Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Sat, 28 Mar 2020 09:47:00 +0000Tackling COVID-19... Interview with Dr. Raphaël Tata-Taty, infectious disease specialist can the coronavirus pandemic in Africa be contained? Can heat or drinking boiled garlic water stop the spread? Africanews Editor Nathalie Wakam had a one-one-one with Dr Raphaël Taty-Taty, virologist and director of a specialized research centre for infectious diseases based in Pointe-Noire in Congo.Sat, 28 Mar 2020 09:47:00 (Nathalie Wakam) voters massively back contested constitutional referendum has voted to back a contested new constitution, the country’s electoral body said Friday, in a blow to President Alpha Conde’s opponents who fear the reforms are a ploy to extend his grip on power. The proposal to change the constitution was hugely controversial in the West African state, spurring mass demonstrations in which at last 32 people have been killed, according to an AFP tally. Independent National Electoral Commission president, Amadou Salifou Kebe, told reporters that 91.59 percent of ballots were in favour of adopting the new constitution, while 8.41 percent were against. Turnout was 61 percent, he added, saying that these were provisional figures. The vote was originally planned for March 1 but was postponed until March 22 because of international criticism of its fairness. The authorities went ahead with it after scrubbing some 2.5 million unverifiable names from its electoral register, following advice from the West Africa bloc ECOWAS. The day of the vote was marred by violence, with scores of polling stations ransacked across the country and, according to the country’s political opposition, dozens killed. Authorities have said only a few deaths occurred on polling day, and that the voting took place in peace. In a sign of impatience with Conde’s government abroad, however, France, the United States, and the United Nations have all expressed their reservations about the vote on March 22. France, the former colonial power, condemned election-related violence in Guinea this week and said the vote was not credible. The United States also said this week that the situation in Guinea was worrying and that it shared international concerns about the fairness of the vote, and the lack of political dialogue surrounding it. The United Nations’ special representative to West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, released a statement too, saying he was following developments “with great concern”. Eric Humphery-Smith, a senior analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, said the election outcome was “no surprise,” but that the scale of the president’s win was. “The result is a victory for Conde, allowing him to stand for that prized third term,” he said. – Third term – The result may open the way for Conde, 82, to pursue another term in office when his second one runs out this year by bypassing term limits. A former opposition figure jailed under previous hardline regimes, Conde made history in 2010 as the first democratically-elected president in a country with a chronic history of military coups and turmoil. Voters returned him to office in 2015 for his second and final five-year term under the current constitution, but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian. The government argues that the constitution needs to be updated to usher in badly-needed social changes, especially for women. Reforms would include banning female genital mutilation and under-age marriage and giving spouses equal rights in a divorce. The draft charter would limit presidential terms to two but extend the length of the term to six years. However, critics fear that a new constitution would in effect reset the presidential term counter to zero, potentially enabling Conde to govern for another 12 years. Conde himself has not denied that he might use the proposed changes to seek another term. – Embattled opposition – The referendum result will also increase pressure on Guinea’s beleaguered political opposition. Major opposition parties boycotted the referendum — and parliamentary elections which were held on the same day — arguing that Conde’s manoeuvres amounted to a “constitutional coup”. Former premier and leading opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo told AFP last week that “there is no basis on which to say this vote will be transparent, fair”. Attention is now set to turn to Guinea’s presidential election, which is expected to take place by the end of this year. Conde told French media that there was “nothing more democratic” than holding a referendum and it was up to his party to determine whether he would run for president again.Sat, 28 Mar 2020 06:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Sierra Leone shuts borders after Guinea, Liberia closures 27: Sierra Leone closes borders for 30 days Virus-free Sierra Leone on Friday announced closure of its borders for a 30-day period barely days after President Julius Maada Bio announced a state of public health emergency. According to reports, the measure was to keep out the coronavirus which has engulfed all of West Africa except for Sierra Leone. The country tested two cases which turned out to be negative. The border closures come in the wake of same action taken by neighbours Guinea and Liberia. Guinea president Alpha Conde declared a state of emergency on Friday also for 30-days over the virus. The closure will last for a renewable period of 30 days excepting cargo vehicles which will be limited to two apprentices & a driver. They’ll be subjected to a 14-day surveillance by both countries on entry and exit. All learning institutions & entertainment centers have been closed for 14 days, as have churches & mosques. All cultural events have been prohibited. Liberia is currently in a lockdown over the pandemic. The three countries were at the heart of the Ebola epidemic that killed thousands years ago. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 24: President Maada Bio declares 12-month state of Public Health emergency Despite being among 11 African countries that have not recorded any cases of the coronavirus, Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio has imposed a twelve-month state of public health emergency effective today March 24. Our correspondent in Free Town, Eric Sylas Kawa, had reported last week that government had imposed a raft of measures but the president in an address said a lockdown was not on the cards. Today’s move signifies that the country is not taken any chances with the pandemic which has affected all its neighbours in the region. #SierraLeone Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has declared a state of Public Health Emergency to tackle the Corona Virus. The 12 months state of emergency starts on the 24th of March. Sierra Leone is among few countries to be free of #COVID19africanews</a> <a href="">africanewsfr— Eric Sylas Kawa (EricSylas) March 24, 2020 Sierra Leone records COVID-19 scuffles over quarantine at airport The Freetown International Airport, Sierra Leone’s main entry point via air witnessed a coronavirus related scuffle after passengers aboard a Kenya Airways flight refused necessary health protocols. One of the country’s experienced journalists Umaru Fofana reported the said flight had a that passengers aboard the flight had a suspected COVID-19 case leading to the decision to quarantine all the passengers. It is not known how authorities detected the case in question. “At least three passengers refused to be isolated saying they’d rather return to where they’d come from…,” Fofana said in a tweet. “Meanwhile passengers who’ve just arrived on an Air Peace flight from Nigeria have also been asked to be quarantined. They’ve refused, citing the (Sierra Leone) government policy which says only passengers from countries with up to 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus should be automatically quarantined,” he said in a follow up tweet. Sierra Leone remains one of a handful African countries yet to record a coronavirus case. But like all governments are doing, the presidency released a detailed statement that outlined directives crucially banning overseas travel for all government officials and urged members of the public to heed same. An initial statement had directed thus: “Public gatherings should not be attended by more than One Hundred (100) persons,” the second directive read. But a Ministerial team that visited the airport on Monday had urged passengers to adhere to health protocols. A statement from the president on the pandemic read: “I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives advisories.”Fri, 27 Mar 2020 21:10:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Lesotho, Zimbabwe announce lockdowns, Kenya enforces curfew coronavirus was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019. Cases have since been confirmed in over scores of countries across the globe. The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic. WHO chief Tedros Ghebereyesus said whiles China had a robust health system to detect and control, his outfit remained concerned about the virus entering country’s with weak systems. With thirty-six African countries currently with recorded cases, governments continue to roll out increasingly robust measures to halt the spread and to contain the pandemic which has claimed a number of lives. