall last April of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.The activists walked out of Kolea jail, west of Algiers in the afternoon. “Our happiness is not complete. I left brothers in prison. I left behind my brother Khaled Drareni and Rachid Nekkaz, Soheib and many others,” said Samir Belarbi, an activist. Tabbou was accompanied by activists Amira Bouraoui and Samir Belarbi who were seen leaving the same prison after also being granted provisional releases. Annaba, a resident who came for Karim Tabbou’s release said they came to support their brother Karim Tabbou, so they can finally feel free with him. “The decision to release some prisoners of conscience, be it political or judicial, is not a grace made by the power, it is their right to be free. Perhaps the power wants to correct the mistakes it has made towards the freedoms of all. If the power has a real political will, it should stop these political arrests,” said Abdelghani Badi, human rights laywer. Among the best known “Hirak” figures behind bars is journalist Khaled Drareni, head of the information website Casbah Tribune and correspondent for French television channel Tv5Monde. His request for release was rejected. Tabbou, jailed in September 2019, was serving a one-year sentence for an “attack on the integrity of national territory”. He also faces a charge of “damaging the morale of the army”, in a trial which has been postponed to September 14.Fri, 03 Jul 2020 07:40:58 +0000editorial@africanews.com coronavirus: 18,134 cases; Accra case load hits 10,000 is West Africa’s most impacted nation behind Nigeria, at a point in May 2020, Ghana led the regional case load. June has started with progressive lifting of more virus restrictions. President Akufo-Addo in his tenth address announced that whiles borders remained closed, some categories of academic institutions are allowed to resume, religious places can also reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols. Social gatherings -weddings, funerals etc. – are to be allowed under certain conditions – among others with maximum 100 participants. As the 2020 polls loom, even political activity is allowed to be undertaken. This article will be focused on tracking case increases and major developments from the West African country. It will build on our April – May 2020 updates page. July 2: 18,134 cases; protocol flouting in voter registration The Electoral Commission insists it has done well in managing coronavirus safety protocols at registration centers amid ongoing voter registration exercise across the country. The EC got the apex court’s go-ahead to conduct a new registration exercise after a case brought by the main opposition NDC was dismissed. Concerns continue to be raised over the conduct of people who went to centers to register. Photos shared on social media showed that virus protocols were being flouted in many places with people crowded at some centers with disregard for basic social distancing. Most of them also did not have masks even though it is an offence per a presidential Executive Instrument. Cases in the Greater Accra region have passed the 10,000 mark with the Ashanti region in a distant second with over 3,600 cases, the oil-rich Western Region completes the top three regions with over 1,550 cases as of today. .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%; } Confirmed cases = 18,630 Active cases = 4,467 Recoveries = 14,046 Number of deaths = 117 Ghana Health Service stats valid as of July 1, 2020 #DAWURO Greater Accra Region’s Coronavirus cases cross 10,000 mark#UTVGhana #UTVNews #DespiteGroup— UTV Ghana (@utvghana) July 2, 2020 June 25: 15,473 cases; mask arrests, apex court ruling Case load as of today hit a total of 15,473 cases with 11,431 recoveries and 950 deaths, according to stats released Friday evening by the Ghana Health Service. The new cases were 460 which tally brings the active cases to 3,947. Arrests over lack of wearing of masks also dominated” local news headlines”: as people bemoaned the police for highhandedness in the implementation of an Executive Instrument that made mask wearing in public an obligation. The Greater Accra regional police disclosed that it undertook an operation in which some people were arrest in the central business district of the capital for being without masks. The arrests came a day after the government said it was engaging the police on some areas of mask wearing. Wearing of mask in Cars: Government engaging Police on E.I 164— Ministry of Information (@moigovgh) June 23, 2020 A major news development is the Supreme Court’s decision today to throw out a suit against the election body’s decision to compile a new voters register ahead of December 2020 general elections. The Electoral Commission, weeks back completed a nationwide pilot for the exercise. Opponents of the exercise have cited rising virus numbers and the lack of adherence to social distancing and hygiene protocols. The ruling party is in favour of the move whiles the main opposition were stiffly against it. Currently there are limits on public gatherings even though political and other religious meetings are allowed under strict conditions. Confirmed cases = 15,473 Active cases = 3,947 Recoveries = 11,431 Number of deaths = 95 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 12, 2020 .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%; } June 22: 14,154 cases; how recoveries jumped Ghana recorded a boom in recoveries over the weekend as over 6,000 patients were added to the tally which now stands at 10,473 according to authorities. “Ghana has adopted the WHO’s new COVID-19 recovery protocol, thus leaving it with a total recovery record of 10, 473 patients,” the president clarified in an address. There are currently 14,154 cases as of Sunday June 21 when president Akufo-Addo delivered his latest address on measures to mitigate the spread of the virus as the country continues with a phased reopening. After the reopening of places of worship was announced in his lat address, Sunday’s address centered much on the reopening of Senior High Schools for final year students. Some of the major takeaways included that government was absorbing the final exam fees. Government to provide enough food to students on campus through the National Food Buffer Stock Company and that all schools had been disinfected ahead of today’s reopening. Finalists and Second Year Gold Track students of the Accra Academy Senior High School started arriving as early as 0630 hours today, June 22, to complete the semester course and exit examinations.#GHnewsagency— Ghana News Agency (@GHANANEWSAGENCY) June 22, 2020 Confirmed cases = 14,154 Active cases = 3,596 Recoveries = 10,473 Number of deaths = 85 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 21, 2020 June 15: 13,203 cases; law enacted to penalize mask flouters Case load hit a total of 13,203 cases with 4,548 recoveries and 70 deaths, according to stats released Friday evening by the Ghana Health Service. The new cases were 274 which tally brings the active cases to 8,585. The non-wearing of face masks in public is now punishable by law per an Executive Instrument, E.I. 164, signed by President Akufo-Addo on June 15. Flouters of the directive could face a jail term of between four and 10 years or pay a fine of between GHS12,000 and GHS60,000 or both. The EI says the mandatory wearing of face masks will be enforced for a three-month period as parts of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah urged local authorities to do their best to ensure compliance of the wearing of face masks. “The Executive Instrument that makes the wearing of face masks mandatory is out and while we salute the efforts of those who have already started higher levels of compliance, we want to encourage those who have not that the EI is out and they are expected as regional ministers, MMDCEs to step up enforcement within their own jurisdiction,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday. Section 6 of Act 1012 states that “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty unit (Gh¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (Gh¢ 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.” Section 4 (1) of the E.I. 164 states that the police have the authority to make random checks to “ensure enforcement compliance” Total of 13,203 COVID-19 confirmed cases with 4,548 Recoveries and 70 Deaths New Cases: 274 Active Cases:8,585#JoyNews— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) June 19, 2020 June 17: 12,193 cases; health insurance boss infected Head of Ghana’s Health Insurance Authority, NHIA, Dr Dsane-Selby announced on Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19. She made the disclosure in an interview on a local network. She said the decision to test was after she started experiencing tiredness, bodily pains and headaches. She asked for her ample to be taken for a test subsequent to which the positive result returned. She went into self- isolation to prevent her from exposing others to the virus. Dr Dsane-Selby also contacted those she had come into contact with to go for voluntary testing, the Ghana News Agency added. She becomes the fourth known government official to have tested positive for COVID-19. The first being Papa Owusu- Ankomah, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who has since recovered. Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu’s infection was reported last week whiles Mr Anthony K. K Sam, the Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi, also succumbed to the disease on Friday, June 12. Total confirmed cases = 12,193 Total recoveries = 4,326 Total deaths = 58 Active cases = 7,809 Figures valid as of close of day June 16, 2020 June 15: 11,964 cases; schools reopen, masks obligatory etc. President Akufo-Addo on Sunday delivered an address on measures being taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus as Ghana’s case load neared 12,000. The address touched on a myriad of issues from the reopening of schools and new orders around wearing of masks. The president also used it to reiterate his calls for the populace to take charge of their safety. He also confirmed the death vias the virus of a mayor of the oil-rich Sekondi Takoradi and infection of Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu. The case of the minister’s infection has attracted social media debate after a journalist reported that the minister had denied he had tested positive rather that he was only resting at a major health facility in the capital, Accra. Confirmed cases = 11,964 Number of deaths = 54 Recoveries = 4,258 Active cases = 7,652 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 14, 2020 June 13: 11,118 cases, NDC advocates mass testing Ghana’s case load as of this morning stood at 11,118 cases with the disclosure of 262 new cases. According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), 58 more persons have recovered as the new figure in that regards increases to 3,979. The death toll still stands at 48 whiles active cases pass the 7,000 mark reaching 7,091. The Greater Accra region accounts for 6,888 cases with the Ashanti and Western regions completing the top three slots with 1,989 and 909 cases respectively. Multiple local media sources reported late Saturday that Health Minister Kwaku-Agyemang Manu has been infected with the virus and was currently hospitalized. He becomes the highest profile member of government to be infected. Weeks back a top legislator alleged that infections had hit parliament but his claims were disputed by the lawmaking chamber. Main opposition NDC’s COVID-19 technical team is advocating for mass testing as the easing of restrictions means tertiary institutions are set to open. The team said current trends “do not suggest that students, teaching and non- teaching staff can avoid significant risk of exposure to the virus as the epidemic is not under control.” Government is on record to have insisted that mass testing was not an immediate option but that it will be considered on an as and when basis. Citing May 2020 tallies which pointed to widespread community transmission, the NDC suggested that all students, teaching and non-teaching staff be tested “to preempt any potential spread on secondary schools and university campuses.” Their call is in line with that of major stakeholders like the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) which proposed mass coronavirus testing of students, teaching and non-teaching staff of Senior High Schools (SHSs) before they are reopened. June 10: Cases pass 10,000 mark as rapid test kit makers advance Ghana reached 10,000 mark in terms of confirmed cases on Tuesday (June 9); the case load reached 10,201 with deaths still at 48, 3,755 recoveries and 6,398 active cases. Ghana joins an exclusive club that includes South Africa (52,991 cases), Egypt (35,444 cases), Nigeria (13,464 cases) and Algeria with 10,382 cases. The Food and Drugs Authority has confirmed that nine companies were so far seeking approval for rapid test kits for COVID-19 a process that could last between a month and two months. One of the companies, Kumasi-based Incas Diagnostics, are diversifying from their pregnancy test kit production to focus on COVID-19 test kits which will be an antibody test kit. The company is also working with other developers across Africa on a mobile app to help trace potentially high-risk virus patients. Incas Diagnostics founder and CEO Laud Anthony Basing told Reuters he expected its kits to cost about half as much as imported tests as they will be cutting out middlemen by producing them in Ghana. “The app will basically work well with the rapid test kit because once classified as high risk you need to test the person,” he said, stressing the need for mass testing given that Ghana had entered community transmission stage of virus spread. The Reuters report added that Incas’ kits, which were developed with funding from the French development agency and the Mastercard foundation, could retail for about $5 but will mostly be donated to help fight the pandemic. June 9: 9,910 cases, bar operators appeal to govt Ghana’s case load is heading towards the 10,000 mark; as of close of day June 8, the tally stood at 9,910. Deaths have also gone up to 48. Over in the Ashanti Region, drinking bar and pub operators have appealed to the government to consider easing some of the restrictions to enable them to resume their operations, the Ghana News Agency reports. According to them, the continued closure of their businesses as a result of the COVID-19 was advsersely affecting them. Emmanuel Antwi Baah, regional Chairman of Pubs and Spot Operators Association said there were ready to enforce necessary protocols and guidelines. Restrictions on gatherings were significantly watered down in president Akufo-Addo’s tenth address which allowed social gatherings like places of worship, weddings and funerals to take place with limited attendees and the observance of strict hygiene protocols. Mr Baah appealed to the government to extend the COVID-19 stimulus package to members of the Association to enable them to stay in business, the report added. Total confirmed cases = 9,910 Total recoveries = 3,645 Total deaths = 48 Active cases = 6,217 June 8: 9,638 cases, govt evacuation plans Government has confirmed that it was preparing to evacuate some Ghanaians stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 disruption. Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway in a written response to Parliament late last week, she said the ministry and relevant departments and agencies had been liaising for weeks how to undertake the phased evacuation. There are four categories of evacuees for the purpose: those with the ability to pay, government-funded evacuation, distressed or destitute and deportees. So far evacuations have been don from Kuwait (May 23 of 230 persons), Lagos, Mauritania, Turkey and Washington – all thigs being equal must have happened by today. Some of the biggest evacuations being worked on are over 670 people from China and 500 form the United Arab Emirates. Ghanaians in neighbouring countries will be bussed back under special conditions considering that all borders have been and remain closed. The first day of church reopening was on Sunday after the lifting of strict sanctions of public gathering. Only a handful churches agreed to undertake what were brief services amid the observance of health protocols as by law required. Those that did not reopen cited the need for more time to guarantee safety of congregants. Last Friday, the situation was the same for most mosques. The national chief Imam asked that facilities remain closed even though a number of mosques went ahead with service. Total confirmed cases = 9,638 Total recoveries = 3,636 Total deaths = 44 Active cases = 5,958 Figures valid as of close of day June 7, 2020 June 7: 9,462 cases, deaths hit 44 The Managing Director of a major private health care facility in the capital Accra reported testing positive for the virus. Elikem Tamaklo of Nyaho Hospital confirmed that he contracted the disease in the community. The hospital located in a residential area of Accra said the MD had not been physically at post for two weeks as part of social distancing guidelines to help contain spread of COVID-19. His family was also affected and all of them were undergoing treatment, a statement said. “I am currently doing well … The stigma that some have had to endure is unfair, unfounded and has no basis,” he told workers in a recorded video message. “We all need to continue to do our best and remain disciplined by observing all the recommended preventive measures, such as washing hands with soap under running water, frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing measured when in public and in enclosed spaces,” he added. The elections body has meanwhile said 15 out of 16 regions have undergone a successful pilot for upcoming voters registration – back by government and opposed by opposition parties. The body has been hauled to court over its plans amid virus spread. Ghana’s death toll whiles relatively very low, have reached 44. It remained sub 40 even when cases had passed 6,000. President Akufo-Addo weeks back thanked God for sparing Ghana huge deaths compared to other countries. Total confirmed cases = 9,462 Total recoveries = 3,547 Total deaths = 44 Active cases = 5,871 Figures valid as of close of day June 6, 2020 June 3: 8,297 cases; govt defends ban on football Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah has defended government’s decision to maintain a ban on football despite the recent lifting of a raft of restrictions. He was speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday. According to the Minister, the cost of putting necessary measures in place, from the regular disinfection of stadia to testing players, was too high. Restrictions on non-contact sports were lifted in the president’s 10th address. “How do we disinfect all the stadia, the hotels because the players sleep there? How do we test all these players?” Asiamah quizzed. He also pointed out that it would be near impossible to keep fans from gathering during games. “In our environment, is it possible to play football without our supporters? The figure that came out from the NSA was about GHS 60,000 per match. That’s a major challenge.” Football is Ghana’s most followed sport. The local league only returned after a corruption probe involving the former association president Kwesi Nyantakyi caused the league to be suspended. A normalization committee took charge of affairs till a new set of executives were voted into office. Total confirmed cases = 8,297 Total recoveries = 2,986 Total deaths = 38 Active cases = 5,273 June 2: Minister issues guidelines for churches, mosques The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, has expanded on a government plan for reopening of places of worship across the country. He was speaking at a multi-sectoral press briefing on Monday, a day after the president delivered his tenth COVID-19 address to the nation. Some of the key planks of the directives include: As part of the guidelines, every church or religious body is to registered with the Registrar General’s Department and with the respective Municipal, Metropolitan or District Assembly. The religious bodies are expected to observe preventive protocols, including providing thermometer guns or thermal scanners to check the temperature of congregants at entry points of all venues Enforce a ‘No mask: No entry’ Policy, provide adequate waste management facilities and toilet facilities for use by members. Cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places like toilet surfaces and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs or handles, preferably every one – two hours depending on the rate of utilisation. A holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation. Every worshiper must be registered with their details, including names, phone numbers, manually or digitally, adding that digital registration can be done on GH COVID-19 APP or the PANABIOS App, which can be downloaded at no cost. Religious leaders would equally be held liable, adding that the District Assemblies and other agencies will monitor and ensure compliance with the directives. Religious activities were thus to begin on Friday, June 5, with Muslims worshiping at the mosques, and Adventists and Christians following on Saturday Sunday, respectively. Govt to close down religious institutions who flout anti-Covid-19 directives – GNA report June 1: 8,070 cases, conditional lifting of most restrictions Ghana’s case load passed the 8,000 mark on last day of May 2020 as president Akufo-Addo addressed the nation lifting conditionally a raft of restrictions. Schools are to open in mid-June, religious places can reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols. Social gatherings are to be allowed under certain conditions. The address, the tenth by the president, also spelled out measures that government was putting in place to curb the spread of the virus. “Consensus from stakeholder consultation recommend a phased approach to easing anti Covid-19 restrictions,” he said. With effect from Friday 5th June, Ghana will begin the implementation of gradual easing of restrictions Final year university students to report to school on 15th June, 2020 Faith-based organisations to start communal worship, effective Friday, June 5, amid social distancing and hygiene protocols All schools, both private and public remain closed. Only final year students access those facilities. Each student, teacher and non teaching staff will be provided with reusable face mask by the Ministry of Education prior to reopening for final year students Weddings with not more than 100 guests can be organized Public political activities, except for rallies, to resume with less than 100 people, amid observation of social distancing and hygiene protocols 218, 425 Covid-19 tests conducted so far Total confirmed cases = 8,070 (new cases = 189) Total recoveries = 2,947 Total deaths = 36 Active cases = 5,087Thu, 02 Jul 2020 15:15:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) COVID-19: random tests, drive-thru testing at Kigali stadium 2: street tests, drive-thru testing Rwanda has began implementing a random testing scheme on the streets of the capital Kigali. There is also a drive through testing scheme at the national stadium. The Rwanda Biomedical Center, RBC; tweeted that the tests at the Kigali Amahoro National Stadium is expected to serve 5000 people in all districts of the city and at all its entry points. Personnel suited in Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs; are seen administering tests to people at the drive through section and others seated in a social distanced queue. Authorities say timely results will be issued to participants. Candidates are randomly selected and asked to consent to the testing. It is a 5-minute drive through, where car occupants are not required to vacate their vehicles. “This operation will provide factual information about the COVID19 status in Kigali & will lead to tactical response activities. A request is made to all Kigali residents to cooperate with RBC teams for the sake of successful completion of this important activity,” RBC said in a tweet on Wednesday. Confirmed cases = 1,042 Active cases = 559 Recoveries = 480 Number of deaths = 3 Total number of tests = 147,904 Rwanda MOH stats valid as of July 1, 2020 The #Covid19 drive through testing has just kicked off at the Kigali Amahoro National Stadium. 