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus and SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent. There is a flurry of restrictions across Africa as governments take measures to deal with the outbreak. SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa II Lesotho lockdown starts Saturday South Africa lockdown starts, cases rise in East Africa DRC capital Kinshasa readies for first 4-day lockdown South Africa tally hits 927, Kenya records first death Somalia records second case South Africa president tests negative South Africa figures on the rise as lockdown looms Libya and Mali record index cases Sierra Leone tests suspected case, Ivory Coast figures jump Nigeria cases hit 40, South Africa entering national lockdown Cases rise above 1,400 with 40+ deaths South Africa tally hits 274, Botswana president in self-isolation Kenya records eight new case Mozambique records index case Eritrea, Uganda record index cases Africa’s tally heading towards 1,200 SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa I COVID-19 LIVE updates, WHO website March 27: Lesotho to lockdown on Saturday Despite being among Africa’s virus-free nations, Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane, has announced a lockdown starting from Saturday, March 28, South African portal Eye Witness News reports. The Mountain Kingdom landlocked by South Africa has not recorded any confirmed COVID-19 cases. It relies on South Africa to help with testing as it does not have the capacity to do so. But on Friday, Ethiopian Airlines delivered coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits, masks, and protective suits donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. The consignment arrived a day earlier than expected. Lesotho’s ambassador to the African Union Mafa Sejanamane said delivery of the consignment was moved forward to ensure that it didn’t clash with South Africa’s national lockdown. Meanwhile South Africa has revised the death toll of two to one after Health Minister Mkhize said one of the two persons announced earlier on Friday did not die of the virus. The lockdown took effect with largely reports of obedience but also defiance in parts of the country leading security forces to make arrests and force others out of the streets. South Africa is Africa’s most impacted country with over 1,000 cases so far. Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa also announced late Friday that the country will go into lockdown from Monday, March 30, in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. So far, the country has recorded five cases and one death, 30-year-old journalist Zororo Makamba. The low number of cases though “need not induce complacency”, Mr Mnangagwa said in an address to the nation. For three weeks from Monday, Zimbabweans will be required to stay at home, except to buy food and access vital health services. The southern African country is allowing the use of the US dollars again, reversing last year’s ban on foreign currencies – a move aimed at supporting the already struggling economy against the effects of coronavirus. Police officers beat up Likoni Ferry users 2 hours before curfew, assault journalist.#NTVWeekendEdition— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) March 27, 2020 LIVE: Nairobi streets empty, fumigation ongoing. #NTVTonight #CurfewKenya Murithi_Kenn</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; NTV Kenya (ntvkenya) March 27, 2020 March 27: Deaths in SA, lockdown in Kinshasa, South Africa entered a state of lockdown at midnight of March 26, hours later; Africa’s most impacted country have reported the first two deaths from the coronavirus. President Ramaphosa flagged off the lockdown by tasking security forces to be a “force of kindness” and to secure the interest of the 57 million citizens. Already there are reports that people flouting the measure have been arrested. Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize announced on that the two deaths had occurred in the Western Cape province – one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital. He also announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had jumped to more than 1,000, but said the details would be given in a subsequent media briefing. In DR Congo, the capital Kinshasa which is the most impacted part of the country has announced that from Saturday (March 27), the city will be on a four-day lockdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. Residents would then be allowed to stock up on food in the following two days. The same pattern is scheduled to be repeated for the next three weeks. Meanwhile cases are rising across East Africa where Rwanda remains the most impacted with 50 cases as at March 26. Ethiopia recorded four more cases to bring the tally to 16 whiles Uganda now stands at 18. Kenya’s last known tally was 31. March 26: Kenya records death, SA cases shoot Kenya today confirmed its first death from the coronavirus disease with cases now at 31. The deceased was a Kenyan national who returned to the country on March 13 authorities said. Meanwhile with over 20,000 tests South Africa reports that the number of confirmed cases is now over 900. The country enters a 21-day lockdown at midnight March 26. Reports indicate that there is a flurry of business activity as people rush to buy supplies they will need over the period. Everyone, except for key workers like doctors, will be expected to stay at home. Businesses like restaurants and stores selling alcohol will be closed. Others in the medical field, security firms and those selling food will be allowed to stay open. In the streets, armed soldiers will be on patrol to make sure everyone complies, according to a government directive. SA president tests negative, Somalia records second case President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). “The President submitted for testing as a precautionary measure upon the advice of his physicians on Tuesday and received his results last night,” the Presidency said in a statement on Thursday. As Head of State and Chair of the National Command Council (NCC) the President has a rigorous public engagements schedule; and has, during the course of the last few weeks, held numerous meetings with a wide cross section of people from all walks of life. “The Presidency has deemed it necessary to make the test results public to reassure the nation that the President is in good health and continues with his duties,” the statement said. Over in Somalia, the Health Ministry confirmed the second coronavirus case which involved a citizen who returned home from Italy recently. He was not showing symptoms but was tested and is now quarantined. Somalia has the lowest infection rate in a region where Djibouti has 11, Eritrea 4, Kenya 28, Ethiopia 12. South Sudan is virus-free whiles Sudan had two cases at last check with one death. BREAKING: Somalia Ministry of Health confirms second case of #CoronaVirus. The person is a citizen who returned from Italy, and is not showing any symptoms but us being quarantined – Ministry.— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) March 26, 2020 Libya, Guinea-Bissau and Mali record infections Libya, the last country in North Africa has announced its first case of coronavirus. The Centre for Disease Control confirmed the case amid a continued battle between UN-backed government in Tripoli and the Benghazi rebel bloc led by Khalifa Haftar. The country which has been in a state of conflict since 2011 has closed its borders according to orders by the rival governments. Concerns have long been raised about the impact of the virus reaching the country whose health systems have been suffering in the amed conflict that has torn the country apart. Over in West Africa, Mali confirmed its first cases of coronavirus – involving two citizens who returned from France on 12 and 16 March. The patients are a 49-year-old woman from the capital Bamako and a 62-year-old man living in the western city of Kayes, the government said in a statement. The two are currently being treated as contact tracing efforts are carried out. An AP report last week said the country’s under-resourced health system was one of the biggest headaches for authorities as cases continued to spread in the West African region. For now, only Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau are virus-free in West Africa. Guinea-Bissau has registered its first two cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam said on Wednesday. The patients are a Congolese U.N. employee and an Indian citizen, and both have been placed in quarantine, he said, adding that public transport would be suspended to limit the spread of the virus. ?COMMUNIQUE DU GOUVERNEMENT DE LA REPUBLIQUE DU MALI SUR LES PREMIERS CAS DE CORONAVIRUS AU MALI— Gouvernement du MALI (@GouvernementM) March 25, 2020 South Africa cases up as lockdown looms South Africa’s COVID-19 cases have increased to 709 confirmed positive cases as of Wednesday. Speaking to the public broadcaster, the SABC on Wednesday morning, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the latest figures which increased by 155 cases overnight. With 64 new cases, Gauteng led the pack of the provinces with the highest increase. The Western Cape came in second with 61 cases. KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State had 11 and 15 new cases, respectively. The Health Minister says government is expecting an increasing in numbers as tests trickle in. According to the Minister, the COVID-19 test only takes three hours, but it is the moving of specimens between testing centres and labs which maybe causing the delay. Sierra test suspected case, Ivory records ‘boom’ Authorities in Sierra Leone are awaiting test results of a patient who meets the case definition for COVID19. The country is currently virus-free and under a state of public health emergency declared by President Maada Bio on Tuesday. A statement from the Health Ministry said the patient entered Sierra Leone on March 20 having travelled from Congo Republic through Ghana before her arrival. She reported to a local facility with symptoms and was referred to a center where medics put her in isolation and on treatment whiles a test was being run. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast on Tuesday recorded an almost 200% in the number of confirmed cases. Coronavirus cases in the West African country reached 73, government announced. The addition of 48 new cases to 25 as at March 23 means the figure is up by almost 200%. There are 3 recoveries and no death recorded so far. Ivory Coast shoots to third most impacted in the region after Burkina Faso (99) and Senegal (79). Government is enforcing raft of restrictions. Sierra Leone announces suspected case of #COVID19 - Patient currently in isolation and on treatment - Country currently virus-free - Prez announced state of public health emergency today - No lockdown yet, govt enforcing raft of restrictions - Mali, Guinea-Bissau also unaffected— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 24, 2020 South Africa cases not slowing, Nigeria alerts to potential mass infection Nigeria’s Lagos State government says hundreds of people who attended an annual TV awards event in the commercial hub in mid-March could potentially be infected. The State government subsequently announced that all patrons of the Africa Movie Viewers’ Awards at the Eko Hotel should immediately observe strict isolation and report any symptoms to the authorities as and when. “I hereby notify you that all participants at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) held on 14th March at Eko Hotels may have come in contact with one of the confirmed cases in Lagos and are most likely to have been exposed to #COVID19 Infection,” a tweet read. All major coronavirus related news on Nigeria South Africa’s coronavirus cases leapt again to 554 on Tuesday, the most of any country in Africa, as its 57 million people rushed to prepare for an unprecedented lockdown that begins Thursday. Across Africa, 43 of its 54 countries now have cases, with the total at 1,788. Thirteen countries have reported 58 deaths. South Africa has not recorded one. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced the 21-day lockdown. Rwanda and Tunisia earlier announced lockdowns. Determined shoppers made their last runs for supplies as authorities tried to reassure the public that food would not run out. South Africa cases not slowing down as lockdown looms South Africa enters lockdown, Nigeria tally reaches 40 South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day national lockdown as the country’s coronavirus figures surged on Monday to over 400 from 274 as at Sunday. According to the president, the measure will start effectively Thursday March 26. He said the move was to help disrupt the rise of the coronavirus which has been rising since the first case was recorded early this month. “The next few days are crucial. Without decisive action the number of actions will increase. This extremely dangerous for a population like ours. Our fundamental task is to contain the spread of the disease. We must therefore do everything to reduce the overall number of infections. South Africa is currently Africa’s most impacted by the coronavirus. Ramaphosa said all South Africans will have to remain home: “Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except in exceptional circumstances,” he stressed. READ MORE: South Africa declares 21-day national lockdown Nigeria records four new #coronavirus cases, tally now at 40 - Federal govt earlier issued 'partial lockdown' via presidential task force - Naija Twitter 'screaming' for total lockdown - Lagos leading the tally table - All borders, airports shut - A death recorded today— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 23, 2020 African tally hits 1,400, deaths pass 40 mark The WHO tracing portal as at March 23 put the number of cases at 1,396 with the last known case being in Mozambique, which case was confirmed on March 22. But the figures for some countries are not update for example Nigeria is quoted as having 22 cases at a time the disease control outfit has officially declared 30 confirmed cases. The tally continent-wide thus stands at 1,400 and over with 40 plus deaths. Nigeria, The Gambia and Zimbabwe have reported their first deaths as of today. In all, 43 countries have registered cases with Egypt’s 294 followed by South Africa and Algeria with 274 and 201 respectively. 1,396 confirmed #COVID19 cases in #Africa in 43 countries. There have been a total of 122 recoveries recorded: ??Algeria (65), ??Egypt (42), ??Burkina Faso (5), ??Senegal (5), ??Morocco (3), ??Cote d'Ivoire (1) and ??Nigeria (1).— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 23, 2020 Some other topics of interest below: Zimbabwe records index case Rwanda cases reach 17 Cases in South Africa jump to 202 Togo index patient recovers Gabon records death Cape Verde records index case Niger records index case Nigeria shuts all universities 760+ cases, 17 deaths, 49 recoveries South Africa, Nigeria record increases Mauritius records first cases Africa could be having unreported or underreported cases – WHO boss Zambia, Djibouti, Gambia record index cases Zimbabwe declares COVID-19 national crisis, outlines measures Ethiopia, Kenya record new cases Flurry of restrictions across the continent Nigeria, Rwanda, Burkina Faso record new cases Ethiopia – Ali Baba coronavirus support Ethiopia records jumbo figure in contact tracing Flights banned, borders closed Thirty African countries infected South Africa tally up to 274 South Africa confirmed on Sunday (March 22) that its coronavirus tally had reached 274 out of 9,315 tests run so far. It is the second most impacted country behind Egypt whose figures are inching past 300 mark. Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe all recorded marginal increases today. Ghana now stands at 24, Nigeria at 30 and Zimbabwe confirming its second case. DR Congo also reported two cases, the first outside the capital Kinshasa. Local news portal, Actualite CD quoted governor of Katagnga province as confirming two cases in the city of Mubumbashi. The governor has since imposed a lockdon to be enforced by security forces effective tomorrow. The two patients were aboard a Congo Airways flight that flew in from Lubumbashi. All other passengers on the flight have been put into quarantine as authorities look to trace possible contacts. Meanwhile after a trip to Namibia, Botswana president Eric Masisi has started a 14-day self-isolation which will include testing for COVID-19, the office of president confirmed late Sunday. The president will work from home over the period and stay quarantined from his family. He flew to Namibia for the swearing-in ceremony of counterpart Hage Geingob. Namibia has three confirmed cases. Botswana has no case. Members of the president’s entourage have also been advised to undertake self-isolation. #Botswana president starts 14-day self-isolation - Comes after trip to Namibia, swearing in of Geingob - Namibia has 3 cases - First known African leader to be tested for COVID-19 - Prez to work at home, quarantined from family - Botswana, Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho all virus-free— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 22, 2020 Mozambique records index case, Kenya tally hits 15 #Mozambique out of #COVID19 virus-free club - Leaves Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho, Botswana in the category - SA most hit in region - 11 African countries now uninfected - Sao Tome, G. Bissau, Mali, Libya, Burundi, S. Sudan and Sierra Leone - Cases heading to 1,200 with 34 deaths— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 22, 2020 “ 8 NEW #COVID-19 infections in Kenya bringing the total number to 15” CS Mutahi Kagwe #KomeshaCorona Press briefing— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) March 22, 2020 Eritrea, Uganda record index case Eritrea and Uganda have recorded their index cases on Saturday with both nations announcing that the patients were nationals. It leaves only South Sudan and Burundi as East / Horn of Africa countries without infections. Eritrea’s Information Minister posted on Twitter: “The Ministry of Health announced this evening the first confirmed case of a Coronavirus patient who arrived at Asmara International Airport from Norway with Fly Dubai at 7:00 a.m. LT this morning. The 39-year old patient is an Eritrean national with permanent residence in Norway. “The patient was quarantined promptly following the screening process at the Airport & diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after subsequent tests at the National Laboratory. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment at the moment, the MoH has stated.” In the case of Uganda, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a press conference: “The confirmed case is a 36 year old Ugandan male who arrived from Dubai at 2:00am today, Saturday 21 March 2020 aboard Ethiopian airlines. He presented with symptoms of high fever and poor appetite. “During the screening process at the airport, his temperature was 38.7. This prompted the health teams to isolate him at the airport for further follow up. Subsequent temperatures taken at intervals of 30 minutes and one hour remained the same,” she added. Meanwhile the tally of cases on the continent stands at 1,187 according to WHO’s tracking website. 34 deaths have been confirmed and 122 recoveries in total. Ghana, DR Congo are among those that have recorded deaths recently. Zimbabwe index case; Rwanda figures rise Authorities in Zimbabwe have confirmed the first case of coronavirus becoming the 38th African country to be infected. A statement from the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the patient was a 38 year-old Caucasian resident of Victoria Falls. He has a recent travel history to Manchester in the United Kingdom. He arrived in the country on March 15 via South Africa. The statement adds that he self quarantined and subsequently reported symptoms leading to a test being run at a facility in the capital Harare. Zimbabwe is the fifth southern African country infected. The government had earlier this week imposed a number of restrictions with the aim of keeping out the virus. Defence Minister had last week alleged that the virus was God’s punishment on countries that had imposed economic sanctions on the country. She specifically cited the United States and President Trump. #Zimbabwe records index case #coronavirus - 38 yo Caucasian resident of Victoria Falls - Has recent UK travel history - Arrive March 15 via South Africa - Self quarantined, reported symptoms - 38th African country infected, 5th in the region - Govt imposed restrictions this week— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 20, 2020 Rwanda has become the most impacted country in East Africa after registering six more cases bringing the tally to 17. It is the only country with double figures as of March 20, 2020. The Ministry confirmed the development late Friday. The oldest is 32 years and the youngest only 10 months old, a statement confirmed. Two French, a Swedish and three Rwandans made up the six new cases. After a day with no new positive tests, Rwanda records six new cases. The oldest is 32 years and the youngest only 10 months old. As of March 20, 2020, Rwanda has recorded 17 cases. AVOID unnecessary movements and WASH hands.— The New Times (Rwanda) (@NewTimesRwanda) March 20, 2020 Cape Verde records index case, Togo patient recovers Cape Verde confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday in a government statement. “The patient is a 62-year-old British citizen who entered the country on March 9 and began showing symptoms on March 16,” the statement said. Over in Togo, the index patient is said to have recovered (tested negative) but is still under medical observation, state TV quotes the health minister as saying. The West African nation is now dealing with eight other confirmed cases. Health Minister Moustafa Mijiyawa has asked travellers from high-risk countries “to exhibit the highest sense of responsibility and patriotism” and work with the authorities to curb the spread of the virus. He urged the Togolese to “stay calm and not panic” but to follow strict crowd control measures put out by the government. Meanwhile South Africa’s cases from 150 as at Thursday has reached 2020, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Friday. South Africa has consolidated second most infected on the continent only after Egypt with 210. More than 700 cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in 34 countries in #Africa as of 20 March, compared with 147 cases about one week ago. This map shares an overview of importation patterns of COVID-19 cases in the WHO</a> African Region (19/03/20).<br><br>➡️ <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; WHO African Region (WHOAFRO) March 20, 2020 Cases in Africa rising As at March 20, the WHO’s COVID-19 website record showed that cases on the continent was heading for the 800 mark. Of particular concern is cases in South Africa that have been leaping, at last count at 150 only behind Egypt/ Burkina Faso has entered the top four with 40 cases dislodging Tunisia’s 39 whiles Senegal has now reached 38 cases. Records indicate that some 69 people have also recovered. The highest being 32 people in Egypt. Seventeen people have died with the most recent case being in Algeria. The country has recorded seven deaths, Egypt has six, Morocco with two and Burkina Faso and Sudan with one each. On Thursday, Nigeria’s federal government ordered all universities to be shut amid fears that the pandemic could spread. Primary and other schools had been shut at the state and federal levels whiles places of worship had also been asked to remain closed. Niger is the latest country to record an index case. It leaves Mali, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau in the privileged bracket of unaffected West African countries. “We have just registered this Thursday March 19, 2020, our 1st clinical case of #Coronavirus at #Niger . I invite all of my fellow citizens to keep calm. I urge you to respect all preventive measures. Insha’Allah, together we will overcome this ordeal,” President Mahammadou Issoufou said in a tweet. Nous venons d'enregistrer ce jeudi 19 Mars 2020, notre 1er cas clinique de #Coronavirus au #Niger. J'invite l'ensemble de mes concitoyens à garder leur calme. Je vous exhorte à respecter toutes les mesures de prévention. Incha Allah, ensemble nous surmonterons cette épreuve. -IM— Issoufou Mahamadou (@IssoufouMhm) March 19, 2020 Case spike in South Africa, increase in Nigeria South Africa now has 150 confirmed cases, 24 more from the last tally of 126 according to the disease control outfit. The country is now the second most impacted only behind Egypt. Over in Nigeria, four more cases have been recorded in the commercial capital Lagos, according to local media outlets. The overall toll will come to 11 with the new cases. Ghana has also reached 11 confirmed cases as of today. Cameroon meanwhile has asked 195 passengers who arrived in the capital Yaoundé on an Air France plane flight on 17 March to self-quarantine for 14 days. The appeal comes after three people on Air France flight number AF 900 tested positive for Covid-19. Cameroon now has 10 cases of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. #Covid19#Cameroon Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie calls on 195 others who have not been screened to adhere to the recommended isolation measures, and urgently call 1510 to be obligatorily tested for the virus.