5000 people in the CityofKigali are expected to get tested in all districts of the City and at all its entry points.— Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBCRwanda) July 2, 2020 June 30: Cases pass 1,000 mark On the 25th of June, authorities in Rwanda introduced total lockdowns in parts of the capital Kigali citing surge in COVID-19 cases. The local government ministry said Kigali had recorded 21 cases in June as at the time. The decision to reintroduce the lockdown to the areas was taken after consulting the health ministry, it said. Rwanda had reported a total of 850 cases and two deaths since the first person tested positive in March. In a space of four days, the country has recorded over 150 cases taking the tally of confirmed cases as of yesterday (June 29) past the 1,000 mark according to the Ministry of Health tallies. Incidentally as much as 101 new cases were recorded yesterday only out of some 2,498 tests carried out. The cumulative number of tests stands at 140,249. The state-affiliated New Times portal reported that the ministry disclosed that of the new cases, 22 are from Kigali, three from Rusizi district, two from Rubavu district, one from Kayonza district and another one reported from Kirehe district. “The remaining 72 new cases, as per the Ministry, were detected from a detention center in Ngoma district and they are linked to Rusumo cases.” Rwanda is the sixth country in the East / Horn of Africa region to pass the 1000 mark. Others in the zone include Sudan (9,257), Kenya(6,190), Ethiopia(5,846), Djibouti (4,656), Somalia (2,904) and South Sudan (1,989). Confirmed cases = 1,001 Active cases = 556 Recoveries = 443 Number of deaths = 2 Rwanda MOH stats valid as of June 29, 2020 .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%; } June 1: Rwanda records first virus death, govt ‘rethinks’ easing restrictions “After reassessment, transportation between provinces and the City of Kigali, as well as passenger motor services, will remain closed until further notice in the interest of public health. “Further Covid-19 measures will be announced by Cabinet on Tuesday 2 June,” a tweet from the Rwandan Prime Minister’s office read. The East African country looks to have reversed a June 1 plan to further ease coronavirus restrictions. The new move is linked to the country’s first recorded death from the virus and a spike in cases over the weekend. Health minister told state broadcaster that the decision was because of the new cases reported in the western Rusizi district. On the last day of May 2020, Rwanda recorded 11 new cases on the same day the first casualty was buried in the outskirts of Kigali. The victim was a 65-year-old Rwandan lorry driver who became sick while in Benako in Tanzania. He returned to Rwanda on 28 May in a critical condition, according to local media. Intra-province travel, including in and out of capital Kigali, was supposed to resume today after over two months disruption. Reports say motorcycle taxi operators, estimated to number about 50,000, were also set to return to the roads. Rwanda was among the first countries on the continent to impose a strict lockdown in the early days of the virus’ arrival. So far it has 370 confirmed cases, with 256 recoveries and one death, according to tallies from the John Hopkins University COVID-19 portal.Thu, 02 Jul 2020 15:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) coronavirus: over 6,600 cases; tourism industry gets big boost continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic with cases steadily rising each day. Government have locked down a handful of counties including the capital Nairobi and imposed a night-time curfew as part of containment efforts. This rolling page will continue to give updates on major occurrences as relates to the East African country. You can follow Kenya’s March – April 2020 COVID-19 updates on our earlier page. Kenya as of May 10 was the fourth most impacted country in the East / Horn of Africa region only behind Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia. Government also rolled out mass testing in virus hot spots, borders remain shut and a ban on public gatherings continues. July 2: Kenya has taken giant steps to shore its tourism industry from the worsening economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Tourism Minister Najib Balala announced a raft of measures on Thursday. “Due to the adverse effects of Covid-19 to the tourism and wildlife sector. We have reduced entry fees to all Kenya Wildlife Service game parks and reserves to 50%. “This will apply for all categories of tourists (local, residents & international), effective July 1, 2020 for one year,” he added. The main interventions are: Reduced national park entry fees for Kenyan and international visitors. Lodges inside the parks have also been given a year’s moratorium from paying rent. Film makers have also been given a 50% discount on filming fees charged in parks. The minister also urged the lodges to use the rent holiday to improve services. Tourism is a mainstay of the Kenyan economy. The country us a major player in the East African region along with Uganda and Tanzania. Confirmed cases = 6,673 Active cases = 4,435 Recoveries = 2,089 Number of deaths = 149 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 1, 2020 The Cabinet Secretary Min_TourismKE tunajibu has reduced the park entry fees to all Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Reserves for all categories of tourists (Citizens, Residents, and Non-residents) effective July 1,2020 for one year. #DiscoverKWSParks— KWS (@kwskenya) July 2, 2020 June 21: 100 days since index case; 4,738 cases Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe today announced that Kenya was marking 100 days since the first case was confirmed. The disease is now affecting 40 counties to date, he added. 260 new cases were recorded taking the case load to 4,738 confirmed cases. 254 of the new cases were Kenyans with the others being foreigners. The number of tests also hit 140,012 over the 100 day period. The minister stressed that from all indications the virus was going to be around for a while and urged that individuals take personal responsibility in helping curb the spread and by that ease pressures on the system and on resources. “Our systems are now much better, but we are still learning. COVID-19 has badly impacted our economy including loss of jobs. But the government has made much effort to contain it. By next week each county will have at least 300 isolation bed capacity. He added: “COVID-19 has affected our mental health. Measures such as stay home, keeping social distancing including isolation has caused a lot of anxiety. But we have seen change especially in behavior such as increased hand hygiene.” Happy #FathersDay to all Dad’s who turned up with their children for the free nationwide mass testing & screening exercises for #COVID19-19#KomeshaCorona ✅ Mask ? ✅ Social Distancing ✅ Hand Washing ??? Total cumulative samples tested now stands at 133,541.— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) June 21, 2020 June 17: 3,860 cases; corruption probe on donations, funds Corruption is looming large on donation and funds meant for government response to the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that a probe was underway into a donation by Chinese businessman Jack Ma in the early days of the outbreak. As of today, investigators confirmed to the BBC that the probe has widened to include all donations and money given to the country to help fight against coronavirus. They believe that millions of dollars and equipment have been stolen even as the country continues to register a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, the BBC report added. Local media recently uncovered the disappearance of $2m worth of personal protective equipment donated by the Chinese government. Aside Jack Ma, the East African country has also received donations from the IMF and European countries. Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed that all monies allocated to fighting the virus will be accounted for. Infections meanwhile are steadily on the rise having reached 3,860 on Tuesday. Kenya is only upstaged by Sudan and Djibouti in the East / Horn of Africa region according to stats from the John Hopkins University portal. Total confirmed cases = 3,860 Total recoveries = 1,328 Total deaths = 105 Active cases = 2,427 Figures valid as of close of day June 16, 2020 June 15: 3,727 cases; burial guidelines relaxed The health ministry announced a relaxation of burial guidelines for victims of COVID-19. The existing rule required families to bury victims within 48 hours after death. Controversy has since developed around the rule because reports indicated that families were forced to adopt among others night burials to beat the deadline. Patrick Amoth, the ministry’s director general, has stressed that with proper handling, there was no need for the rather ‘hasty’ burial regulations. “If you look at the transmission of Covid-19 against other infections, there is very little likelihood that one stands a chance of getting infected from a body, if treated well,” he said. Reports say authorities across the country have strictly enforced the 48-hour rule regardless of the cause of death. Over the week, fans of a musician clashed with police in Kisumu over what they claimed was a rushed burial. Confirmed cases = 3,727 Number of deaths = 104 Recoveries = 1,286 Total tests = 118,701 Ministry of Health data, valid as of June 12, 2020 .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%; } June 10: Kenya tops 3,000 mark Case load topped 3,000 mark today with 105 new cases taking the tally to 3,094 confirmed cases, Health CAS Rashid Aman disclosed at the daily briefing on COVID-19. He also disclosed that the death-toll hits 89 after one more patient succumbed to the virus in Nairobi,. But there was good news with a record one-day recovery discharge of 175 patients across the country. recoveries have passed the 1,000 mark reaching 1,048. “We are delighted to inform you that we have discharged the highest number of patients in a single 24-hour period; we have discharged 175 patients from the various facilities who have recovered from the coronavirus disease,” CAS Aman added. BREAKING: “We have recorded 105 positive cases from a sample of 2,273 tested over the last 24 hours which brings the total number of confirmed positive cases to 3,094…” – Health CAS Rashid Aman— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) June 10, 2020 June 7: 2,600 cases ; Uhuru renews most restrictions President Kenyatta in a national address on Saturday announced a raft of restriction renewals aimed at virus containment as cases hit 2,600 same day. A 30-day extension of curfew supposed to last between the hours of 9pm – 4am. The enforcement since imposition months back has been the subject of police brutality and calls for justice for victims who have since been killed. The cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties also extended for 30 days. Cessation of movement in Eastleigh, Old Town, Kilifi and Kwale ends today. The public will have to wait another month to know when gatherings will be allowed. The ban was extended for 30 days. Total confirmed cases = 2,600 Total recoveries = 706 Total deaths = 83 Active cases = 1,811 June 3: 2,216 cases, record recoveries “This is the highest number of recoveries we have so far recorded since we announced the first discharge case on 1st April, 2020,” CAS Health Rashid Aman announced at today’s briefing. He was referring to 54 recoveries that brings the country’s recovery to 553. “We want to thank and pay tribute to our healthcare workers for this success. “This demonstrates that, with good management, this disease, when clinically manifested, is curable and hence not a death sentence,” he added. COVID-19 UPDATE ✔️2,112 samples tested in the past 24 hours ✔️85,058 samples tested so far ✔️123 new positive cases today ✔️ 2,216 Total confirmed cases ✔️ 54 new recoveries today ✔️ 553 total discharges so far ✔️3 fatalities today ✔️74 Total fatalities #KomeshaCorona— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) June 3, 2020 June 1: Cases cross 2,000 mark; Madaraka Day marked Today, 59 people tested positive from 1,518 samples, processed in the last 24 hours. The total case load in the country to date is 2,021, and samples tested since arrival of the pandemic is at 80,054. Meanwhile President Uhuru Kenyatta has tasked relevant ministries to work on easing of lockdowns imposed to curb spread of the virus. Speaking during celebrations for Madaraka (Freedom) Day, the president said he would issue more guidelines in the coming days. “I have directed the Ministry of Education to fast-track and finalize the ongoing consultations with the stakeholders that will provide an appropriate calendar for gradual resumption of education in the country. I direct the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health to continue and hasten their engagement with religious leaders; with the objective of developing protocols that will be adopted to guide a more participatory way of worship while guaranteeing the safety of worshipers,” he added. .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%; } Major topics covered below include: May 31: Cases approach 2,000; Laikipia records case May 30: 1,888 cases, Kericho records infection May 27: Record one-day increase May 26: Govt intensifies voluntary testing calls May 23: 1,192 cases, additional health workers to be hired May 21: record one-day increase, Wajir rolls out campaign May 20: cases pass 1,000 mark, foreigners deported May 16: 830 cases, TZ, Somali borders shut May 14: Cases hit 758, focus turns to Kenya-Tanzania border town May 12: 715 cases, border crossings becoming flash point May 11: Cases reach 700, mass prisoner release May 10: 649 cases, Raila worries about Magufuli May 8: May 8: Govt to foot quarantine bills, cases at 607 May 7: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City May 5: KQ’s UK repatriation flight returns May 4: Cases hit 535, govt decries abuse of relaxed measures May 3: KQ repatriation flight, Nairobi fumigation May 2: Case count at 435, mass testing starts May 1: Case count hits 411, Uhuru vows transparency May 31: 1,962 cases as Laikipia records infection Today, 74 people have tested positive for the virus from 1,574 samples that were tested in the last 24 hours. The total number of positive cases now stands at 1,962, while the aggregate number of samples tested so far is 78,536. Out of the 74 positive cases; (55) are males & (19) are females. Age range is from 3 years for the youngest and 79 years for the oldest. Fourteen patients from various hospitals were discharged, bringing total tally of recoveries to 474. Death toll stands at 64. Laikipia becomes the latest County to record a case, bringing the tally of counties affected so far to 34. “The behavior of the infection curve is totally dependent on our behavior as a people. Each of us has a role to play. Adopting responsible social behaviors to break the transmission chain of the virus is of vital importance. “We must therefore, continue to strictly observe the containment measures and obey the advisories issued by the government,” Health CAS Dr. Rashid Aman who led the daily briefing added in his remarks. Today, we have discharged another (14) patients from various hospitals, bringing our total tally of recoveries to 474. Our gratitude goes to our health workers, who are working day & night to ensure our people are well managed. #Komeshacorona update.— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 31, 2020 May 30: 1,888 cases, Kericho records infection Kericho County becomes the latest to report a case of COVID-19 according to authorities. The national tally has reached 1,888 after 143 new cases were confirmed after testing 2,959 samples over the last 24-hours. One patient has also died bringing the death toll to 63. recoveries are at 464. All the 143 cases are Kenyans, 110 males and 33 females. The age range is between one month for the youngest and 88 years for the oldest. CAS Rashid Aman is also reported to have disclosed that diarrhoea has now been included among symptoms of COVID-19. Among the existing conditions are headaches, short of breath and persistent coughs. Today we have tested 2,959 samples. Out of this, 143 have tested positive. The total case load in the country is 1,888 from 76,962 samples tested. #KomeshaCorona update by CAS Heath, Dr. Rashid Aman.— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 30, 2020 May 28: 1,471 cases, record one-day infections For the first time, Kenya recorded a three-digit increase in new cases over a 24-hour period. 123 new cases took the national tally to 1,471. Authorities say the figure is partly due to increase in testing. Government has been urging people to voluntarily test in hotspots in the capital and in Mombasa county – which is the second most impacted behind Nairobi. “There is a raging number of infections in these areas,” Minister Mutahi Kagwe said. Kenya only imposed targeted lockdowns since the virus hit but a night-time curfew remains in force to curb virus spread. Total confirmed cases = 1,471 (new cases = 123) Total recoveries = 408 Total deaths = 55 Active cases = 1,008 Figures valid as of close of day May 27, 2020 May 27: govt intensifies voluntary testing campaign Government is intensify calls for people to submit themselves for voluntary testing as the steady rise of cases continue across the country. CAS Health Rashid Aman during the daily press briefing on Tuesday said it was only via testing that the true extent of the disease’s spread will be known. “We’re appealing to Kenyans in high risk areas to come forward and be tested. The cost of testing, quarantine, isolation and treatment in a government facility will be met by the government. Any information to the contrary is false & is aimed at misleading Kenyans.” “We glad that majority of Kenyans have responded to our call to come forward for testing. This is commendable & we continue to appeal to all Kenyans to come out and get tested,” he added. Total confirmed cases = 1,348 (new cases = 5) Total recoveries = 405 Total deaths = 52 Active cases = 891 Figures valid as of close of day May 26, 2020 .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%; } May 23: 1,192 cases, additional health workers to be hired Thirty-one new cases were registered today taking the tally to 1,192; President Kenyatta disclosed in an address. He also disclosed that 5,000 additional health workers were going to be hired to augment the current strength. The address also touched on wide-ranging interventions by government in combating other challenges such as deforestation and climate change, flood control, salvaging the tourism and hospitality sectors and cash transfer for vulnerable families. Meanwhile, mass testing operations continue especially in the capital Nairobi where government is urging people to voluntarily submit themselves for testing. Areas being covered are Embakasi East-Utawala and Eastleigh. Meet PCBandKenya a Youth based CBO in Kibera who compliment our Health Promotion officers in grass-root communication ?? of #KomeshaCorona ? messages and also aid mobilizing communities to turn up for mass testing NMS_Kenya. Cc WHOKenya susan_mochacheSpokespersonGoK— Ministry of Health (MOH_Kenya) May 23, 2020 May 21: 1,109 cases, Wajir rolls out sensitization campaign Kenya broke a new case record in 24 hours. The 60 new cases that took the tallies past 1,000 have been eclipsed by today’s tally of 80 new cases and now the national tally stands at 1,109 confirmed cases. Nine new discharges took the recoveries to 367 with the death toll still at 50. The figures indicate that in a space of 10 days Kenya has increased tallies from 700 to 1,109, an average of 41 cases per day. Over in Wajir, the county government has rolled out a sensitization campaign. Governor Mohamed Abdi launched the Community Health Volunteers activities as part of virus prevention measures. The 1000 Community Health Volunteers will be tasked with COVID-19 awareness and social mobilization in villages. The county government has also approved a stipend of Kshs. 5000 per month for the next 2 months. Quotes from minister Mutahi Kagwe at today’s briefing: “We have increased our testing capacity and we are urging the public to be alert and to continue observing the containment measures. This war cannot be won by the government alone but by all individuals following rules. “We want to thank all those who have come out to be tested in the targeted high risk areas. Religious community is key to us. We are working with them to make things happen including issues of domestic violence.” On his part, acting Director General of Health at the Ministry, Patrick Amoth said: “Modeling keeps on changing based on different variables in place. Our health system has not been overrun and we shall continue to implement these measures especially avoiding of gathering, keeping distance.” The CHVs will conduct ▶️Household visits ▶️Community referrals ▶️Update household registers ▶️Distribute IEC materials ▶️Identify health challenges within the community among others to combat coronavirus and other ailments. WajirCountyKE GovernorWajir #KomeshaCorona— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 21, 2020 May 20: Cases pass 1,000 mark, foreigners deported Total confirmed cases = 1,029 (new cases = 66) Total recoveries = 358 Total deaths = 50 Active cases = 555 The case tally in Kenya has passed the 1,000 mark as of today and the milestone was achieved with the highest one-day record of new cases. Today’s 66 cases, 30 of which were detected in Mombasa County, is the highest to be recorded since the index case. The announcement was made by Health Minister Muhati Kagwa during a press briefing. He also confirmed that cessation of movement in Eastleigh and Old Town had been extended until June 6, 2020; malls and eateries to remain closed until same date. “We would like to thank the German Embassy for giving us mobile labs, to do COVID-19 tests on site especially at the Namanga border point; Minister for East Africa and Regional Cooperation, Adan Mohamed also disclosed. The East African Community Secretariat has also procured mobile labs to enhance testing of truck drivers. On the Kenyan side, one lab will be stationed at the Namanga border point and another one in Naivasha. Deportation of 182 foreigners Kenyan officials have been busy at border points with neighbouring Tanzania – areas that have been declared virus hot spots days ago. 182 foreigners who tried to enter the country were deported after testing positive for coronavirus. Of the cases, 126 tested positive in the main border crossing of Namanga. The others were diagnosed in four other border points. The nationalities of the foreigners were not disclosed. President Kenyatta last weekend shut borders with Tanzania and Somalia citing an increase in cross-border infections. Cargo vehicles were exempted, but drivers have to be tested for coronavirus at border points. “We can not allow people from outside Kenya to come in without a Covid-19 free certificate, just like we are not allowing Kenyan drivers to leave without a certificate,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe told a media briefing on Tuesday. May 16: 830 cases, TZ, Somali borders shut Total confirmed cases = 830 (new cases = 49) Total recoveries = 301 Total deaths = 50 (5 new) Active cases = 481 Kenya’s case count reached 830 as pf today President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in an address today. The dusk to dawn curfew in place has also been extended by a further 21 days. A major decision announced also included the closure of frontiers with Tanzania and Somalia. There will be cessation of movement of persons and passengers into and out through Kenya-Tanzania, & Kenya-Somalia border except for cargo, beginning midnight,” he said. The national curfew and cessation of movements in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mandera to continue till 6th June 2020, he added. The border closure especially relative to Tanzania comes days after Kenya declared the border town of Namanga a high-risk area. May 14: Cases hit 758, focus turns to borders Total confirmed cases = 758 (new cases = 21) Total recoveries = 284 Total deaths = 42 Samples tested over 24-hours = 1,486 Total samples tested = 36,918 Government reports that a new area of focus in the fight against the virus are the frontiers. “Our borders are now the key areas of focus particularly Namanga,” CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi told reporters during today’s briefing. Kenya has on Wednesday declared the border town with Tanzania as a high-risk area. Namanga is a town divided by the Tanzania-Kenya border. It is in Longido District, Tanzania and Kajiado County, Kenya. It is around 110 kilometers from Arusha, Tanzania. Zambia has also recently shut its common trade border with Tanzania after the town of Nakonde recorded a spike in cases. It is currently having more cases than the capital Lusaka. #KomeshaCorona UPDATE ✔️1,486 samples tested ✔️Total samples tested so far stand at 36,918 ✔️21 new positive cases today ✔️Total confirmed cases stand at 758 ✔️3 recoveries today ✔️Total discharged & recovered stands at 284 ✔️2 fatalities today ✔️Total fatalities stand at 42— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 14, 2020 May 12: 15 new cases, border crossing concerns “We are upscaling security on border points and testing truck drivers to contain cross border infections,” CS Dr. Rashid Aman told the press today as he gave case statistics on the coronavirus pandemic. He added that two other individuals from Tanzania at the Isebania border also tested positive and were referred back to Tanzania. “We are upscaling security on border points and testing truck drivers to contain cross border infections.” With the case count now at 715, authorities reported that 8 patients had been discharges from hospital today bringing to 259 the total number of recoveries from COVID-19. The new infections comprised 14 Kenyans and a Rwandese. Seven of the cases were in Mombasa, three in Migori and two in Wajir. Nairobi, Machakos and Kiambu recorded a case each. Overall 978 samples were tested. “We are saddened to announce the death of 3 patients in Mombasa. Two of them died at home, while the 3rd one in hospital, bringing to 36 the total number of those who have succumbed to the disease,” the CS added. On the regional front, President Kenyatta joined a virtual meeting of East African Community Heads of State held today under the chairmanship of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. Another regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD; also donated supplies to Kenya as part of efforts to help combat the virus spread. The IGAD Secretariat staff contributed 100,000 US Dollars to Kenya’s National COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Similar amounts were also given to the other IGAD Member States.igadsecretariat #KomeshaCorona updates.— Ministry of Health (MOH_Kenya) May 12, 2020 May 11: 700 cases, mass prisoner release In the last 24 hours, Kenya tested 841 samples, out of which twenty eight (28) people tested positive for corona virus. This brings the total number of those who have tested positive to 700. Recoveries are at 251 with 33 deaths. Ten of the cases were from Mombasa county, nine from Kajiado, seven from Nairobi and two from Wajir. Of note is the Kajiado cases which involved Kenyan truck drivers who were tested at Namanga border point. Authorities disclosed that so far 19 out of 47 counties have reported positive cases adding that cntact tracing of positive cases is ongoing as well as targeted testing in high risk areas. We have discharged 12 people from hospital. This now brings to 251 the total number of recoveries from Covid-19. We continue to thank our healthcare workers for this great achievement.#KomeshaCorona updates.— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 11, 2020 Meanwhile there was a mass prisoner release that saw 7,000 inmates freed as part of efforts to decongest the prisons and to curb spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i has told Senators that two cases were detected in a Nairobi prison. The health ministry has started conducting mass testing in prisons across the country, the local Citizen TV reports The government has restricted movement in and out the Nairobi and the second biggest city of Mombasa, as well as two other counties in the coastal region. It has also imposed a total lockdown in two areas identified as virus hot spots – one in Nairobi and the other in Mombasa – for 15 days. __Additional reporting from BBC_ 649 cases, Raila worries about Magufuli Ahead of tallies for May 10, Kenya’s close of day stats for May 9 stood at a total of 649 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 30 deaths and 207 recoveries. Affairs in neighbouring Tanzania has however led to the raising of concerns by ex Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is quoted as saying President Magufuli next door was putting an entire region at risk with his handling of the virus. Raila told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Magufuli had refused to listen to even his fellow presidents on the need to backtrack on his approach to the virus. He added that he had also failed to get in touch with the Tanzanian leader: “As nationalist, he needs to get information from fellow regional leaders… This is a regional issue. “Our destiny is tied together. We do not want a situation where any of these countries will have to close their borders. That is why dialogue is the most important thing,” Raila said. COVID-19 UPDATE ✔️1,611 samples tested today ✔️21,041 total samples tested so far ✔️28 new positive cases today ✔️Total confirmed cases stand at 649 ✔️5 recoveries today ✔️Total recovered stands at 207 ✔️ 1 fatalities today ✔️Total fatalities are 30#KomeshaCorona update.— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 9, 2020 May 8: Govt to foot quarantine bills, cases at 607 Government on Thursday confirmed that it will foot bills of suspected persons quarantined for COVID-19. The move is to encourage more people to avail themselves for testing as the country’s cases continue to rise day-on-day. The issue of high fees associated with institutional quarantine has been topical for weeks in the country as people protested the move. Since the start of the pandemic, many people have been stuck in isolation centres long after they were supposed to leave because they cannot afford the bills. Most government isolation facilities are charging at least $20 (£16) a day, the BBC reported. Recently, a group of people quarantined in the capital Nairobi jumped the walls of the facility and escaped. President Kenyatta at the time vowed that all of them will be rearrested and quarantined duly. Mass testing measures rolled out in the capital and coastal city of Mombasa has received low turnout much to the concern of authorities. Kenya has as of May 7 confirmed a total of 607 coronavirus cases, including 29 deaths and 197 recoveries. May 7: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City The government on Wednesday announced a partial lockdown on two virus hotspots, Eastleigh in Nairobi and Mombasa City. The 15-day measure took effect same day starting 7pm local time. Under the measure, there shall be no movement into and out of the places. All public places in the two areas are to be shutdown. The cases tally for the two areas stood at 68 and 64 respectively. Kenya case statistics as of May 7 stood at 582 cases, 190 recoveries and 26 deaths. Nairobi and Mombasa have been previously placed under similar measure being the most impacted counties. May 5: KQ’s UK repatriation flight returns Kenyan Airways on Tuesday arrived in Nairobi with 84 nationals aboard a special charter flight from the United Kingdom. All passengers were checked into a government quarantine facility as per the terms of repatriation. A negative virus test result was a key requirement aside other boarding formalities from the UK. Passengers aboard the UK return flight paid 54,000 shillings for the one-way trip. Each passenger occupied an entire row of three seats and had to wear a mask throughout the journey. KQ is also expected to undertake similar flights from India and China in the coming days. The China flight is from Guangzhou, the epicentre of reported racist treatment of Africans last month. Kenyans were said to be among the most impacted. Cases hit 535, govt decries abuse of relaxed measures Kenya recorded a daily record of 45 new cases as the tally hit 535 today. Nine more patients were discharged bringing the total number of recoveries to 182. In giving a breakdown of the new cases, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said: 30 are males and 15 females. It involved 44 Kenyans and a Somali. The cases are from Nairobi (29), Mombasa (11), Wajir (5). Kagwe further disclosed that the five cases from Wajir County had recently travelled from Mogadishu in Somalia. “There is a community spread in three key areas: Eastleigh, Kawangware and Old Town, Mombasa,” he said, insisting on the need for the Government to take serious action in those areas. The 29 cases in Nairobi are from Eastleigh, a hotspot where mass testing started late last week. Eastleigh has 63 cases so far Mombasa’s Old Town has recorded 39 cases Kawangware has 24 cases so far Some quotes from his press briefing were: “Today’s figure is a demonstration of just how far from normal things are.” “There is not a single person who is immune to the virus, you are as likely to have it as I am. Therefore nobody should be stigmatized,” he added. Mutahi decries abuse of relaxed measures “It is unfortunate that some are going to hotels to order two sausages and two beers. Then they will go to another eatery and order another sausage plus two more bottles. “The same person will go to another restaurant and order an orange as dessert…and add another beer. Honestly, what are we doing?” he wondered. He further expressed concern over disobedience to curfew regulations. “If we call the police to arrest such people the media will report that we are harassing Kenyans. It is good that you (the media) are now reporting flaunting of the curfew rules,” he said. May 4: Human rights issues, mass testing hurdles Nelson Havi, President pf the Law Society of Kenya posted on Twitter: 1. The Emergency Response Committee has no power to mandate the IG to establish a containment camp for curfew violators. How can such a preposterous and unlawful idea even be contemplated in a constitutional democracy? 2. A while back, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Health declared that anyone found outside during curfew hours will be deemed to have been infected with Covid-19 and quarantined. Many have been so quarantined notwithstanding the illegality of the declaration. 3. It is high time Kenyans started questioning the propriety of some of the measures taken in containing Covid-19. Parliament and the Judiciary are reluctant to intervene. May 3: KQ repatriation flight, Nairobi fumigation Kenya Airways has announced plans to repatriate citizens from three global cities. The national carrier announced the special repatriation flights via social media handles. The first is from London (May 4th), Mumbai (May 7th) and finally from Guangzhou (May 8th). “Only Kenyan Citizens with COVID-19 test results will board,” KQ clarified. According to a statement posted on their website, passengers will pay a one-way nonrefundable fare. All passengers must arrange their own COVID-19 tests and present proof of a negative result as part of formalities. “All passengers must undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14-28 days at their own cost as per government of Kenya guidelines,” it added with respect to the London and Guangzhou flights. In the case of the Mumbai flight, passengers are: “required to present a copy of covid-19 medical results at the check in counter and the results must be negative. (Test to be taken max 07 days prior to departure). “During check in all guest must complete a declaration form in relation to 14 days mandatory quarantine in Nairobi,” the statement added. Meanwhile mass fumigation exercises continue in parts of the capital Nairobi including the Kawangware area – a low income residential neighbourhood that has so far recorded 20 positive cases. Afya house, Kilimo house and KMTC Nairobi, fumigated today as the fight against #COVID19 is intensified through targeted testing and other measures. #KomeshaCorona campaign— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 3, 2020 May 2: Case count at 435, mass testing starts Kenya recorded 24 new coronavirus cases bringing the total tally to 435. 17 of the cases were recorded in Nairobi (10 in Eastleigh, 7 in Kawangware). Five in Mombasa. and two in Migori County. A 51-year-old woman in Mombasa became the 22nd victim whiles two more recoveries brings the total to 152. These figures were given by Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi in April 2 briefing on the virus situation. A total of 1195 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, one of the highest in a day. It also comes two days after mass testing was rolled out in parts of the capital and Mombasa. The exercise, however, suffered an early setback with low turnout especially in Mombasa. According to records, although the target was 24,000 residents, only 131 showed up for the test rolled out on Thursday. The Health CAS cautioned small businesses that seem to have gone back to work, saying “the disease is still with us”. Businesses flouting the rules set in place to curb disease spread will be closed. Dr Mwangangi noted that there has been a decrease in the number of patients visiting hospitals for other illnesses. While this would ordinarily be good news, the CAS said citizens should not be afraid to seek medical assistance when needed, the Standard Digital portal said in its report. Kenya reports 24 new Coronavirus cases (of 1195 tests conducted in the last 24 hours) bringing total to 435. 17 in Nairobi (10 in Eastleigh, 7 in Kawangware). 5 in Mombasa. 2 in Migori County. 1 death brings total number of deaths to 22. 2 more recoveries brings total to 152.— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) May 2, 2020 May 1: Case count hits 411, Uhuru vows transparency The case count has reached 411 as of May 1 after 15 new cases were recorded over the last 24-hours. Meanwhile recoveries have reached 150 according to data released today by the Ministry of Health. Fatalities stand at 21 with active cases at 240. Kenya’s overall test count stands at 21,702. A total of 1,434 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, marking a rise from the trend where less than 1,000 had been tested daily. Nairobi and Mombasa counties remain the most impacted with 248 and 124 cases respectively. Partially locked down Kilifi, Mandera and Kwale also have 9, 8 and 2 cases in that order. Other counties with cases are Kiambu, Kajiado, Kitui, Nakuru, Siaya and Kakamega. Uasin Gishu, Homabay and Wajir complete the list. President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday assured the country that all fund being sunk into combating the coronavirus will be properly accounted for and the report made public in due course. He was speaking at State House as part of a muted 2020 Labour Day celebrations, addressing concerns in the wake of reports about financial mismanagement with the virus funds. “We should also focus on the future since corona will not be with us forever. I was surprised when some criticized me for exporting flowers abroad,” he said. “The flower industry employs very many people. The moment corona is over they will remember us for standing with them in their time of need.” The President also tasked Kenyans to do all it takes to combat the virus and minimize the incidence of job losses. “We cannot relax in our efforts to conquer this invisible enemy and to put our economy on a strong growth path. “Because, if we do not, we could lose upwards of half a million jobs over the next 6 months. We must do whatever it takes to minimize, if not to fully contain such loss in jobs,” he said.Thu, 02 Jul 2020 11:50:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) held for slain Ethiopian singer funeral of Hachalu Hundessa, the slain Ethiopian singer, was held Thursday in his hometown of Ambo, in the Oromia region. The singer, whose highly political lyrics expressed frustrations of the Oromo people, who have long considered themselves marginalised, was shot dead Monday night in Addis Ababa. His death immediately rekindled tensions. Demonstrations resulted in the deaths of 81 people and increased political and communal tensions in the country. Over the past two days, demonstrators have been expressing their anger in the capital and in Oromia, the stronghold of the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group. It was a federal government plan to expand the capital into Oromia that triggered the anti-government protests in 2015 that led to Abiy Ahmed’s accession to power three years later. Since assuming office, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner has worked to promote political and economic reforms. However, this has opened the way open for inter-communal violence, which is putting the Ethiopian system of ethnic federalism to the test. AFPThu, 02 Jul 2020 11:38:57 +0000editorial@africanews.com virus updates disrupted by security-linked internet outage is one of East / Horn of Africa’s least impacted nations as compared to rate of COVID-19 case growth and infection of its neighbours. A state of emergency lasting five-months has been imposed by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led government. All land borders have since been shut as a virus control measure with a raft of restrictions and enforcement of physical distancing and mask wearing measures. Elections planned for May this year were also postponed citing the effect of the pandemic. Ethiopia played an instrumental role in the deployment of virus supplies donated by Chinese businessman Ali Baba. This article will focus on major developments coming from the country. May 19: 60 cases in two days Total confirmed cases = 365 (new cases between May 17 – 19 = 60) Total recoveries = 120 (new recoveries = 8) Total deaths = 5 Active cases = 238 Ethiopia’s case count spiked on Monday by 35 new cases (a daily record) whiles 14 new cases were recorded today. Added to 11 cases recorded last Sunday, 60 cases have been recorded in the last three days. The tally now stands at 365. Concerns had been raised by analysts over the spate of new case increases after it took just a week to go from 200 to go past the 300 mark as against a much lengthier period from 0 to 100 and 100 to 200. The country, however, remains one of the least impacted in a region where neighbour Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan has crossed the 1000 mark. Kenya is past 900 confirmed cases as of today. Major African stats: May 19 at 6:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 88,264 Number of deaths = 2,832 Recoveries = 33,898 Active cases = 51,534Thu, 02 Jul 2020 11:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com King's letter of apology to Congo [PRESS REVIEW] of the Belgian king to Felix Tshisekedi on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the DRC. Nigeria’s Buhari warns his a large percentage of people in his country risks sliding into extreme poverty. Manu Dibango, the most sampled African artist of all time, with more than 125 samples and covers recorded, ‘according to Sample Chief’.Thu, 02 Jul 2020 11:23:37 (Jerry Bambi) threaten food supplies in Kenya locusts continue to threaten Kenya’s food supply after invading the north-western part of the country by the millions. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations works with Kenyan logisticians to search for and monitor dense areas of locust invasions in the country’s desert. Among them, Boris Polo and his team are using GPS data to spray blocks long before they are ripe enough to fly or lay eggs. “So the issue, without doing control of locusts now is basically they will form big swarms and have the risk of going into the bread baskets of Kenya in the south and that will affect food production for the populations and the future of Kenya,” Polo said. At this stage of their evolution, locusts are easier to control. They do not yet have the capacity to travel the usual 20 km per day and at the same time devastate everything green, the main source of food for livestock. Farmers in southern Kenya are apprehensive about the outcome of this year’s harvest. “These infestations are pretty serious. Kenya (in) 2020 has suffered already quite a lot with floods, of course COVID-19 and now the desert locust infestations that we seem to be finding everywhere”, he added. Described as a scourge for humanity, locusts devastate crops and livestock and threaten the food security of more than 5 million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. APThu, 02 Jul 2020 11:04:02 +0000editorial@africanews.com coronavirus: 26,484 cases; local flights start July 8, recoveries hit 10,000, Africa’s most populous country, as at end of June 2020 was Africa’s third most impacted country only behind South Africa and Egypt. As Africa’s biggest economy, the federal government has continued to enforce regulations across the board even though most state governments have moved to relax restrictions. The national response is led by the Presidential Task Force, PTF, led by SGF Boss Mustapha along with a national coordinator and relevant ministers – chief among them, Health, Foreign Affairs and Education ministries. At the heart of the response is the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC. This article is dedicated to covering events from the country throughout the month of July. Our May 2020 page and June 2020 coverage also gives you a rundown of major developments. July 2: 26,484 cases, domestic flights start July 8 Domestic flights can begin operations from July 8, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika announced via Twitter on Wednesday. The latest big move as Africa’s most populous country relaxes coronavirus restrictions. The full reopening will span a week with Abuja and Lagos opening on July 8. Others will reopen on July 11 (Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri) and the rest on July 15, the government said on its official Twitter account. On the subject of resumption of international flights, Minister Sirika said: “Date for international (flights) to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please.” Confirmed cases = 26,484 Active cases = 15,729 Recoveries = 10,152 Number of deaths = 603 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 30, 2020 I am glad to announce that Abuja & Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on the 8th of July, 2020. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri & Maiduguri to resume on the 11th. Other airports on the 15th. Date for international to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please ??????— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) July 1, 2020 July 1: 25,694 cases, Delta governor infected Today marks the first day of the eased lockdown Phase II. “The primary aim of Phase Two was to sustain the gains of the earlier Phase in terms of pandemic control, while allowing additional sectors of the economy to restart. “This will help achieve the desired balance between saving lives and ensuring that the wellbeing and livelihood of citizens are protected, the PTF said in a statement detailing the raft of new directives. The key ones being: Maintaining the current nationwide curfew (10pm – 4am); Maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings and sporting activities; Re-commencement of domestic aviation services; Allowing movement across state boundaries only outside curfew hours; Allowing students in graduating classes (Primary 6, JS3 & SS3) to resume in preparation for examinations; Federal and State Government offices to maintain current timing of 9am – 2pm as Officers on GL. 14 and above, and essential staff from GL.13 and below are to continue to report for duty; and Mandatory use of non-medical facemasks in public spaces with access to government and commercial premises to be denied for persons not wearing facemasks: ‘No mask, no entry. No mask, no service.’ Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa today confirmed that he had contracted COVID-19. According to a post on Twitter, he said he had contracted the virus along with his wife. His disclosure comes barely 24-hours after that of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who said he was asymptomatic and self-isolating. The list of infected governors thus includes Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who also confirmed being infected early this month. Governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyin Makinde of Oyo, have all recovered from the virus. Confirmed cases = 25,694 Active cases = 15,358 Recoveries = 9,746 Number of deaths = 590 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 30, 2020 My wife and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are well and continuing with our isolation/medication. We thank you all for your continued prayers for us and our daughter.— Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (@IAOkowa) July 1, 2020Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:45:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Africa: protest against Africa's first vaccine trial gathered outside the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg Wednesday against Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial. With burned face masks, protesters sang and danced carrying banners which read “We’re not guinea pigs… No safe vaccine.” “It goes against all protocols. And even if people are going to consent, there has to be informed consent. It’s a form of a violation of a person’s body. It’s a form of rape. It’s not acceptable. So vaccine period, whether it’s in China or Italy, is not acceptable. But however logic should tell me that if you want to test, test in the areas which they call the epicenter of the world, but the epicentre of South Africa”, Sean Goss said. The continent’s first vaccine trial for the coronavirus began in South Africa last week. It is part of one already underway in the United Kingdom. The vaccine was developed at the University of Oxford. Some 2,000 volunteers in this Southern African nation are expected to participate. Members of the Traditional Healers Organisation also came out in support of the protest. “We feel that our government is not supporting traditional medicine, is also not recognising the work of traditional healers, because there are many things that there are many, many medicines that traditional healers could produce that could help with the COVID-19. So we feel that government is not supporting traditional medicine”, Seloane Mokgatsi, of the Traditional Healers Organisation said. South Africa has over 151,000 confirmed cases, the most in Africa. Overall, the continent has more than 400,000 cases. APThu, 02 Jul 2020 10:24:15 +0000editorial@africanews.com's prominent dissident released of Algeria’s prominent figures for the protest movement, Karim Tabbour was released Thursday, his lawyer Abdelghani Badi told AFP. Badi said this follows a green light from the court of Algiers for a request of his client’s provisional release. Tabbou, was imprisoned on 26 September, 2016 and was sentenced on an appeal on March 24 to one year in prison. He was charged for ‘‘undermining the integrity of the national territory’‘. The Algerian dissident is also being prosecuted for ‘’ damaging the army’s morale’‘ in another case, the trial of which has been postponed until September 14, 2020. Human rights groups have welcome the decision for Tabbou’s release. Karim Tabbou is one of the most prominent voices of “Hirak”, the anti-regime protest movement that broke out in February 2019. The Democratic and Social Union leader’s portrait was regularly used during weekly demonstrations, now suspended over the Covid-19 pandemic. AFPThu, 02 Jul 2020 10:20:44 +0000editorial@africanews.com protest singer buried in Ambo, Addis under heavy security 2: Hachalu buried in Ambo, blast rocks Addis The funeral of Oromo protest singer Hachalu Hundessa has been held in his hometown of Ambo in the Oromia regional state, the BBC reports. The event was under heavy security as a sparse crowd joined the final rites for the artist whose killing earlier this week sparked spontaneous protests in parts of the country leading to at least 80 other deaths. Pictures on national television show the funeral procession at a stadium in the singer’s hometown of Ambo, about 100km (62miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa. Photos courtesy: BBC Africa LIVE page Meanwhile there are reports of a deadly blast in the capital Addis Ababa with most people on Twitter citing local police. It will be the fourth blast in the last few days. Police confirmed three blasts during protests against Hachalu’s murder on Tuesday. “Reports coming in of blast in Ethiopian capital Addis. Possibly hand grenade. Scores killed,” Rashid Abdi, a researcher and analyst of the Horn of Africa tweeted. A Reuters report also said police fired in the air to prevent mourners entering the Ambo stadium for the funeral. Members of the military, federal police and regional police were out in force, and two residents said police were firing in the air to deter mourners. A live broadcast showed sparse numbers of people seated inside. One resident said large crowds had been turned away by police. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths. “Hachalu is not dead. He will remain in my heart and the hears of millions of Oromo people forever,” she said. “I request a monument erected in his memory in Addis where his blood was spilt,” she added. Shimelis Abdissa, President of Oromia region had earlier announced that a statue commemorating the deceased will be built in Addis Ababa. The privately-owned Addis Standard reported that a relative dispelled talk of the family wanting him to be buried in the capital Addis Ababa. Hundesa Bonssaa said “it was not our opinion. Why was this needed? His father, his mother and his family wanted him to be laid to rest in Ambo. To blame this on the government is not correct. This is tantamount to burying Hachalu’s truth.” Federal and regional officials were present at the funeral including Head of Oromia’s Bureau of Agricultural and Natural Resource, who laid a wreath on behalf of the regional state. July 1: Hachalu to be buried in Ambo, Thursday The BBC is reporting that the burial of famed Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa will take place in the town of Ambo in the Oromia region on Thursday, July 2. The musician was assassinated in Addis Ababa according to police in his car, federal police chief Endeshaw Tasew is quoted to have said the assailants followed him and entered his car where they shot him. It was “well organized & sophisticated.” He stressed that the aim of the act was “plunging” the country “into chaos.” A joint task-force between Addis Ababa and federal police is handling the investigation, he added. Hachalu, famed for his political songs critical of the government, will receive a hero’s farewell, with flags flying half-mast for five days in the region, the BBC report added. A Reuters report said the death toll as of late Tuesday was 10 with over 80 others wounded from the protests. PM in a televised address Tuesday night called the killing of musician “an evil act.” “This is an act committed and inspired by domestic and foreign enemies in order to destabilise our peace and to stop us from achieving things that we started,” he said. Ethiopia federal agents arrest Jawar Mohammed, OMN Addis office closed Meanwhile Committee for the Protection of Journalists, CPJ; and Amnesty International are calling on the government to turn on the internet on one hand and to fully investigate the assassination. “Amnesty International is also calling for the security forces to exercise restraint when managing the ongoing protests and refrain from the use of excessive force.” “Ethiopian authorities’ persistence of old patterns of censorship in response to crises, when the public most needs access to timely news and information, is deeply disappointing,” CPJ’s sub-Saharn Africa lead Muthoki Mumo said in a June 30 statement. June 30: Death reported from protests There are differing reports of deaths arising from protests across Ethiopia due to the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, the iconic Oromo artiste. The BBC Africa LIVE page reported two deaths earlier in the day. Privately-owned Addis Standard portal reported that “At least seven people killed in Adama, Chiro as protests engulf Oromia regional state. A Reuters report put the death toll at eight. At least eight people have been killed and 80 injured in protests in the Ethiopian town of Adam, the Reuters report said citing a doctor. Adama is about 90 km (56 miles) southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa. Six people died on their way to hospital and two died in intensive care, said Dr Mekonnen Feyissa, the medical director of Adama’s main hospital. The hospital received around 80 injured patients, he said. Most had been shot but some had been hit with rocks or stabbed. .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%; } Jawar Bekele arrested in Addis Ababa The arrest of prominent Ethiopian pro-democracy activist Jawar Mohammed has been confirmed by multiple sources from the country. His media outfit, Oromia Media Network, OMN, has also been shut down by authorities. The arrest comes in the wake of mass protests against the shooting and killing on Monday night of a famed Oromo musician and activist in Addis Ababa. Hachalu Hundessa, was celebrated as a symbol for the Oromo people – Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group. His songs spoke out about their political and economic marginalisation and became a rallying point for activists in their fight against Ethiopian regimes. The musician had also been imprisoned for five years when he was 17 for taking part in protests, an analysis on the BBC Africa LIVE page added. Jawar was reportedly arrested along with Bekele Gerba, a veteran opposition activist. The duo were arrested at the Oromo Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, where they were attending the funeral of Hachalu. OMN outlets raided, Jawar reacts to death Media magnate, pro-democracy activist and opposition politician, Jawar Mohammed, reacted to the killing of Haacaalu on Tuesday with a facebook post that said the Oromo nation had been attacked. “They did not just kill Hachalu. They shot at the heart of the Oromo Nation, once again !!...You can kill us, all of us, you can never ever stop us!! NEVER !! La Aluta Continua,” he wrote. Meanwhile, his media outfit the Oromia Media Network, OMN, reported on Tuesday that its offices in the capital Addis Ababa had been raided and staff taken away by security agents to an undisclosed location. The notice posted in Afaan Oromo on their verified Facebook page said the premises had been taken over by state security actors. Mourners believed to be escorting the body of the deceased to the city Ambo in Oromia were also forced to retreat. Reports say the body is currently back at the Oromo Cultural Center in Addis Ababa. #ሰበርዜና፦ የፌዴራል ፖሊስ የOMN አዲስ አበባ ስቱዲዮ ጥሶ በመግባት ሠራተኞቹን እንዳሰረበት የቴሌቪዥን ጣቢያው በፌስቡክ ገጹ አስፍሯል። | #Breaking OMN is reporting its #AddisAbeba studio has been raided by Federal Police, employees under custody— EthioTube (@EthioTube) June 30, 2020 Death of Oromo artist: Protests, internet outage, social media reactions Thousands of Ethiopian youth on Tuesday accompanied the body of a famed Oromo singer and songwriter to the city of Ambo in the Oromia regional state for funeral rites and burial. His body was retrieved from the St. Paulos Hospital. The death of artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was widely reported on Monday evening in local media. Addis Ababa police commission confirmed the incident and said arrests had been made. Commissioner Getu Argaw told the state broadcaster EBC, that 36-year-old Haacaaluu, was shot dead in Akaki Kality Sub City Wereda 4, Galan Condominium site. Accompanied by thousands of youth, the body of #HachaluHundessa departed to #Ambo from St. Poulos Hospital. #Ethiopia#Oromia— Haimanot Ashenafi (@Haimanotwua) June 30, 2020 Protests amid calls for calm The officer appealed for calm as did Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who posted an Amharic message on social media. Whiles expressing condolences to those affected by the loss the PM Abiy said it was necessary to remain measured and allow the police to fully investigate the incident. “We are at a time when, by understanding the depth of the incident, we pay attention to events happening in our country. Let’s express our grievances while taking care of ourselves and preventing additional crimes,” PM Abiy said. Songs of the deceased are said to have played a crucial role in promoting freedom and rights for his Oromo ethnic group. The popular Oromo uprising was crucial in the coming to office of Abiy in 2018. Despite the calls for calm, a number of security watchers and journalists are reporting protests in parts of the capital Addis Ababa. “Unrest in Addis far more serious, according to one source. Youths engage riot police in running battles in many districts. Internet shut down. Sustained gunfire reported on the Hill – where the National Palace, govt offices located,” Rashid Abdi, a regional researcher and analyst tweeted. #BREAKING Massive protests are currently going on in Addis Ababa & other parts of Ethiopia after a well-known singer was murdered last night in Addis Ababa. Hundessa's songs are in the Oromo language were played during the protests that led to the resignation of the former gov’t.— Mowliid Haji Abdi (@MowliidHaji) June 30, 2020 Internet outage reported Internet access has been cut nationwide, the Access Now group has confirmed. A number of activists have also confirmed the development. Ethiopia has in the past taken the same route of blocking the internet. One of the most recent being a year ago when the federal government reported having thwarted a coup d’etat in the northern Amhara region. The then army chief, Seare Mekonnen, who was working to restore order was also killed with another retired general in Addis Ababa. But PM Abiy is on record to have said, Ethiopia will cut the net as and when necessary: “For sake of national security, internet and social media could be blocked any time necessary. “As long as it is deemed necessary to save lives and prevent property damages, the internet would be closed permanently, let alone for a week,” he told lawmakers in August 2019. Confirmed. Complete internet shutdown and blackout in #Ethiopia. Literally zero traffic. #KeepItOn— Berhan Taye (@btayeg) June 30, 2020 Social media reactions “I express my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the entire country, expressing my deepest condolences on the death of the artist,” WHO DG Tedros Ghebreyesus tweeted on Tuesday morning. በአርቲስት ሃጫሉ ሁንዴሳ ግድያ የተሰማኝን ጥልቅ ሀዘን እየገለፅኩ ለቤተሰቦቹ ፣ ለወዳጅ ዘመዶቹ እንዲሁም ለመላው አገራችን መፅናናትን እመኛለሁ፡፡— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 30, 2020 “This was a brother you could believe. There was the sense that he was not in it for something. That was the extraordinary thing about him. He was in it because of his commitment to our liberation.” — James Turner. That's the #HaacaaluuHundeessaa I knew.— Mohammed Ademo (@OPride) June 30, 2020 May his family and loved ones find comfort, hope and inner strength in this time of great pain and difficulty. May justice, peace, freedom and sustainable life return to our country.— Obang Metho (@ObangMetho) June 30, 2020 Last night we didn't only lose #HaacaaluuHundeessaa, a husband, a father of 3, a son, & a brother; we lost the #Oromo nation's institution of conscience; a star, who, through his music, was the melodic company of the struggles, dreams & hopes we continued to live through. R.I.P✊?— Tsedale Lemma (@TsedaleLemma) June 30, 2020 My deepest condolences to the people of Ethiopia on the shocking murder of Hachalu Hundessa, one of the finest musicians of his generation. His music, protest lyrics united and galvanised the whole nation, let not his death sow division. Rest in Peace Legend !— Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiCG) June 30, 2020 Hachalu_Hundessa, a young, energetic superstar artist & brilliant songwriter whose songs of resistance gave wide currency to popular youth movement aka QEERROO, was shot dead tonight in Finfinnee/Addis Ababa, <a href="">#Ethiopia</a>. His death promptly triggered nationwide protest in Oromiya. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Leta T. Bayissa (Letabayissa) June 30, 2020Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) rejects Taiwan - Somaliland 'bilateral, diplomatic' overtures and Somaliland, Somalia’s northern autonomous region, have agreed to boost diplomatic relations between them. The main feature being the opening of Representative Offices in their respective capitals. “We’ve signed an agreement with Somaliland to establish good relations. A Taiwan Representative Office will be set up in this independent country on the Horn of Africa. We’re thousands of miles apart, but share a deep-seated love of freedom & democracy,” Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said. His comment posted on Twitter came as Somaliland confirmed that in February this year, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Yasin Hagi Mohamoud paid a four-day official visit to Taipei. “The main purpose of the visit was to sign Somaliland-Taiwan diplomatic agreement and to establish new political and economic relations,” the Ministry added. Wu disclosed that Taiwan’s contacts with Somaliland dated back to 2009. He defended the opening of representative offices saying that eight other nations or international bodies had such offices in Somaliland, including Ethiopia. “I think what we are doing is not much different from other countries,” Wu said. “In essence, Somaliland is an independent country.” A claim Somalia has routinely rejected even cut diplomatic ties over, when Guinea accorded visiting Somaliland president presidential courtesies. .