— CRTVweb (@CRTV_web) March 19, 2020 Mauritius infected, 16 death overall Mauritius on Wednesday confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth who led a cabinet meeting on the pandemic late Wednesday said the three have been placed in isolation. Two of the three cases involve cruise ship workers aged 21 and 25, while the third is a traveller from the UK aged 59. He said the government was tracing all the people the British traveller had come into contact with. The government has closed all schools and borders points of the Indian Ocean island nation. It has also banned commercial flights and tourists for the next two weeks, beginning on Thursday, March 19. Meanwhile the death toll in Africa has reached sixteen according to figures by the BBC. Six each in Algeria and Egypt, Two in Morocco and one each in Sudan and Burkina Faso. 633 confirmed #COVID19 cases in #Africa in 33 countries and 17 deaths. In past 24 hrs, The Gambia, Mauritius & Zambia have announced first cases. WHO</a> is supporting countries with surveillance, diagnostics & treatment. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; WHO African Region (WHOAFRO) March 19, 2020 Africa could be underreporting figures “You know as of today (March 18), the number of cases reported from sub-Saharan Africa are 233 cases and four deaths, that is actually in terms of confirmed cases, it is the lowest region. “But as Mike said, we cannot take this number as the amount of, or the number of cases we have in Africa, probably we have undetected cases or unreported cases. But in addition to that, even if we take this 233 cases as true, we have to prepare for the worst. “In other countries we have seen how the virus actually accelerates after a certain tipping point. So the best advice for Africa is to prepare for the worst and prepare today. It is actually better if these numbers are really true, to cut it from the bud. “And that is why we are saying we have to do the testing, we have to do the contact tracing, we have to do the isolation and cut it from the bud,” the words of Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. He was speaking on Wednesday March 18 in the WHO’s daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. He stressed the need for mass gatherings to be avoided because of the propensity of aiding quick spread of the virus. “I think Africa should wake up, I think my continent should wake up,” he added. At a briefing today World Health Org DG DrTedros</a> says there are likely to be more cases in Africa than currently reported, adds that ‘the Continent must wake up and prepare for the worst’ <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Samira Sawlani (samirasawlani) March 18, 2020 The Gambia, Djibouti, Zambia records first case Djibouti’s Foreign Minister confirmed the country’s first coronavirus case which involved a member of a Spanish military contingent that entered the country recently. He confirmed that the group have been isolated and were under medical supervision. None of them had contact with the Djiboutian people since entry. The country is undertaking formalities that will allow for the contingent to be sent back to Spain within the shortest possible time. In the Horn of Africa region, Ethiopia and Somalia have all recorded cases. Sudan and Kenya have also done same. A day after the Zambian authorities imposed wide ranging measures which included banning public gatherings and closing school, the first two cases were recorded according to a local news portal, Mwebantu. The case involves a Zambian couple who arrived in the country on March 15 after a 10-day holiday in France aboard Emirates Airline, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said in a statement. They were screened at the Kenneth Kaunda Airport and asked to under go self-quarantine because on arrival they showed no symptoms. Whiles in quarantine, the husband reported symptoms following which authorities were notified and a test carried out on the couple returned positive. The Gambia recorded its first coronavirus case yesterday in a statement by the health minister. The country becomes the 31st to be infected in Africa. The case involved a young woman who flew in from the United Kingdom. All passengers on the flight she came in with are being traced, authorities confirmed. Gambia’s only neighbour Senegal has also been greatly impacted by the pandemic with close to thirty confirmed cases. President Macky Sall last week announced a raft of measures that included ban on public gatherings and closure of schools. The Gambia has yet to announce such measures which most African countries – affected or virus-free – are implementing as preventive or containment measure. Zimbabwe outlines coronavirus measures President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has just addressed the nation: Declares Coronavirus a National crisis. Sporting events/ Independence Day celebrations etc postponed. No travel ban but those from affected regions advised to not travel. Schools remain open till Easter holidays.— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) March 17, 2020 Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria record new cases On Tuesday morning, Nigeria reported its third case in Lagos of a Nigerian lady who last travelled to the United Kingdom. Kenya also reported a news case bringing its tally to four. The latest case was confirmed today at the National Influenza Centre Laboratory. The patient is reported to have travelled from London, United Kingdom on 8th March, 2020 arriving in the country on 9th March, 2020, a statement read. In Ethiopia, Health Minister Lia Tadesse, said a new positive case involved a British diplomat who had entered Ethiopia from Dubai. She was self-isolating when the case was brought to the attention of the authorities. She is the sixth case for the country. Contact tracing is underway. President Uhuru Kenyatta has also slated Saturday March 21, 2020 as a “Day of Prayer” as the country turns to God to seek his intercession in the midst of the pandemic. The president stressed that Kenya has historically used prayer to seek divine intervention during hard times. The session will however take place at the State House and the media are to carry it live on their platforms to allow all Kenyans to participate. The statement from State House read in part: “... we also turn to God to share our fears, our apprehensions, but also to seek his guidance and ever-present protection. “With this in mind and after consulting a cross-section of ordinary Kenyans as well as our religious leaders, I have decided to declare this coming Saturday, 21st March 2020, as a National Day for Prayer. “In consideration of the protocols that we announced on Sunday and other ongoing protocols that will be announced from time to time, I have thought it necessary that this day of prayer be observed in our homes, in our places of work or wherever we shall be residing on that day. “This prayer day will be led by a team of religious leaders here at State House, Nairobi starting at 12.00 noon on Saturday.” PROCLAMATION OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER BY H.E. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES, 17TH MARCH 2020— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) March 17, 2020 Flurry of restrictions, cases increasing A number of African governments are announcing restrictions aimed at preventing the rise in coronavirus cases in their territories. From the closure of borders and the suspension of flights to banning of public gatherings and even in the case of Sudan declaring a state of emergency. We pool together the major restrictions and measures by different governments: Sudan: The Sovereign Council in Sudan has declared a state of emergency to help control the coronavirus pandemic. The country has only a case which has resulted in the death of the patient in question. The council “decided to close all airports, land and sea border crossings, except to humanitarian aid,” spokesman Mohammad al-Fakki Suleiman told journalists. State news agency Suna quoted a military spokesman as saying that cadets and trainees would be given leave as a precaution. Tunisia: The North African country announced it will be closing its land borders and airspace to all commercial activities from Wednesday, in a bid to protect the country from the spread of coronavirus. Health officials say the number of confirmed cases has risen to 24. The latest announcement by Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh comes three days after a 16:00 curfew was announced for restaurants, cafes and bars. All commercial flights are to be cancelled, but arranged evacuation flights will be permitted. Trade and cargo will not be affected by these measures. Ivory Coast: The country via an announcement by President Alassane Ouattara on Monday evening announced a temporary ban on foreign visitors especially those from countries hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The ban only applies to countries that have more than 100 confirmed cases, the authorities said in a statement on Monday. This includes the US, France, the UK and most of Europe. For the next 15 days, only Ivorian nationals and permanent residents of the country will be permitted to enter from abroad following a mandatory two-week quarantine on arrival. The security council headed by President Alassane Ouattara also ordered the closure of all schools and universities from Tuesday for a period of 30 days. Chad: Despite being virus-free, Chad on Monday announced suspension of all flights effective midnight of March 19, 2020 in an official government statement. Only cargo planes will be allowed to land at N’Djamena International Airport. Earlier reports said government quarantined a group of French passengers who arrived Sunday. Chad remains the sole Central African country unaffected. Botswana and Zambia who are also virus-free have announced a series of measures similar to what most African countries have in place. All schools, colleges and universities in Zambia to close indefinitely this Friday in response to the pandemic. The announcement has been made by the country’s minister of health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya. Zambia yet to report a confirmed case. Zambia missions abroad have been directed to review visa applications for would-be travelers to Zambia. Foreign travel to high risk countries should be be postponed. Buses from outside Zambia will not dock at the usual station—the InterCity—but at a dry port. This is to ensure a thorough screening of passengers. Isolation centers have been identified in different parts of the country. Bars and churches will have restricted hours of operation. The southern African country has so far investigated 28 alerts but results have been negative. Virus-free #Botswana announces #COVID19 measures - Citizens of 18 countries banned - Visa issuance suspended, valid visas cancelled - Gathering of 100+ people suspended - Social distancing rules outline - Funerals should be no more than 2hours READ MORE:— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 16, 2020 Rwanda, Burkina record new cases Rwanda and Burkina Faso have recorded increase in their tallies. Rwanda confirmed two new cases of coronavirus bringing the total number to seven. The country’s ministry of health says of the two, one is a Rwandan woman whose husband had earlier tested positive. The other patient is a German who arrived in Rwanda from Germany on 13 March, then developed a cough and went to the hospital on 15 March. Authorities in Burkina Faso also said five new cases had been recorded putting the overall tally at fifteen according to the WHO’s coronavirus tracking site.Fri, 27 Mar 2020 20:55:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) delivers coronavirus donation to 41 African countries [List] PM – Ali Baba CEO Africa – wide coronavirus support Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on March 15 announced that he had secured a continent wide support coronavirus support from Chinese businessman Jack Ma. The Ali Baba founder confirmed the news 24-hours later following which the materials were flown to Ethiopia on March 22. Ethiopia had agreed to use its national airline, Ethiopian, to undertake deployment to all member states. Since March 23, the airline which is Africa’s most profitable has been flying across the continent delivering the supplies. At last count, Ethiopian had delivered to consignments to 41 destinations with 13 others yet to be served as at March 27. March 27: Ethiopian serves 41 countries so far March 23rd Eritrea Djibouti Egypt Sudan March 24th South Africa Burundi Rwanda Togo Zambia Zimbabwe Kenya Nigeria South Sudan Somalia Tanzania March 25th Gabon Ghana Congo and DR Congo March 26th Seychelles Madagascar Mauritius Comoros Cameroon Equatorial Guinea Angola Chad Morocco Algeria Tunisia Ivory Coast Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau eSwatini Lesotho Botswana Namibia March 27th Mali Cape Verde We are proud to take part in the delivery of medical supplies donated by Jack Ma foundation and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed initiative. The mission will also continue in the coming days.#Ethiopian.— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 24, 2020 March 23 – 24: Ethiopia starts deployment of Jack Ma’s coronavirus donation Ethiopian Airlines started the distribution of coronavirus donation made to Africa by Chinese business mogul Jack Ma, CEO of e-commerce giants Ali Baba. on Monday, the carrier which is Africa’s most expansive and most profitable disclosed on Monday that it was starting with its neighbours – Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt and Sudan. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also disclosed on Tuesday that another nine countries were also being served: among them are to South Africa, Burundi, Rwanda, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan. Of the set Burundi and South Sudan have not recorded any cases yet. “The mission continues with subsequent freighter flights across Africa,” the Airline said in its tweet on Monday. Even though most countries have closed their airports, exemptions have been made for cargo flights and planes on emergency missions. Ethiopian flies to most major capitals across Africa. This morning we have sent out the second shipment of #COVID-19 materials acquired through the support of JackMa and the AlibabaGroup to #South Africa, #Burundi, #Rwanda, #Togo, #Zambia, #Zimbabwe, #Kenya, #Nigeria and #South Sudan.— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) March 24, 2020 March 22: Jack Ma’s coronavirus donation arrives in Ethiopia A coronavirus support from CEO of Ali Baba, global e-commerce giants, has arrived in Ethiopia. The consignment was flown in by Ethiopian Airlines from Guanzhuo to Addis Ababa. According to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the support includes 1.1 million testing kits,6 million masks & 60,000 protective suits to be distributed throughout Africa. “Distribution to other countries will begin as of tomorrow,” the PM added. Most African countries have closed their air entry points but have made room for cargo planes to enter and exit. Ethiopian flies to almost every major African capital being the continent’s most expansive and profitable flight. Ethiopian transported COVID-19 medical equipment donated by Jack Ma Foundation to Africa. The medical equipment will be distributed through Ethiopian Airlines to the 54 African countries.#Ethiopianairlines #AlibabaGroup— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 22, 2020 March 16: Ali Baba CEO confirms Africa donation A day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a coronavirus support package for the whole of Africa, the donor in question Chinese business Mogul Jack Ma confirmed the donation with details. The donation under the aegis of the Jack Ma Foundation confirmed that millions of prevention and containment materials will be flown into Africa. “To combat the potential surging for demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate to each one of the 54 African nations 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields,” the statement read. “In addition, we will immediately start working with medical institutions in Africa to provide online training material for COVID-19 clinical treatment,” the statement added. The supplies will be flown to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from where PM Abiy has agreed to lead in managing the logistics and disbursement efforts. “Now it is as if we are all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible for us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts or fail to act. We need to take action now!” the statement concluded. Ethiopia PM’s #coronavirus support partnership with #AliBabab CEO The package: each of 54 African countries gets, a. 20,000 test kits b. 100,000 masks c. 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields. Most surely flyethiopian will be flying ‘em in. ??????— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (AlfaAfrican) March 16, 2020 March 15: Ethiopia PM secures big coronavirus support for Africa from Jack Ma Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday announced that he had secured a continent wide support coronavirus support from Chinese businessman Jack Ma. Abiy said the package which was to benefit all African countries will comprise testing kits, masks and guideline books on treatment methods. “Great appreciation to Jack Ma for partnering with Ethiopia to distribute 10-20k corona testing kits per country; more than 100k masks for each African country, and guideline books developed recently on how to treat patients with the virus,” he wrote in one of three tweets. It remains to be known the exact testing kit the PM is referring to given that currently only laboratory tests are being used. The Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal has, however, hinted that it would soon roll out a rapid test kit. Jack Ma, the Ali Baba founder had recently donated a million face masks to the United States as part of measures to help deal with the spreading virus. In November last year, Ma was in Addis Ababa where he met with Abiy. The two parties discussed the launch of the Electronic World Trade Platform in Ethiopia. The platform was to promote Ethiopia’s export products to the global market and open the door for small enterprises to become competitive. The visit followed a 2018 meeting between the Abiy and Ma at the Alibaba Headquarters in Hangzhou. In January 2019, they met at the World Economic Forum in Davos and discussed a potential partnership to build a tech city in Ethiopia. Ensuring #COVID19 preparedness in #Africa to mitigate health disasters is critical. #JackMa and I agreed this morning on ways of working together to halt the spread of #COVID19 on the continent. 1/3— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) March 15, 2020Fri, 27 Mar 2020 15:01:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Nigeria's testing up by 32% after Jack Ma's donation 27: Tests rise after Jack Ma’s donation Nigeria reports that receipt of donation of medical supplies from Chinese businessman and CEO of Ali Baba; Jack Ma, had shot its testing capacity up by 32%. Africa’s most populous nation had carried out a paltry 262 tests for the virus as at March 25, local media portal The Cable reported citing available data they had seen. The sum is insignificant compared to South Africa which had carried out over 20,000 tests with a tally of over 1000 cases. As at March 26, Nigeria had 65 confirmed cases with majority in the commercial capital, Lagos. The portal today reported that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed a spike in testing after the donation which arrived in the country on March 24. The donation included 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields for each African country. Out of Nigeria’s total tally of 262 tests, 84 tests were carried out on Wednesday alone, indicating a daily increase of 32 percent done by the end of March 25. Tests are now run in 23 states out of the initial 16. COVID-19: NIGERIAN AIR FORCE AIRLIFTS MEDICAL MATERIALS DONATED BY JACK MA FOUNDATION FROM LAGOS TO ABUJA— Nigerian Air Force (@NigAirForce) March 25, 2020 March 26: Cases now at 65 Lagos continues to be what could be termed as the heartbeat of the coronavirus in Nigeria. Out of the 14 new cases announced ny the National Center for Disease Control, Lagos had twelve with the other one in Abuja and the other in Bauchi. Ogun state is the only other state with more than one case. Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Osun, Rivers and Bauchi all have recorded a case each. In the case of Bauchi local media outlets reported that a second case had been confirmed by the state government as at Thursday. The federal government disclosed today that inter-state travel was to be banned as a control measure. Government has shut all land and air borders but not declared a lockdown. The United Bank for Africa Group on Thursday also announced a donation of $14 million towards the coronavirus fight in the country. Whiles the majority of the money will benefit each state state in the country, an amount of 1.5 billion naira is also to the 19 other African countries where the bank operates, by supplying relief materials, critical care facilities, and financial support to Governments. For his part, UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu said: “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global pandemic must bring citizens, governments & business leaders together – & quickly. “As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria & Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various Governments, in stemming the spread. “We commend the efforts of governments & we‘re keen to partner & contribute our resources to the collective effort, that’ll ensure the response to the pandemic is swift & effective.” N1 billion to Lagos, Nigeria N500 million to Abuja, Nigeria N1 billion to the remaining 35 states in Nigeria N1.5 billion to UBA’s presence countries in Africa N1 billion for Medical Centres with equipment & supplies Free Telemedicine call centre facility— UBA Group (@UBAGroup) March 26, 2020 Other major highlights covered below are: Ex-VP Atiku donates $135,000 towards relief fund Bauchi State governor tests positive Lagos closes all shops and markets for a week President tests negative, chief of staff infected Nigeria shuts all borders, cabinet meetings suspended Lagos state battling chloroquine poisoning Nigeria celebrates female doctor who identified index case March 26: Bauchi records second case The only state in northern Nigeria with a confirmed coronavirus case has recorded a new case. Bauchi state now has two cases according to Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aliyu Maigoro, who made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday. He said the second case is a 62-year-old patient. The state governor Senator Bala Mohammed confirmed this week that he had the virus and is currently in self-isolation. President Buhari tested negative but his chief of staff who recently visited Germany, Abba Kyari, returned a positive result. So of former veep Atiku Abubakar has also tested positive while Buhari’s daughter is in self-isolation – as a precautionary measure – after returning from the United Kingdom. March 26: Six patients recover, cases up to 51 Nigeria is set to release six coronavirus patients after they fully recovered from the infection. All six persons are in Lagos State, the hardest hit by the disease. It will bring to eight the total number of recoveries. The disease control outfit said as at Wednesday March 25, the total number of cases stood at 51 with two recoveries and one death. Meanwhile there are concerns over the relatively woeful number of testing that has been conducted across the territory. A report by the local newspaper The Cable says a total of 178 tests have been run in Nigeria as a whole. Lagos alone has undertaken 88 of the figure with 52 in Abuja, the federal capital territory. The Federal Government announces plans to ban inter-state travel and possibly close down all motor parks as part of measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed disclosed the plans this afternoon. For a breakdown of cases by states in real time, please see Currently; Lagos- 32 FCT- 10 Ogun- 3 Ekiti- 1 Oyo- 1 Edo- 1 Bauchi-1 Osun-1 Rivers-1 Total: 51 confirmed cases#COVID19Nigeria— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 25, 2020 March 25: Former Veep donates 50 million naira Nigeria’s former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, has made a donation towards the country’s coronavirus relief fund. The 50 million naira ($135,000) donation was announced this in a statement he issued on Wednesday. According to him, the donation is being made on his behalf by Priam Group to form part of the stimulus package the federal government should create for Nigerians. He said: “I commend all all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. I further call on more more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times. “To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief Fund that will form part of the stimulus package.” Atiku confirmed earlier this week that one of the sons had tested positive for the virus and was currently receiving treatment in Abuja. March 24: Lagos alerts to potential mass infection The Lagos State government in Nigeria has announced a potential case of mass infection with respect to coronavirus. A message posted on their Twitter handle said a current patient had attended a big entertainment event that took place mid-March. “I hereby notify you that all participants at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) held on 14th March at Eko Hotels may have come in contact with one of the confirmed cases in Lagos and are most likely to have been exposed to #COVID19 Infection.” The message gave guidelines to all attendees including to observe strict self-isolation, contact the authorities when they notice any symptoms. The said hotel complex on Monday announced a partial closure which it called a scaling down of operations to minimize coronavirus risk. The award event in question, AMVCA, is an annual accolade presented by Multichoice recognizing outstanding achievement in television and film. The inaugural Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards ceremony was held in Lagos, Lagos State in Nigeria on 9 March 2013. Attendees at the said event are therefo advised to: 1️⃣observe strict self- isolation. 