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%; } Chinese embassy in Mogadishu reacts: Only one China in the world In a statement posted on its Twitter handle, the Chinese Embassy in Somalia stressed the indivisibility of China. In a series of posts that mentioned Taiwan but did not mention Somaliland. “We will never allow anyone, any organization or any political party to separate any piece of territory from China at any time or in any form. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. “There is general recognition of one China by countries around the world,a trend that has steadily grown. We resolutely oppose two Chinas, one China, one Taiwan, Taiwan independence, and the separatist forces advocating Taiwan independence and their separatist activities.” There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is a part of China and the government of PRC is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.#Somalia#COVID-19— Chinese Embassy in Somalia (@ChineseSomalia) July 1, 2020 Taipei – Hargeisa: dogged struggle for recognition Taiwan’s diplomatic reach extends to a little over a dozen countries globally because of pressure from China. Beijing considers the island to be its territory and has succeeded in getting all African countries except eSwatini to sever ties with Taiwan. Formerly a British protectorate, Somaliland merged with former Italian Somaliland in 1960 to create Somalia. But it declared itself independent in 1991 as Somalia plunged into chaos after the fall of the Siad Barre regime. Somaliland has been pushing for independence ever since. It has its own government based in the self-appointed capital of Hargeisa, its own army and prints its own currency. It is regarded by the international community as an autonomous region of Somalia and not a sovereign state. Presidential exchange on Twitter On Twitter, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen expressed great pleasure meeting with the Somaliland Foreign Minister earlier this year. She stressed that both sides were working to build bilateral ties refering to Somaliland as a country in the process. For his part, Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi quoted Ing-wen’s tweet thanking Taiwan for the warm welcome before adding: “Excellency, as you expressed, the bilateral relationship of Somaliland and Taiwan is built upon shared values & mutual respect. Our Representative Office will be opened soon in Taiwan.” Republic of Somaliland & its delegation are grateful for your warm welcome earlier in Taiwan. Excellency, as you expressed, the bilateral relationship of #Somaliland and #Taiwan is built upon shared values & mutual respect. Our Representative Office will be opened soon in Taiwan.— Muse Bihi Abdi (@musebiihi) July 1, 2020Thu, 02 Jul 2020 09:20:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Africa trains resume amid strict virus control protocols almost 100 days of closure, the South African passenger rail service is operating again as the country’s lockdown restrictions ease up. Passenger numbers are limited, masks are mandatory, and the trains are sanitised after each trip. South Africa is still heading towards its COVID-19 outbreak peak, and some passengers worry that more could be done to keep them safe. Passengers are encouraged to arrive at stations wearing facial masks and observe physical distancing. The country’s virus figures continue to shoot up – at a point accounting for a third of cases in Africa. Confirmed cases = 159,333 Active cases = 80,559 Recoveries = 76,025 Number of deaths = 2,749 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 2, 2020 at 7:30 GMTThu, 02 Jul 2020 09:10:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com and destruction as floods ravage southern China and floods battered southern China killing some 78 people since the start of June, according to the Chinese emergency management ministry. Another 12 million have been affected by property damage, road closures and other disruptions, including 720,000 people rescued or relocated from flood waters. The flood season has caused $3.6 billion in economic losses, the ministry said, a further blow to a domestic economy already suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Seasonal flooding hits much of China each year, and authorities have sought to mitigate the damage through the use of dams, particularly the massive Three Gorges structure on the Yangtze. China’s worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and almost 3 million homes were destroyed.Thu, 02 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com days in captivity: Where is Mali's Soumalia Cisse? [Morning Call]’s opposition leader Soumalia Cisse has now spent over 100 days in captivity. His whereabouts still unknown. We speak with the leader of the youth wing of his URD partyThu, 02 Jul 2020 08:57:53 (Jerry Bambi) vs. disgust: Gabonese react to pro-gay bill Central African nation of Gabon is divided over the Senate’s backing of a pro-gay law which leaves presidential assent as the final leg of what has become a controversial last few weeks in the country. For a large majority of the cultural and religious polity, they continue to express disgust over a law which they claim the country does not need in the first place decrying its future consequences. “We need life in Gabon and we know that homosexuality is a gateway to aids, it’s another pandemic, and in the midst of the pandemic, there were other emergencies to deal with than making a spectacle of ourselves in front of the whole of humanity. “However, future generations will recognise that their fathers said no to decriminalisation. We are in favour of a culture of life,” one such opponent stressed. Those in favour insist that it is a step in the direction of recognizing the rights of all people. “People’s honour and dignity must be respected, and this situation, this new position of the Gabonese parliamentarians, the representatives of the people, leads me to welcome this decision.” The Senate earlier this week voted to decriminalise homosexuality, backing an earlier vote by the lower house of parliament. It was followed by an outcry from traditionalists that held that it went against local social and religious norms. The new law adopted an amendment to criminal legislation to remove a paragraph prohibiting “sexual relations between persons of the same sex.” The criminalisation of homosexuality went almost unnoticed in this country of less than two million inhabitants when it was adopted last year. Homosexuality is widely criminalised in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than half of its countries banning homosexual relations – in a few places, with the threat of the death penalty.Thu, 02 Jul 2020 08:50:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com to Tanzania's October general elections [Morning Call] President John Magufuli, says he is going to seek re-election in his country’s October polls. His decision? to enable him to complete unfinished projects that he started during his first five-year term. The country’s October 2020 general elections he reiterated will be held as planned despite the COVID-19 outbreak. If re-elected in the October general elections, President Magufuli will serve his second and final five-year term until 2025 as provided for in the country’s constitution. The general elections will also be used to choose councilors and members of parliament. In June, Magufuli dissolved the parliament and pledged a “free and fair” vote in a country where the opposition has decried a climate of fear and violence. The country’s main opposition party Chademy in June reported that its chairman Freeman Mbowe had been hospitalised after being beaten in a “politically-motivated” attack. The assault came a day after Chadema MP Tundu Lissu announced his intention to run against Magufuli in the presidential election. So, the road to elections have kicked off and what are the issues at stake? With us is Fatma karume from Dares salamThu, 02 Jul 2020 08:49:29 (Jerry Bambi) top cleric says Tshisekedi - Kabila must politically divorce Catholic church in the Democratic Republic of Congo has waded into the political crisis that has gripped the country calling for a divorce between the two coalitions running the affairs of the state. On Tuesday (June 30) Archbishop of Kinshasa, Frindolin Ambongo has called for the dissolution of the political alliance between President Tshisekedi and his predecessor Kabila. The cleric cited mistrust among members of Kabila’s Common Front of Congo, FCC and the president’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress, UPDS. The archbishop called on Catholics to speak out on the issue. He noted the current political tension has been stoked by MPs of former president Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo which has a parliamentary majority. Monsignor Ambongo also accused the president of the Congolese national assembly of ‘contempt’ by renewing the mandate of the head of the country’s electoral commission. Another bone of contention between the allies is the justice reforms initiated by pro-Kabila MPs. .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 Jul 2020 08:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com's Dramane Minta and his Animation [Morning Call] use of Animation is taking a bigger shape in Africa and now is being used for more than just entertainment. In Senegal, Dramane Minta is using it to educate youth.Thu, 02 Jul 2020 08:26:37 (Jerry Bambi)'s opposition drops demand for president to resign in reform plan of Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Wednesday sought to end a political crisis by proposing reforms to neuter his authority and hand executive power to a prime minister, although they abandoned a demand for his resignation as a prerequisite for dialogue. Mali has been in political turmoil since a disputed legislative election in March. The lead-up to the poll was marred by allegations of vote buying and intimidation and the kidnapping of opposition leader Soumaila Cisse. Mass protests Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Bamako twice in June to demand the immediate resignation of Keita saying he had been unable to resolve Mali’s numerous crises, while corruption and economic hardship have flourished. Choguel Kokala Maiga, a leader of the M5-RFP opposition coalition, on Tuesday presented a nine-point proposal that included the appointment of a prime minister by the opposition. “He (the prime minister) could not be dismissed by the president,” Maiga said, adding that the prime minister should be able to appoint his government and other senior officials in the administration, justice, armed forces and security departments. Demands Among the group’s proposals are the dissolution of the national assembly, a transitional legislative body, the renewal of members of Mali’s highest court, and a government of national unity. Their proposal would effectively curtail Keita’s powers to that of a ceremonial head of state. Keita, 75, was re-elected in 2018 for a second five-year term. His government has offered concessions, including a unity government, while mediators from the regional body ECOWAS have proposed new legislative elections in disputed constituencies. These have been rejected by the opposition. Mali’s political instability are growing The West African nation has struggled to regain stability since a 2012 military coup, and an uprising by Tuaregs in the north that was hijacked by jihadist fighters. The United Nations, which has thousands of peacekeepers in the country, has called for calm and dialogue. At a Sahel security summit on Tuesday, France, EU and regional leaders called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. AgenciesThu, 02 Jul 2020 12:27:05 +0000editorial@africanews.com opens border to DR Congo refugees opened its borders to thousands of people fleeing violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday. Refugees from the DRC were stuck in a remote area since late May after border crossing was disallowed due to coronavirus restrictions. The Ugandan government agreed to temporarily open the two border crossing points in Zombo on humanitarian grounds. Hilary Obaloker Onek, Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees in Uganda, ceremoniously welcomed the refugees at the border. “Our country is small but we still allow them, out of sympathy,” Onek said. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said it was working with the Government of Uganda and partners to make sure humanitarian assistance, including food and shelter will be available. The agency said it was also working with border security forces and the Ministry of Health to ensure screening, testing and response measures for COVID-19. After initial screening, asylum seekers will be transported by UNHCR to an Institutional Quarantine Centre 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the border. Following the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days in line with health guidelines and protocols, they will be relocated to existing refugee settlements. In Uganda, refugees and asylum seekers are included in the national surveillance, preparedness, and response plans and activities. At the border, Congolese refugee Oronyboth Victor said he woke one morning to rebels destroying his community. “I decided to run away because our neighbours were killed. Our crops and animals were all destroyed,” he said. As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt, UNHCR said the needs of refugees and local communities that host them continue to grow and put increased pressure on already overstretched resources. The UNHCR said the pandemic came at the same time as a 30% food ration-cut for refugees and severe gaps in education, child protection and mental health support due to existing funding shortfalls. APThu, 02 Jul 2020 06:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com to boost testing, prez labels COVID-19 'worst enemy'’s new president has signaled that his government will take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously than his dead predecessor, calling the virus the country’s “worst enemy” and announcing new screenings. President Evariste Ndayishimiye on Tuesday said the screenings will be launched wherever clusters of cases are suspected, and that soap prices and water bills will be reduced. Predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza died last month of what Burundi’s government called a heart attack. His government had been criticized not taking the pandemic seriously. It kicked out the World Health Organization’s country director, allowed large campaign rallies ahead of the presidential election in May and expressed the belief that divine protection would largely suffice for protection. Some countries and human rights groups have expressed hope that the new president, an ally of Nkurunziza, might break with certain ways of his predecessor. Burundi has 170 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. APWed, 01 Jul 2020 15:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com want more than apology for Belgium's colonial impunity Philippe’s ‘regret’ for Belgium’s brutal colonial past received mixed reactions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In a letter the Monarch addressed to President Félix Tshisekedi on the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence, Philippe expressed unprecedented sorrow for the colonial acts that historians say led to the death of millions of Congolese. On the streets of the capital Kinshasa, views were mixed. Anacelt Tshikunku, a taxi driver is among those that think there is more to be done. “Let all those responsible for the instability in the DRC take the example of Belgium, a former colony that is asking us for forgiveness. They have asked forgiveness from the Congolese people, and all those who destabilise the Congolese people will one day ask forgiveness.” While some welcome the initiative, others are demanding concrete reparations. Activist Rainbow Lumumba is one such: “A letter, yes, it’s not bad, but whether it’s from Belgium, I can’t care less. Especially since she’s still responsible for all the crimes against humanity committed in the DRC.” Mukendi Alain is a Kinshasa resident: “If there was wrongdoing that happened in the colonial era, I think this is the time to right that wrong and make it right for the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Herve Diakiese, spokesman of a citizen’s movement called Congo Debout said the belated remorse can only be accepted after adequate reparations for the atrocities carried out in the Congo. Belgium is contemplating setting up a parliamentary commission to investigate its colonial rule, which also extended over Rwanda and Burundi.Wed, 01 Jul 2020 15:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com dictionary: A - Z of words that accompanied the coronavirus ongoing coronavirus pandemic that started in China in December last year has disrupted life across the world. Measures like travel restrictions, border closures and stay-at-home orders have been implemented to prevent the spread of the virus. The new normal that has included working from home and wearing face masks in public has also seen the public use words like social distancing and quarantine more frequently. In this article, using the A-Z alphabet format, we list words that have become part of our daily vocabulary as we learn to live with the virus. Asymptomatic: refers to someone who has the disease but does not show any symptoms. Other words here are antibodies and Artemisia, used to make the Madagascar’s self-proclaimed herbal covid treatment. Ban: Several countries used bans to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from what they deemed high-risk areas. These included travel bans and extended to bans on social gatherings and movement at certain hours. Contact-tracing: the process of identifying and testing people who have been exposed to a contagious disease like the coronavirus. This is done to prevent onward transmission. Other words here include curfew which was imposed in many countries as they declared states of emergency. Distancing: social or physical distancing is a key preventive measure that has been adopted in many countries. It simply refers to keeping a safe distance between oneself and other people. Avoiding crowded areas is also a component of this strategy. Other words here include drive-through testing and droplet transmission. Essential services: These referred to tasks that are needed to ensure an individual or community’s health, safety and survival for example getting food or medicine. During lockdowns imposed by several governments, the tag was also extended to functions required to facilitate government continuity and secure welfare of the people. Other terms here are epicenter, endemic and epidemic among others. Flatten the curve: This refers to slowing the rate of infection (reduce peak number of cases), so that the healthcare system is not overwhelmed i.e hospitals treat fewer people over time. Garlic: Garlic was one of many natural remedies that were touted as having ability to prevent, treat or cure the coronavirus. There is however no scientific proof to back these claims. A claim that 5G caused the coronavirus has also been repeatedly debunked. Herd immunity: refers to a scenario where enough people in a community have become immune to a disease, either through exposure or via a vaccine. A few countries like Sweden adopted this approach. Other words are hand hygiene, hydroxychloroquine and home (stay home). Incubation: this is the period between when a person gets infected with a disease and when they start showing symptoms. The Covid-19 incubation period of 2-14 days guided key decisions like lengths of quarantines. Other terms here include ICU beds, index cases, isolation, infodemic, and immunity. Job loss: measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 including lockdowns, states of emergency and curfew triggered mass lay-offs, salary cuts and business closures. Kits: as health experts highlighted testing as a key strategy in fighting the pandemic, testing kits became a very valuable and soon rare asset for healthcare systems around the world. Lockdown: general term used to describe restrictions on movement, work and travel on all people in a community. Many countries in Africa imposed some form of lockdown in the fight against coronavirus. Masks: Wearing face-masks in public has become a generally accepted measure of preventing the spread of Covid-19. Indeed, in countries like Uganda, it is now criminal not to wear a face-mask when one steps out of one’s house. .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%; } N95: a special respirator that filters out infectious viral pathogens, so the wearers cannot inhale them. High demand for these special surgical masks caused shortages for the people who needed them most, healthworkers. The Novel strain is another word we have come to learn. Outbreak: used when many people in a community suddenly become ill. The coronavirus pandemic started out as an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Pandemic: used when an illness is affecting a very large population, having spread from a community to several countries across the world. The coronavirus epidemic was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March this year. Personal protective equipment (PPE), patient zero and peak are some of the other words. Quarantine: a measure used to prevent onward transmission of an illness by separating and restricting movement of people that have been exposed to a contagious disease. Many countries put in place quarantine facilities to monitor entrants into their territories. Recovery: While the coronavirus has caused nearly half a million deaths globally, there are millions more who have survived the disease. For a person to be considered as having recovered from Covid-19, they should have gone through recommended treatment for symptoms and tested negative twice. .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%; } Sanitiser: Hand hygiene is a key strategy that’s been employed to slow the spread of Covid-19. The public has been advised to wash their hands with soap for about 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub or sanitiser. Transmission: this refers to spread of the disease from one person to another. The common modes of transmission that many people have come to use and understand are droplet and community transmission. Underlying conditions: refers to a medical problem that is chronic and requires long-term treatment. Such conditions may include heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. People with such conditions are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus and experiencing serious or critical illness since the chronic illnesses have already weakened their immune system. Ventilators: a machine that takes over the breathing process for struggling patients. It does by delivering air into the lungs through a tube that is placed into the mouth or nose and down into the windpipe. The lack of a treatment has also made the need for a vaccine critical, and to-date a number of trials are underway across the world. WHO: The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the focal organisation that is leading the world’s efforts to fight the coronavirus. The United Nations agency provides guidance and support to countries on how to manage 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%; } Xenophobia: fear of getting infected with the coronavirus triggered discrimination against people perceived to be carriers. As the epicenter of the virus moved from China to Italy, Europe and the United States, nationals of these countries were treated with negative attitudes that in extreme cases became xenophobic attacks across the world. YouTube: Digital platforms like YouTube, Zoom and TikTok emerged as go to places for information, videoconferencing and entertainment respectively, in the wake of stay-at-home orders imposed during lockdowns. Zoonotic: Zoonotic diseases can be traced back to animals i.e exist in animals but can also affect human beings. The virus that causes Covid-19 is believed to have originated in bats and spread through other species before humans contracted it. Compiled by: Daniel Mumbere Africanews, digital journalist @danmumbereWed, 01 Jul 2020 14:40:00 (Daniel Mumbere) 50 killed in Ethiopia protests, 35 arrested, PM talks tough 1: ‘Several’ killed in Ethiopia unrest after singer shot dead Ethiopia’s prime minister says “several people” have been killed in unrest that followed the killing of a popular singer this week. Some reports say over 50 people were killed. Three bombs exploded in the capital Tuesday, police said. It was not clear whether anyone was killed. Angry protests were reported Tuesday in the capital, Addis Ababa, after Hachalu Hundessa was shot dead on Monday. He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to a change in leadership in 2018, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office. The killing was a “tragedy,” Abiy said Tuesday, vowing that the perpetrators would be brought to justice and declaring that “our enemies will not succeed.” “Our enemies think they can easily disintegrate us; however we will use this incident to unify the country and to ensure our plans for peace and security of the country continue. The government will step up its works to realize the peace and stability and sovereignty of the country,” he added. Internet service has been cut again in Ethiopia, where tensions continue after the government delayed this year’s national election, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The singer Hachalu is set to be buried Thursday in his hometown in the Oromia region. A well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, was among 35 people arrested during the latest unrest. There was no immediate sign of protests in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and roads were empty. AP June 30: Ethiopia arrests Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed, OMN shut down The arrest of prominent Ethiopian pro-democracy activist Jawar Mohammed has been confirmed by multiple sources from the country. His media outfit, Oromia Media Network, OMN, has also been shut down by authorities. The arrest comes in the wake of mass protests against the shooting and killing on Monday night of a famed Oromo musician and activist in Addis Ababa. Hachalu Hundessa, was celebrated as a symbol for the Oromo people – Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group. His songs spoke out about their political and economic marginalisation and became a rallying point for activists in their fight against Ethiopian regimes. The musician had also been imprisoned for five years when he was 17 for taking part in protests, an analysis on the BBC Africa LIVE page added. Jawar was reportedly arrested along with Bekele Gerba, a veteran opposition activist. The duo were arrested at the Oromo Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, where they were attending the funeral of Hachalu. OMN reported on Tuesday morning via its Facebook page that their offices had been raided by federal security agents who ‘arrested’ employees. They also said the OMN offices in Addis Ababa was under control of the state. .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%; } Jawar vs. Abiy: Season II The latest incident is the second major face off between Jawar and state security agents. In October 2019, Jawar – now a member of the Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC; was shielded by supporters after he announced that the state wanted to arrest him. Jawar’s supporters demonstrated against Abiy after Jawar said police had surrounded his home and tried to withdraw his government security detail. Protests in the capital and other cities resulted in 16 deaths and dozens of wounded. “The majority of people believe the transition is off track and we are backsliding towards an authoritarian system,” Jawar said, sitting in his heavily guarded Addis Ababa home-office at the time. In December 2019, Jawar joined the Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC, led by veteran politician Merera Gudina. The OFC has joined a bloc of other opposition parties in the Oromia Regional State. The state is Ethiopia’s largest and most populous. It is also the home region of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy and Jawar fell out last year after the PM told parliament of media personalities who were fomenting unrest with their outlets, Jawar said the claims were an attack on him. Social media reactions BREAKING: Jawar Mohammed arrested, Oromo Media Network shut down – Oromo activists, VPN comms. Now that is pouring petrol on fire.— Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiCG) June 30, 2020 Wow! The arrest of Jawar_Mohammed will definitely ignite more anger among the Oromo people. It seems the Ethiopian government is unraveling & trying to control flow of information by shutting down opposition media networks & the internet. Could the military intervene? #Ethiopia— Adel El-Adawy (adeladawy) June 30, 2020 The Gov’t of #Ethiopia arrested Jawar_Mohammed the prominant activist and founder of OMN Tv. They also arrested #Bekele_Gabre the Oromo Federalist Coalition (OFC) leader. The gov’t also closed OMN Tv Studio in Addis Ababa. Internet was also shutdown. Undemocratic action!!!— Abdinasir Abdullahi (Abdinasir_Abdul) June 30, 2020 Police and state authorities should deescalate as much as possible to control this situation. Let people express their anger, heartbreak, mourn their icon, and grieve. Arrests and knee-jerk reactions are only going to lead to more protests and devastation. #HaacaaluuHundeessaa— Mohammed Ademo (@OPride) June 30, 2020 Obbo Berkele Gerba, a prominent Oromo politician, was arrested alongside Jawar Mohamed. This is a man who’s been through a lot at the hands of Ethiopian state apparatus for much of the last decade. Hidhaaf Ajjeechanis, asumatti nurraa dhaabatuu qabdi! #HaacaaluuHundeessaa— Fatuma Bedhaso (@FBedaso) June 30, 2020Wed, 01 Jul 2020 13:20:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) hub: over 15,500 virus cases in June, eased lockdown etc., Africa’s most populous country, became the third African country to record over 10,000 cases of COVID-19. The milestone was reached on May 31 when 307 new cases took its tally to 10,162. As Africa’s biggest economy, the federal government has continued to enforce regulations across the board even though most state governments have moved to relax restrictions. Lagos being the economic nerve center is rolling out a progressive reopening of the economy. It is the most impacted state with over 5,000 cases as of May 31. Only Cross River State had yet to record a case. The national response is led by the Presidential Task Force, PTF, led by SGF Boss Mustapha along with a national coordinator and relevant ministers – chief among them, Health, Foreign Affairs and Education ministries. At the heart of the response is the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC. This article is dedicated to covering events from the country throughout the month of June. Our May 2020 daily updates page also gives you a rundown of major activities. June 2020: Nigeria grows cases by over 15,000 In the month of June alone, Nigeria’s coronavirus cases grew by over 15,500 cases. The country also introduced an eased lockdown which entered phase II as of today, July 1. Nigeria as of today is Africa’s third most impacted behind only South Africa and Egypt. The federal and state governments are working to increase testing as authorities stress that cases definitely far exceed the current tally of 25,694. Figures as of June 30 vs. June 1 = difference Confirmed case: 25,694 – 10,162 = 15,532 Active cases: 15,358 – 6,868 = 8,490 Recoveries: 9,746 – 3,007 = 6,739 Number of deaths: 590 – 287 = 303 NCDC, John Hopkins Uni stats .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%; } June 30: 25,133 cases, Ondo governor infected Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, today confirmed that he had contracted COVID-19. According to a post on Twitter, he said he was asymptomatic and self isolating. He now joins Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who also confirmed being infected early this month. Governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyin Makinde of Oyo, have all recovered from the virus. Over at the presidency, president Muhammadu Buhari led a virtual flagoff of a major gas pipeline. The Ajaokuta – Kaduna – Kano, AAK; gas pipeline project is led by the state oil firm, NNPC. On the ground, Buhari was represented by the kogi State governor, Yahya Bello who cut the tape to mark the official flag-off of the construction phase of the project. Confirmed cases = 25,133 Active cases = 15,158 Recoveries = 9,402 Number of deaths = 573 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 29, 2020 Today I tested positive for #COVID19. All is well. I’m asymptomatic and have been self isolating. Work continues. Your continued prayers over my well being are most appreciated.— Arakunrin Akeredolu (@RotimiAkeredolu) June 30, 2020 June 29: 24,567 cases; Buhari receives Task Force President Muhammadu Buhari today received a briefing from the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19. The meeting comes as the second phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown ends. The second phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown was for an initial period of four weeks – spanning June 2nd – 29th. It has been extended for another month spanning June 30 to July 27. The chairman of the PTF said the taskforce remained: “committed to striking a delicate balance between lives and livelihood. Mr. President has carefully considered and approved that with the exception of some modifications, Phase 2 of the Eased Lockdown will be extended for another 4 weeks : 30 June – 27 July 2020.” In the second phase, government had relaxed restrictions on banking operations and worship places. For the next four weeks inter state travel outside curfew hours will be allowed. President Buhari has today approved the re-opening of schools only for students of graduating classes, to allow them prepare for examinations. That is, Primary 6, Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 3. The PTF stressed that all Daycare and Primary schools to remain closed until further evaluation, except for Common Entrance pupils. All Secondary and Tertiary Institutions remain closed. Arrangements to be made for exiting students resume as soon as possible for preparation for exams. Local air services are also expected to be restarted “as soon as practicable.” Following this presentation, PMB has approved the following: Phase 2 of Eased Lockdown will be extended for another 4 weeks (June 30–July 27) Permission of movement across State Borders outside of curfew hours, from July 1#Thread— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) June 29, 2020 The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha; also in attendance was Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; the PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu and the Director General of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu. Federal government had retained the nationwide curfew but the time was reduced from 10pm to 4am, to limit social interactions and, therefore, reduce the risk of the transmissions of the virus which is now on community transmission level. Confirmed cases = 24,567 Active cases = 14,995 Recoveries = 9,007 Number of deaths = 565 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 28, 2020 June 28: 24,077 cases, guidelines for local flight The 779 daily toll announced on Saturday is Nigeria’s record one-day infection and it took toll past 24,000 mark. As of Sunday afternoon, reports indicated that an Air Peace flight was repatriating hundreds of stranded Nigerians from the U.K. Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika on Saturday disclosed that passengers looking to use local flights will need to be at the airport three hours to take off due to safety guidelines as part of flight resumption. He said in the case of international flights, passengers may even have to be at the airport five hours to take off. He led the COVID-19 task force for a visit to the Abuja and Lagos airports to access the readiness for flight resumption. “We aill announce all the protocols again before opening. But you need to be at the airport three hours ahead of your flight. “The experience is quite nice but it takes a bit of time which is why you will need to be at the airport three hours before your local flight. For an international flight, we might do five hours,” he added. Total confirmed cases = 24,077 Total recoveries = 8,625 Total deaths = 558 Active cases = 14,894 Figures valid as of close of day June 27, 2020 BREAKING NEWS. Evacuation Update: Airpeace flight conveying another batch of 315 Nigerians departs Heathrow Airport, London today. The flight is expected to depart at about 10:30 am and is expected to arrive in Nigeria at about 5 pm local time today Sunday 28th, June 2020.— Major General Ezeaka Chidozie Ishola Buharideen (@Ezeakachidozie) June 28, 2020 June 27: 23,298 cases A breakdown of cases by state can be found via— NCDC (@NCDCgov) June 26, 2020 June 26: 22,614 cases; infections definitely higher National coordinator of Nigeria’s virus task force, Sani Aliyu, says the number of cases in Nigeria is far more than has so far been detected. He stressed the need for people to respect containment measures and do all it takes to stay safe and not contract the virus. Speaking at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja on THursday, he said: “Many countries in the world are fighting this pandemic. Over nine million people have tested positive, not suspicion, but tested positive for the disease and at least 22,000 of them are in Nigeria,” he said. “There are thousands more in our country. For everyone case, there are a handful of cases that we are missing because we are not able to test everybody. The containment measures that were put in place to protect the public, are there to protect the public, they’re not there to swindle them. “No sane country on earth will destroy its own economy willingly. No sane country on earth will take major decisions that they know would be detrimental to their economy. So we’re living in really challenging times and we couldn’t have taken these decisions just on the basis of maybe suspicion that a disease exists. “This disease does exist. Whether we like it or not, it exists. If we want to survive it, we have to start believing in it.” According to Aliyu, if people believed Ebola and Lassa fever without experiencing it first-hand, then there was no reason to doubt the existence of COVID-19 in the country. “We do not need to know someone personally who has died from COVID-19 to believe it is real. In fact, I think it is a disservice and it is insensitive to those families that have lost loved ones for people to continue to claim that COVID-19 does not exist,” he said. “Let us not wait for the virus to reach disastrous proportions before we begin to believe and act. We have already seen this happen in many other countries. We must learn from their experiences to mitigate preventable fatalities.” Confirmed cases = 22,614 Active cases = 14,243 Recoveries = 7,822 Number of deaths = 549 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 25, 2020 June 25: 22,020 cases, govt’s $6bn stimulus package A a virtual federal executive committee meeting today, government announced a $6bn stimulus package to support businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. A committee led by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo put forward the proposal. Nigeria as Africa’s most populous nation and having the biggest economy is looking to salvage millions of people who could slide into extreme poverty arising from the impact of the pandemic. Government has repeatedly stressed that it was going to do all it takes to save especially small businesses and as many jobs. President Buhari months back said the virus response was going to be centered on protecting lives and livelihoods. Nigeria is under pressure to stimulate growth and cut debt amid a slump in global oil prices. As one of the continent’s largest oil producers, funds from the commodity which has been impacted by the virus is vital for government spending. The vice-president said the plan was also to put money into the economy, and hopefully stop it from slipping into recession. Reports indicate the the funds are intended for businesses and households. Confirmed cases = 22,020 Active cases = 13,865 Recoveries = 7,613 Number of deaths = 542 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 24, 2020 June 24: 21,371 cases; Kaduna lawmakers ordered to test All lawmakers in the north central Kaduna state house of assembly have been ordered to undergo COVID-19 test. The order also covers all other staff after a positive case was recorded among the assembly staff last week. Speaker Yusuf Zailani, gave the directive which was confirmed by Ali Kalat, deputy chairman, house committee on health, on Tuesday. Kalat, further confirmed that some lawmakers have already tested and are free from the virus. He did not give details as to how many of them. “The speaker has given directives that the entire workforce of the assembly should be subjected to coronavirus tests and the exercise is still going on at the assembly,” he said. “Going forward, we have to surrender ourselves for testing so that we will be sure that the entire members of the assembly and its workforce are COVID-19 negative. “All staff have converged for the exercise and it is ongoing. After the exercise we will close and wait for further directives from the executive.” Confirmed cases = 21,371 Active cases = 13,500 Recoveries = 7,338 Number of deaths = 533 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 23, 2020 June 23: 20,919 cases; Lagos gets new testing machine The NCDC on Monday reported the unveiling of a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine to boost COVID-19 testing in the country. The machine is expected to help boost testing as the government looks to boost testing capacity to 3,000 per day. The facility is stationed at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL), a campus of the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Lagos. The machine was procured using part of the £661,000 UKAid funding the British government donated to the Nigeria branch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) this year. In his remarks at the unveiling, Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of NCDC, said the machine will help in achieving the centre’s goal to test over two million people over the next three months. The NCDC confirmed that total samples tesed as of June 22 stood at 117,569. Nigeria has been beneficiary of international assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO, EU, UK and US have all advanced assistance in terms of materials and funds. Confirmed cases = 20,919 Active cases = 13,285 Recoveries = 7,109 Number of deaths = 525 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 22, 2020 Yesterday, DG Chikwe_I joined colleagues from DFIDNigeria for a visit to Central Public Health Laboratory, Yaba, Lagos We are grateful for DFIDNigeria’s donation of PCR equipment to this lab, one of 38 in the #COVID19 Molecular Laboratory Network#TakeResponsibility— NCDC (NCDCgov) June 22, 2020 June 22: 20,919 cases; sub-500 new cases in five days Nigeria’s case load went past 20,000 mark at close of day June 21 when 436 new cases took the tally to 20,244 confirmed cases. Deaths have reached 518 with 6,879 recoveries. The active cases as of today were 12,847. The 436 new cases means for the first time in five days, the daily toll was not above 500. The breakdown of the above 500 tallies are as follows: June 20 = 661 new cases June 19 = 667 new cases June 18 = 745 new cases June 17 = 587 new cases Meanwhile the federal aviation authority has reported that the Lagos local airport was preparing for the resumption of local flights. Among other measures with distancing rules at its seating area a,d copious regulations at vantage areas. Even though local flights were expected to resume this week, authorities announced a postponement according to local media outlets. But for many other Nigerians, their concern is as to when air traffic will be opened for international travel. Currently, the only international airlines flying into the country are those evacuating citizens from across the world and those undertaking humanitarian work like that of most aid agencies. 17 Nigerian evacuees from #Senegal arrived Abuja with FlyAirSenegal on Sunday. #StayHomeSaveLives #COVID19 #PTFCOVID19 NigeriaGov DigiCommsNG FMICNigeria— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) June 22, 2020 June 21: cases near 20,000; doctors call off strike, flight resumption pushed Nigeria looks set to hit the 20,000 mark after cases reached 19,808 on Saturday. Recoveries are at 6,718 with 12,584 active cases and 506 deaths. Government has meanwhile released payments made in lieu of Special Hazard Allowance to over 55,000 health workers. The presidency said in a tweet today that N4,642,485,146.00 (4.642 billion Naira) has so far been paid in 35 Covid-19 designated hospitals and medical centres. Additional payments are currently being processed. Reports indicate that governors have reached an agreement with striking resident doctors to resume their duties. The upcoming reopening of airports and resumption of local flights has also been postponed. – 10% of Consolidated Basic Salary to Non-Health Professionals engaged in those centres - 20% of Consolidated Basic Salary as special allowance to all health workers directly managing Covid-19 patients in Treatment and Isolation Centres.— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) June 21, 2020 Confirmed cases = 19,808 Active cases = 12,584 Recoveries =6,718 Number of deaths = 509 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 20, 2020 June 20: 19,147 cases; July 3 for second US evacuation Nigeria’s case load passed the 19,000 mark as of close of day June 19 with over 660 new cases recorded across the country. Deaths reached 487 and recoveries reached 6,581 according to the NCDC. Foreign Affairs Minister today presented a communique detailing the second evacuation flight from the United States to Nigeria, which flight is scheduled for July 3. The June 17 statement by the Consulate of Nigeria in New York said the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET509 will depart Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Friday July 3 and is expected to arrive in Lagos the following day. Some of the guidelines include buying tickets directly from the airline operator, forwarding names to the consulate for processing, having a COVID-19 test result of not older than 14 days. Carrying hygiene supplies and undergoing a temperature check hours before boarding. All evacuees will also be expected to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine under the supervision of relevant authorities upon their return to Nigeria. Confirmed cases = 19,147 Active cases = 12,079 Recoveries =6,581 Number of deaths = 487 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 19, 2020 June 19: 18,480 cases, flurry of evacuee arrivals Nigeria hit the 18,000 mark as of close of day June 18 as deaths reached 475 and recoveries hit 6,307 according to the NCDC. Meanwhile there is what could be described as a flurry of evacuee arrivals in the capital Abuja and Lagos with a number of citizens arriving from across the world. The diaspora commission, NIDCOM, reported on Thursday that an Air France flight departed Paris to Lagos with 15 Nigerians on board from France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Estonia. They are said to have registered for the evacuation with the Nigerian Missions in these countries. NIDCOM today reported that 50 stranded Nigerians in Pakistan landed in Abuja, at about 01:45 via Tarco Air. Another 300 stranded Nigerians arrived at the Abuja Airport from Dubai. Confirmed cases = 18,480 Number of deaths = 475 Recoveries = 6,307 Active cases = 11,698 Stats valid as of close of day June 18, 2020 #COVIDー19: EVACUATION UPDATE 300 Stranded Nigerians in UAE landed in Abuja, Nigeria today, Friday 19th June 2020 via emirates.All Evacuees are to go on Compulsory 14 days SELF ISOLATION according to the new Protocol by the Presidential Task Force on #Covid_19 DigiCommsNG— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) June 19, 2020 June 18: tally nears 18,000; over 1,700 recoveries in a week Tallies show that 1,761 recoveries have been recorded in one week as COVID-19 toll nears 18,000. NCDC updates showed that 587 new cases had taken the tally to 17,735. Overall recoveries stood at 5,967 by close of day June 17 with 469 deaths. Kaduna State today received mobile testing centers, governor Nasir el-Rufai announced via social media. The state is 8th on the most impacted list with 490 cases so far. “The mobile testing vehicle uses GeneXpert machines for the Covid-19 test. KDSG has imported 9800 of these test kits, the first government in Nigeria to do so. The state is seeking to import 40,000 more to meet its target of 50,000 Covid-19 tests,” the governor added. KADUNA UPDATE: Malam Nasir elrufai has formally received the mobile testing vehicle sent by USAID to support the state’s Covid-19 testing efforts. KDSG is using the vehicle to expand its community testing efforts for the duration of its deployment to the state…— Governor Kaduna (GovKaduna) June 18, 2020 Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says six airlines have passed the airworthiness requirements in readiness for the resumption of commercial flight operations. NCAA’s director for airworthiness standards, made the disclosure during a webinar earlier this week. “Six of the airlines have crossed the mark from the point of view of airworthiness. “We have asked all the airlines that they should use only reagents that are approved by the original equipment manufacturers of their different aircraft types to disinfect their machines,” Ita Awak said. The tentative date for the resumption of domestic flights in the country is June 21, 2020. Operators are however worried about restrictions on the number of passengers that they will be allowed to carry in the light of physical distancing rules. Samson Fatokun, West Africa area manager of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), warned that airlines would not break even with the proposed 70 percent load factor. Airlines are expected to keep their middle seats empty. Allen Onyeama, CEO of Air Peace airline, summed up the headache for airlines who he says would likely have to transfer costs to other passengers. “If you want to now distribute the cost on the few people who are flying, about 50 percent or 70 percent who are flying, maybe an aircraft of about 140-seater, you are flying only 90 people, you have to distribute the other seats not being flown on the passengers “Can Nigerians afford N70,000 worth of ticket on less than one-hour flight?” he quizzed. Total confirmed cases = 17,735 Total recoveries = 5,967 Total deaths = 469 Active cases = 11,299 Figures valid as of close of day June 17, 2020 INFOGRAPHICS: #Coronavirus month-on-month situation report #COVID19 #StayHome #lockdown #TheCableIndex— TheCableIndex (@thecableindex) June 18, 2020 June 17: 17,148 cases; govt hails role of media The government has underlined the centrality of the media’s role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Information Minister Lai Mohammed, however, appealed for more support. He was speaking on Tuesday in a virtual meeting with the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN). ”The government is very grateful to the media. You have done a lot to bring our message (on the pandemic) to Nigerians,” he said. He cited a poll that said 99% of Nigerians are aware of the pandemic while 95% had received information on how to protect themselves. According to the minister, the sole preventive option available remained the Non Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI), so long as the search for a drug and vaccine continued. He urged citizens to practice physical distancing, wearing of face mask, and avoiding mass gathering whiles ensuring personal hygiene. “You see, the truth of the matter is that as long as there is no vaccine or drug for Covid-19, the only way we can all survive is through the Non Pharmaceutical Intervention, which is actually anchored on advocacy and public sensitization and there is no way you can do this without the media in whatever form, whether it is the print, electronic or the New Media. “Yes we are going to spend more on research and ventilators but we will spend less money on ventilators, less on isolation centres if we invest just a fraction of what we are spending on ventilators in the media,” the Minister added. Meanwhile cases reached 17,148 as of close of day June 16. Testing has increased to almost 100,000 samples, NCDC records say. A paltry sum compared to South Africa’s over 1.1 million tests till date. Confirmed cases = 17,148 Active cases = 11,070 Recoveries = 5,623 Deaths = 455 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of close of day June 16, 2020 June 16: 16,658 cases, 3-year govt response plan The government has developed a three-year Health Sector Response plan for the coronavirus pandemic, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire disclosed yesterday. The fine details of the plan are yet to be given. Speaking at the daily PTF briefing in Abuja, he stressed that the virus was likely to stay around for long while and thus it was imperative that citizens master the art of living with it. “We have developed a Health Sector Response Plan to cover the next 3 years divided into near, medium and long term.” He also reiterated federal efforts aimed at boosting capacity of states in responding adequately to the virus. “Efforts are ongoing to increase the number of labs with priority given to states that do not have PCR labs including Cross River and Kogi states.” Meanwhile the controversy relating to how musician Naira Marley managed to fly from Lagos to Abuja was unravelled yesterday when Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika disclosed that an operator, Executive Jets, has misled the authorities in the episode. Operations of the flight company have been suspended indefinitely, will also be fined. Flight Captain will also be sanctioned for providing false information. “Going forward we willl escalate the mechanisms we have in place, and we will be stricter in our approvals (and enforcement),” the Minister stressed. Aviation authorities had given approval for a judge to be allowed to move from Lagos to Abuja for official duties unbeknownst to them, ExecuJet had instead flown Naira Marley and his entourage to Abuja for a concert that was not authorized. It subsequently degenerated leading to outrage on social media after social distancing regulations were breached. The FCT authorities have since shut down the venue. Total confirmed cases = 16,658 Total recoveries = 5,349 Total deaths = 424 Active cases = 10,885 Figures valid as of close of day June 15, 2020 June 15: 16,085 cases, resident docs strike, Abuja concert controversy True to a threat made weeks back, resident doctors in the country are going ahead with a strike action starting today over poor pay and a lack of personal protective equipment for health workers. The Association of Resident Doctors’ president confirmed to the BBC that they will stop providing all services including emergency care and coronavirus treatment. Aliyu Sokomba, their leaders said the government had failed to respond to their demands, including higher risk allowance in line with their frontline role in managing the pandemic. The strike will impact health care delivery given that one in every three doctors operating in Africa’s most populous nation is a resident doctor. Case load passed the 15,000 mark as Nigeria consolidated third most impacted spot in Africa behind South Africa and Egypt. Over the weekend, a lockdown concert by artiste Naira Marley stoked debate on social media after what was supposed to have patrons enjoy the show from their cars degenerated. The FCT authorities have closed the venue of the event but more questions are being asked about how the musician and his entourage managed to fly from Lagos into Abuja for the show at a time there was still a ban on local flights. Total confirmed cases = 16,085 Total recoveries = 5,220 Total deaths = 420 Active cases = 10,445 Figures valid as of close of day June 14, 2020 June 13: 15,181 cases; more evacuations underway Evacuation of citizens continues aith the Foreign Affairs Minister reporting that 102 Nigerians arrived from Egypt on Friday via Egypt Air whereas 260 others were expected to arrive from India Saturday morning aboard Air Peace. Meanwhile, government has since June 8 via the office of the secretary general to the government of the federation has published a series of before, during and after guidelines for persons being evacuated. Evacuees are also expected to fill a form of consent for self-isolation and quarantine purposes. Evacuation is also for the time being to only Lagos and Abuja for now, according to government. Confirmed cases = 15,181 Number of deaths = 399 Recoveries = 4,891 Active cases = 9,891 Stats valid as of close of day June 12, 2020 VIDEO: EVACUATION UPDATE: 269 Stranded Nigerians in India landed in Nigeria (103 in Lagos, 166 in Abuja) today, Saturday 13th June 2020., about 2am, after a few hours of delay. All Evacuees now on Compulsory 14 days SELF ISOLATION according to the new Protocol…#Thread— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) June 13, 2020 June 12: 14,554 cases, rape SoE, Buhari bemoans virus impact Nigeria recorded a daily record toll of 681 cases as the case load reached 14,554 with 387 deaths and 4,494 recoveries. The previous record of 663 cases in a day was recorded close of day Tuesday, June 9. President Buhari in a national broadcast to mark the Democracy Day celebrations touched on a myriad of issues but stressed the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of the country. The president mentioned COVID-19 about 15 times throughout the address with some of the quotes being: “We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. “The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” “Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19 on February 27th 2020 and within the first 100 days, I have had cause to address the nation on three occasions within one month, which underscores the gravity of this pandemic.” “The overall objective of the PTF COVID-19 is to ensure that the pandemic does not overwhelm our health systems, while ensuring that we maintain an effective Case Management System to help in containing the spread of the virus.” “I am confident that the steps being taken by the PTF would result in flattening the COVID-19 curve. I, therefore, implore all Nigerians to abide by the approved guidelines and protocols. There is hope for us all if we take individual and collective responsibility. “Government is determined to turn this COVID-19 challenge into a motivation to action by building a nation-wide public health care system that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any future outbreak.” Confirmed cases = 14,554 Number of deaths = 387 Recoveries = 4,494 Active cases = 9,673 Stats valid as of close of day June 11, 2020 .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%; } June 11: 13,873 cases, Ekiti to enforce restrictions The Ekiti State government on Wednesday warned that it was going to enforce virus restrictions issued by Governor Kayode Fayemi given that some residents continued to disregard the order especially on banning public gatherings. “Members of the public are urged to take note that though movement and business activities are allowed from Monday to Friday, the ban on large gatherings is still in force in the State. “Dusk to dawn curfew, inter-state travel, and the ban on social events like birthday parties, religious gatherings, festivals, political party meetings or rallies, as well as other forms of gathering of more than 20 persons, have not been lifted in Ekiti State,” the statement read in part. Over in virus-free Cross River State, the government has begun the production of personal protective equipment which will be distributed to health facilities and schools in the state. Governor Ben Ayade on Tuesday, unveiled the PPE made at the state-owned garment factory. He disclosed that the equipment included face masks, face shields and PPE overalls, some of which are to be deployed free of charge as the state commences trial resumption of public schools. According to him, the initiative is part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “I think that the federal government will be excited to encourage the resumption of schools because obviously the coronavirus has come to stay with us and the reality is that countries that have attempted to resume schools have had to contend with the increasing prevalence of the virus but obviously how long can we wait as a country?” he asked. “So perhaps, we have to adopt a new lifestyle that will integrate coronavirus as part of our lifestyle,” he added. Confirmed cases = 13,873 Number of deaths = 382 Recoveries = 4,351 Active cases = 9,140 Stats valid as of close of day June 10, 2020 June 10: Record 663 cases as cases pass 13,000 Nigeria recorded its highest daily tally on Tuesday with 663 new cases as the case load hit 13,464 according to the NCDC. In other developments, Kaduna State became one of the last states across the north to lift its strict lockdown which lasted 75 days. Governor Nasir el-Rufai announced the lifting of the measure on Tuesday evening. Evacuations of Nigerians is set to restart, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama announced on Monday. He disclosed that support from the Dangote Foundation had made it possible to restart after the move was suspended over logistical constraints. Addressing the cost of evacuations at the Task Force briefing in Abuja, national coordinator Sani Aliyu said: “At the moment as far as I know, only N169 million or so was spent by the ministry of foreign affairs on evacuation of Nigerians mainly on air accommodation. “We have got about N22 billion that was released to the PTF and just to make it clear, the PTF is not a procuring body. At the moment, that is like 0.002% and the reason why we haven’t spent so much is because of the need for prudence in the first place. “A lot of MDAs are yet to do their procurement and a lot of MDAs are still using their 2020 budgets for their activities and as far as I am concerned, there is no problem here. We are in a pandemic situation so we are making sure that the resources we have are being used appropriately,” he said. Members of one of Nigeria’s main medical unions say they will go on strike from Monday following frustration over pay and a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). “Inhumane and hopeless” is how the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has described the situation for some medics in a strongly worded statement. They are calling on their members to stop providing all medical services including emergency care and coronavirus treatment. A nationwide strike will affect isolation centres where coronavirus patients are being treated as well as hospitals and other medical facilities. Resident doctors make up one of the largest percentage of healthcare workers in state-run specialist hospitals. Doctor strike information by BBC Africa LIVE page Confirmed cases = 13,464 Number of deaths = 365 Recoveries = 4,206 Active cases = 8,893 June 9: 12,801 cases, Kano mystery deaths virus-related Most unexplained deaths across Nigeria’s northern Kano State months back were virus-related, health minister Osagie Ehanire has said. According to him up to 60% of nearly 1,000 unexplained deaths were probably due to COVID-19. Local media outlets quoted the Minister as saying 979 deaths were recorded overall in Kano. The team dispatched by the presidential task force on COVID-19 reached the conclusion after looking into a spike in deaths. The deaths claimed mostly elderly people with pre-existing health conditions. A number of the victims died in hospitals whiles a sizeable number died at home. Jigawa and Bauchi States also recorded similar spikes. “With regard to the unexplained death that occured in Kano, the team confirmed that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in eight municipal local areas of the state at the rate of 43 deaths per day. “By the end of April the number has started to reduce and have now settled to 11 deaths per day. The verbal autopsy revealed that 56 percent of the deaths had occurred at home while 38 were in the hospital. “The investigation suggests that 50-60 (percent) may have been triggered by COVID-19 in the face of pre existing illness, a significant part was also triggered by inability to access routine care at the time due to the scare of COVID-19. Most of the fatalities were over 65 years old,” he said. Confirmed cases = 12,801 Number of deaths = 361 Recoveries = 4,040 Active cases = 8,400 Stats valid as of June 8, 2020 June 8: Abia governor tests positive, churches reopen Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, is the latest leader of state government to be infected. Abia commissioner of information confirmed this morning that the governor had tested positive for COVID-19. John Okiyi Kalu, added that the governor had gone into isolation and subsequently directed his deputy to act as governor whiles he undergoes treatment and resumes duty. He joins a list that included Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyin Makinde of Oyo all of who have recovered from the virus. The commissioner’s statement read in part: ”Recall that on Saturday, 30th May, 2020, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu volunteered his sample for COVID-19 test and subsequently directed members of the state Executive Council (EXCO) and those of the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 to submit themselves for the same test. “On Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020. Tthe result of Governor Ikpeazu’s test returned negative. On Thursday, 4th June, 2020, the Governor submitted another sample at NCDC laboratory for confirmation and the result returned positive. ”As a result, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has gone into isolation, as required by relevant NCDC protocols, and he is being managed by a competent team of medical practitioners with a view to nursing him back to good health. ”Consequent on the above, the Governor has directed his Deputy, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu, to act on his behalf pending his full resumption of duties. ”We wish to urge all Abians to take the fight against COVID-19 serious as the disease is real but not a death sentence. Our state has the resources to manage patients back to good health.” Places of worship, especially churches have resumed operations across the country. In Abuja, happy congregants expressed joy at being able to worship communally despite restrictions. Not all churches opened, as a number of them chose to remain closed for the time being. Total confirmed cases = 12,486 Total recoveries = 3,959 Total deaths = 354 Active cases = 8,173 Figures valid as of close of day June 7, 2020 VIDEO: Abia only state in the Bible… #coronavirus will pass us by, says GovernorIkpeazuVideo credit: Onyebuchi Ememanka#coronavirus #COVID19— TheCable (thecableng) March 22, 2020 June 7: 12,233 cases, death toll at 342 Nigeria continues to strengthen for capacity in response to COVID-19, 100 days since the index case was recorded in Lagos, this is according to head of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu. In a series of tweets on Saturday, he praised the leadership of the president Muhammadu Buhari and the coordination of the Presidential Task Force team, the Federal Ministry of Health and governors for their respective roles. “In the last 100 days, our resilience has helped us pull through. I am especially grateful to members of the NCDC Team, health workers, drivers, cleaners, our partners and every person involved in the #COVID19Nigeria response. “ We will build on these lessons for improved response,” he added. The country’s case load continues to rise within the average 300 new cases per day range and had reached 12,233 mark. Total confirmed cases = 12,233 Total recoveries = 3,826 Total deaths = 342 Active cases = 8,065 Figures valid as of close of day June 6, 2020 It is 100 days since the index case of #COVID19 was recorded in #Nigeria. We have continued to strengthen our response capacity Grateful for the leadership from MBuhari & coordination through PTFCOVID19 Fmohnigeria. Also grateful for the work done by various State Governors— Chikwe Ihekweazu (Chikwe_I) June 6, 2020 June 3: 10,819; health workers infected The Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC, confirmed on Tuesday that over 800 health workers had contracted COVID-19. Out of the 812 infected, 29 were NCDC staff. Chief Executive Chikwe Ihekweazu said the center had provided staff with Personal Protective Equipment, PPE. Contrary to claims that such workers were largely exposed in the line of work. Government has also announced that private hospitals will now be allowed to treat COVID-19 patients. This is a reversal of an earlier order that banned such actions. Hospitals will be expected to register with respective state governments and to train their staff appropriately for the purpose. Confirmed cases = 10,819 Number of deaths = 314 Recoveries = 3,240 Active cases = 7,265 Stats valid as of June 2, 2020 June 2: 10,578, restrictions eased Nigeria has a total of 774 local government areas (LGAs). 20 of of those 774 LGAs account for 60% of all Covid-19 cases in the country, the PTF declared as it announced wide raging lifting of virus restrictions. All schools remain closed whiles places of worship can resume operations whiles observing necessary protocols. Religious houses opening limited to once a week (regular services only), few hours hours max; but schools are several hours .No tentative dates on opening of international flights for now. But Aviation Minister says evaluation ongoing, will also involve some guidance from ICAO. There would be full opening for the financial sector with banks now allowed to operate with more working hours five days a week. The mass gathering of more than 20 people outside of a work place or places of worship remain prohibited. There would be controlled access to markets and locations of places of economic activities but local authorities will continue to provide guidance on opening times. Restrictive opening of places of worship will be based on state governments protocols and strict guidelines on physical distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions and just to clarify this would apply to the regular church and mosque services only. Mandatory supervised isolation of person of persons arriving the country will continue to be for 14 days until a new policy comes into play. There would be no further evacuation of Nigerians until a new policy currently developed with the private sector comes into place. Ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace; Confirmed cases = 10,578 Number of deaths = 299 Recoveries = 3,122 Active cases = 7,157 Stats valid as of June 1, 2020 June 1: Cases top 10,000; Task Force meets Buhari COVID-19 cases in Nigeria reached the 10,000 mark on May 31 with 307 new cases pushing Nigeria past the line only crossed till date by South Africa and Egypt. With 10,162 cases, Nigeria is only behind leader South Africa (32,683 cases) and Egypt (24,985 cases). The Presidential Task Force, PTF, yesterday held their weekly briefing with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidency. SGF and leader of the PTF, Boss Mustapha said they presented a report to Buhari in which they made recommendations on reopening places of worship, schools and businesses across the country. “But you know that Mr President is the only one that can take decisions in respect of that. In the framework, the states are sub-nationals; they have their own responsibilities too. So, it is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they met with religious bodies and agreed on the protocols and guidelines on how to open up. But in the framework of the national response, we are taking that into consideration,” he said. The SGF stressed a long held position by the PTF that the states governments will take responsibility for the next phase of the lockdown relaxation. Confirmed cases = 10,162 Number of deaths = 287 Recoveries = 3,007 Active cases = 6,868 Stats valid as of May 31, 2020 – Nigeria COVIDWed, 01 Jul 2020 13:00:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)'s coronavirus cases pass 400,000 with over 10,000 deaths 1: Cases pass 400,000, deaths pass 10,000 The continental case load crossed the 400,000 mark as of July 1 according to John Hopkins University tallies. The death toll also surpassed 10,000. There are over 201,800 active cases against 193,000 recoveries across Africa. South Africa remains the most impacted with over 150,000 cases from over 1.6 million tests. The top five countries are South Africa (151,209), Egypt (68,311), Nigeria (25,), Ghana (17,741) and Algeria (13,907). These statistics are valid as of July 1, 2020 at 11:01 GMT. Confirmed cases = 405,171 Active cases = 201,864 Recoveries = 193,149 Number of deaths = 10,158 Africa’s figures continue to be very low compared to other continents. Europe and America alone accounted for over 50% of cases when the WHO recently confirmed that global figures had gone past 10,000,000. Over in South America, Brazil remains one of the worst impacted along with Iran in the Middle East. Russia and India also have very high case loads. .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%; } June 22: Cases pass 300,000 mark Africa’s case load passed the 300,000 mark late Sunday according to statistics by the John Hopkins University tracker. As of 07:30 GMT of June 22, the figure had reached 306,000 with 8,116 deaths. The active cases were at 151,937 with recoveries at 146,337. The continent’s most impacted remains South Africa whose tallies are almost a third of confirmed cases – current case load stands at 97,302. Egypt (North Africa) and Nigeria (West Africa) complete the top three slots with 55,233 and 20,244 respectively. The most impacted in East / Horn of Africa region is Sudan (8,580), whiles Cameroon is Central Africa’s most hit (11,892). Africa breached the 200,000 mark on June 10 according to the AU’s Africa Centers for Disease Control, which at the time reported that there were 203,899 cases along with 5,530 deaths and 91,398 recoveries. Concerns continue to be raised across the continent relative to testing strength of countries especially at a time when the virus is said to have reached the stage of community transmission in most places. Despite that, governments are easing lockdowns and reopening economies as populations are urged to embrace the new normal and play a more active role in helping to combat 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%; } May 22: Cases pass 100,000 mark Confirmed cases of coronavirus across Africa passed the 100,000 mark barely 24-hours after the deaths hit 3,000. This is according to tallies from the John Hopkins University tracker. The figures as of May 22 14:30 GMT stood at 100,399 with 39,481 recoveries and 3,098 deaths. The number of active cases stood at 57,82. The five most impacted nations were as follows: South Africa: 19,137 confirmed cases Egypt: 15,003 Algeria: 7,728 Morocco: 7,300 Nigeria: 7,016 South Africa is the most impact across the continent and in the southern African region. Egypt tops across North Africa and Nigeria in West Africa. Cameroon is the leader in Central Africa with 4,288 cases whiles Sudan tops in the East / Horn of Africa region with 3,138 cases. .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%; } April 18: Cases across Africa pass 20,000 mark Confirmed cases of coronavirus passed the 20,000 mark barely 24-hours after the deaths topped 1,000. This is according to tallies from the John Hopkins University tracker. The figures as of 13:30 GMT stood at 20,075 with 4,600+ recoveries and 1,026 deaths leaving a little over 13,350 active cases. Egypt remained the continent’s most impacted whiles the North African region generally contributed for some of the highest numbers. Egypt with 2,844 cases, Morocco with 2,600+ cases and Algeria with 2,418 confirmed cases. South of the Sahara, South Africa’s 2,700+ cases was the highest with Cameroon in a distant second with 1,017, Ivory Coast’s 732, Djibouti’s 732 and Ghana’s 641 completed the top five slots. Meanwhile the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, has warned that cases could spike across the continent as more testing is rolled out in the coming weeks. Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus this year even under the best-case scenario, according to a new report released Friday that cites modeling from Imperial College London. Under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections, the report by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa said. Even with “intense social distancing.” under the best-case scenario the continent could see more than 122 million infections, the report said. Any of the scenarios would overwhelm Africa’s largely fragile and underfunded health systems, experts have warned. Under the best-case scenario, $44 billion would be needed for testing, personal protective equipment and treatment, the report said, citing UNECA estimates. The worst-case scenario would cost $446 billion. Additional files on UNECA report from AP April 17: Africa’s coronavirus deaths pass 1,000 mark as cases approach 20,000 Africa’s coronavirus deaths have surpassed the 1,000 mark according to tallies by the john Hopkins University. As at 18:30 GMT of April 17, 2020; Africa had recorded 1,002 deaths. Since the virus arrived on the continent on February 14 in Egypt till date, the number of confirmed cases stood at 19,417 whiles recovered cases were 4,546. The country with the highest number of fatalities being Algeria with 364 victims. Egypt despite being the continent’s most impacted in terms of infections have recorded 205 deaths as against Morocco’s 135. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Niger occupied the top 5 death slots with 48, 33, 23, 22 and 15 respectively. Two African countries remain uninfected till date, they are Comoros and Lesotho. The United Nations has sounded a warning that Africa could be the next epicenter of the virus. Meanwhile through the Africa Centers for Disease Control, the continent is seeking to roll out a million test kits to make up for shortfall in testing rates across the continent.Wed, 01 Jul 2020 11:20:42 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) sue Belgium for colonial-era 'abduction' from Congo biracial women born in Congo who were taken away from their Black mothers during Belgian rule have filed a lawsuit for crimes against humanity targeting the Belgian state. With their claim, they hope Belgium will finally recognize its responsibility in the suffering endured by the thousands of biracial children, known as “métis,″ who were snatched away from families and placed in religious institutions and homes. Lea Taveres Mujing is among them: “There is no consideration, there is nothing, nothing. We were dumped like that. After they broke our entire life. We had no adolescence or childhood, there is nothing. “What do we have to give to our children? The children don’t even know where to turn to in case of trouble. We don’t know, we are exhausted.” According to the legal documents, in all five cases the fathers did not exercise parental authority and the Belgian administration threatened the children’s Congolese families with reprisals if they refused to let them go. Chritophe Marchand, a lawyer for the women said: “Here, what at stake is a systematic policy from the Belgian colonial state, a racist policy that aimed at kidnapping children, putting them in very harsh conditions and then abandoning them, this is really what we can say it’s a so heavy crime, that is a crime against humanity.” Meanwhile, for the first time in Belgium’s history, a reigning king expressed regret Tuesday for the violence carried out by the former colonial power when it ruled over what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In a letter to the president of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, published on the 60th anniversary of the African country’s independence, Belgium’s King Philippe conveyed his “deepest regrets” for the “acts of violence and cruelty” and the “suffering and humiliation” inflicted on Belgian Congo.Wed, 01 Jul 2020 11:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Tanzania schools reopen amid strict virus protocols in Tanzania reopened after three months of closure due to the coronavirus. All other levels of schools are now open again, following the earlier reopening of universities and certain high schools at the beginning of June. The government on the other hand has issued stringent measures to be followed even as schools are reopening to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus among students. “As teachers, we are making sure we are following all the guidelines set by our ministry of health in ensuring that we are protecting our students – and ourselves as teachers – against COVID-19. “For example, we are making sure are all wearing masks and also that we have enough clean water tanks with sanitisers in the school compound. “We are also making sure that both teachers and students are respecting one metre social distancing in class, so as to avoid any spread in case someone has the coronavirus,” a teacher said. According to Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassie Majolica there were 66 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in 10 regions across the country three weeks 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%; }Wed, 01 Jul 2020 10:35:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com looms large over DRC - Belgium relations, 60 years on DRC on Tuesday (July 30) commemorated its 60th independence anniversary. From Kinshasa its capital to Brussels, the figure of Patrice Lumumba dominates the tumultuous history of the central African nation and its relations with the former colonial power. “Lumumba is a symbol of hope for us Congolese youth. He represents so much. He was a patriot who gave up his life for the development of the nation. He’s an example of patriotism for all of our generation, to devote our lives to the nation after we finish our studies,” a Congolese student said. Lumumba, a leading member of the independence movement, entered the history books on June 30, 1960, the day that the Republic of Congo, as it then was, formally broke away from Belgian colonial rule. In the presence of Belgium’s King Baudouin, Lumumba accused him of racist maltreatment and forcing “humiliating slavery” on the Congolese people. “To be Lumumbist is to wage the battle for the Congo to be free to choose its economic partners. It’s not always the case.” His fame spread beyond the DRC. Russia created a Lumumba University during the Cold War. Two years ago Belgium named a square in Brussels after him – pressured by Belgians who feel the country needs to face its colonial history. “Belgium’s responsibility is not mentioned, but it makes sense because the Lumumba family filed a criminal complaint against twelve Belgians. And it has been under investigation for eight years now. That’s a long time, we hope it will come to a conclusion… but the work has started at least.” Amid worldwide demonstrations led by the Black Lives Matter movement, various Belgian cities have removed monuments of King Leopold II. He ran the Belgian colony as a personal property, and stands accused of the death of ten million Congolese in abuses. Ironically no official independence day celebrations have been planned in the DRC because of the coronavirus 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%; }Wed, 01 Jul 2020 10:10:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com dam dispute: Egypt seeks UN Security Council intervention dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over Addis Ababa’s construction of a gigantic dam on the Blue Nile has reached a new level. The issue is now on the table at the U.N. Security Council at the request of Egypt, supported by the United States. On Monday, Egypt’s foreign minister urged the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution giving international clout to efforts to resolve the dispute over the hydroelectric dam. According to Sameh Shoukry, the construction of the dam endangers the lives of 150 million Egyptians and Sudanese. Shoukry said the draft resolution is in line with the outcome of an African Union summit on Friday where the leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to return to talks aimed at reaching an agreement. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, has been a source of tension in the Nile basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it nearly a decade ago. Ethiopia says the project is essential for its development. Addis Ababa has been vocal about its plans to start filling the reservoir in July. In the meantime, the main protagonists are holding their ground. Cairo sees the renaissance dam as a threat to international security, while Sudan fears its negative impact on its population. The Nile is a lifeline, supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it passes through. .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 Jul 2020 09:50:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Congo @ 60: President vows to fight corruption, impunity President Felix Tshisekedi vowed to root out the corruption and impunity that has hindered the country since its independence from Belgium as the nation marked its 60th anniversary amid a global reckoning over racial inequality. While the milestone was commemorated in Belgium with gestures of atonement, Congolese reflected on the struggles that have engulfed the nation in the decades since independence and how to move forward. Among the statues being removed around the world as countries confront legacies of slavery and colonialism was one being taken down Tuesday in Belgium of King Leopold II, Congo’s brutal colonial ruler. A letter sent to Congo’s current president stopped short of an official apology, but Belgium’s King Philippe conveyed his “deepest regrets” for the “acts of violence and cruelty” and the “suffering and humiliation” inflicted during the colonial era. The vast, mineral-rich country in Central Africa suffered decades of oppression after it was annexed by Belgium in 1908. After independence in 1960, Congo soon fell under the repressive rule of Mobutu Sese Seko who ruled for 32 years. The first leader after Mobutu’s death was assassinated, and his son Joseph Kabila then took over and headed the country for 18 years. Tshisekedi, whose father led Congo’s largest opposition party until his death, took office last year but only after long-delayed elections were finally held. In a televised speech late Monday, Tshisekedi pledged to root out impunity so that the country could move forward. “From independence to the present day, the main effect of our political policy has been to dilute efficiency, to dilute responsibility and ultimately to do disservice,” the president said. Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday’s milestone took place without the fanfare and public commemorations that marked the 50th anniversary a decade earlier in Kinshasa. Congolese, though, still used the occasion to reflect on the challenges facing the country. “Sixty years after independence, can we Congolese be proud of our country? I don’t think so,” political researcher Paulin Mbenza told The Associated Press. “Congo can rise from its ashes … but this depends on the will of the politicians because they are more concerned with the personal interest than the general interest,” he said. That criticism was echoed by Tapie Lutunu, a political analyst in Kinshasa. “Education, employment, health, infrastructure — nothing works because of the poor management and mediocrity of the Congolese political class,” Lutunu said. “We need a new class of elites motivated by love of their country.” APWed, 01 Jul 2020 08:25:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com lifts coronavirus restrictions; land, sea borders still closed is easing some restrictions that had been imposed to aid curb the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic. In a televised address, president Macky Sall said the country’s state of emergency and curfew which were imposed on March 23 will be lifted as of Tuesday 11pm local time. The president further added that as of July 15, air borders will be reopened to the world and international flights will resume. Nevertheless, land and sea borders will remain closed. These restrictions are being eased to avert an economic fallout. President Sall said of the country’s death stats: “The case fatality rate in Senegal is 1.5%, compared to an African average of 2.5% and a global average of 5.2%. Senegal has a recovery rate of 64.8%, compared to an African average of 48% and a global average of 50%.” The West African nation has 6,793 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of June 30 with 108 deaths, 4,431 recoveries. Meanwhile, the Senegalese government continues to take other precautions to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Face masks remain mandatory in public. .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 Jul 2020 08:15:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com ex-First Lady gets bail in murder trial’s former first lady, who was charged with the murder of her husband’s estranged wife, was granted bail on Monday after spending three weeks in prison. Maesaiah Thabane, was charged in February after police quizzed her over the 2017 slaying of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s wife, two days before his inauguration. She was controversially freed on bail of $57, but that decision was revoked and she returned to jail on June 3. On Monday, High Court judge Thamsanqa approved bail. Justice Thamsanqa Nomngconco said in his ruling: “The petitioner has asked me to release her on bail on certain conditions and nothing has been said against those conditions. I accordingly grant her bail on those conditions.” Maesaiah Thabane has been charged with orchestrating the shooting of Lipolelo Thabane, who was brutally gunned down outside her home in Maseru. Police have also charged her for the attempted murder of Lipolelo Thabane’s friend Thato Sibolla, who was wounded during the attack. Lipolelo and Thomas Thabane, had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings when the 58-year-old was killed.Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:05:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com