2️⃣ call our #TollFree line 08000corona if they notice any of the #COVID19 related symptoms 3️⃣ Let’s #TakeResponsibility by practicing #SocialDistancing to prevent the spread of the virus.WHO— LSMOH (LSMOH) March 24, 2020 March 24: President tests negative, chief of staff infected Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took a coronavirus test and was declared negative by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), multiple local news portals have reported. The test was carried out on Monday and the results delivered to the president “this morning in Abuja,” the local news portal THISDAY reported. His chief of staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, however, tested positive for the disease which precipitated the need to test the president. Kyari tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday after he had travelled to Germany on Saturday, March 7th to meet with officials of Siemens in Munich on the Nigerian electricity expansion programme. He returned on March 14th, but did not show any symptoms. Twenty-four hours later he started showing symptoms following which he voluntarily submitted himself for testing, the results of which were delivered yesterday. He has since gone into absolute isolation following the test result. March 23: Nigeria imposes partial lockdown Nigeria’s federal government has announced a raft of measures aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic in the country, Africa’s most populous. The new measures were released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. The new directive borders on border closures, a strong stay-away advice for residents of the administrative and commercial capitals and suspension of the weekly cabinet meeting. A presidential aide in charge of new media, Tolu Ogunlesi shared major highlights of the regulations that are to be implemented immediately by relevant authorities. All of Nigeria’s land borders, which have hitherto been under partial closure, shall now be closed for human traffic for four weeks effective 23rd March, 2020 All Abuja and Lagos residents are strongly advised to stay at home, avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-essential outings, until further advice is given. Suspension of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meetings until further notice. Postponement of the meeting of the Council of State scheduled for Thursday 26th March, 2020. In order to protect Federal Civil and Public Servants, a circular is to be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), which shall direct on actions to be taken immediately. The total ban on international travels shall commence at 12.00 midnight tonight at all our airports. March 22: Nigerians celebrate medic who identified index case Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state government on Saturday (March 21) revealed the identity of the doctor who suspected the index case of coronavirus in Nigeria. The state ministry of health in a series of tweets appreciated the doctor, Amarachukwu Allison, whose vigilance and brilliance it said “led to the early diagnosis and rapid containment of the first Covid-19 infection. Allison is a doctor at Lafarge Plc, a cement manufacturer. The disclosure comes almost a month after the index case, of an Italian, who arrived in Nigeria on February 24, was confirmed by Lagos State and the federal government. The Italian, who is a consultant with Lafarge, reportedly spent the night at an undisclosed hotel near Lagos airport and moved to the company’s facility in Ewekoro, Ogun state, the next morning. He was said to have spent the night at Lafarge’s facility when he fell sick and was taken to the company’s medical centre where preliminary diagnosis began. After testing positive for the disease, he was subsequently quarantined at the Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba, Lagos state. He has since tested positive and has been discharged by the Lagos State medical outfit that treated him. Heroine medic responds via Twitter: Responding to the Osun government’s tweet, Allison thanked God “for intuition and knowledge” and for the safety of her teammates. “I want to thank God Almighty for intuition and knowledge and also for the safety of my teammates and I who worked together at the time,” she said. “My special prayers to health workers around the world who have paid the supreme sacrifice and to all families who have lost loved ones. To all unsung heroes, thank you.” She effectively enters the league of Stella Adadevoh, a Nigerian medic celebrated in the country for having kept out the Ebola epidemic from the country years back. Adadevoh helped curb the spread of Ebola virus in Nigeria by placing the patient zero, Patrick Sawyer, in quarantine despite pressures from the Liberian government. I want to thank God Almighty for intuition and knowledge and also for the safety of my teammates and I who worked together at the time. Special thanks to Lafarge, NCDCgov OGCovid19update LSMOH Fmohnigeria IntlSOS for their prompt and professional— Amarachukwu Karen Allison (mzGolden17) March 21, 2020 March 20: Chloroquine posioning in Lagos An official of Nigeria’s Lagos State government has disclosed that hospitals are receiving patients suffering from chloroquine poisoning. Oreoluwa Finnih, a Senior Special Assistant to Lagos governor has thus urged the public to desist from using the anti-malaria drug as a measure of preventing coronavirus infection. In Nigeria reports indicate that the drug’s price has been hiked since the news broke. Chloroquine has been gaining traction on social media since some news agencies reported it had been approved for the COVID-19 pandemic. The outlets cited U.S. president Donald Trump as making the claims. America’s Food and Drugs Authority, FDA, has since disclaimed the assertion saying the drug has not been cleared for any such purpose. AN URGENT APPEAL: People are hoarding and buying chloroquine out of panic. People who need chloroquine for other illnesses may die due to this madness. Chloroquine pack yesterday 8,000 naira Today 25,000 naira. This is insane. Govt must act NOW. Pls RT this for someone to act.— #OurFavOnlineDoc ? (@DrOlufunmilayo) March 20, 2020 March 18: Nigeria bans travelers from 13 countries Nigeria’s federal government announced on Wednesday that it will ban travellers from 13 countries as a measure of controlling the coronavirus pandemic. The affected countries include China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The measure will however take effect on Saturday March 21. Nigeria joins a number of countries across the continent that have announced travel bans on countries with high coronavirus cases. Some countries have used reported cases to activate the bans. Ghana for example says travellers from countries with 100 or more cases will be refused entry. Nigeria currently has three confirmed cases, one of which has been discharged after recovery. The index patient, an Italian, is still receiving treatment. Citizens had on social media piled pressure on government to follow the trend and bar certain countries from entry into Africa’s most populous nation. All three cases are in the commercial capital of Lagos. The Nigerian Government has restricted entry to travellers from these countries: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, U.S, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland.— Ministry of Interior (@MinOfInteriorNG) March 19, 2020 March 17: Nigeria confirms third coronavirus case Nigeria has recorded a new coronavirus case in the commercial capital Lagos. The state government confirmed the case which involves a Nigerian woman who arrived from the United Kingdom last Friday. Akin Abayomi, the state’s commissioner of health, disclosed the development at a press conference, on Tuesday. The National Center for Disease Control said the patient developed symptoms during her 14-day self-isolation “She is clinically stable & is being treated at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos,” the NCDC quoted the Minister as saying. The new case is presently the only case because the first two patients had fully recovered and been discharged. The current case is independent of the index patient, an Italian who flew into Lagos on a Turkish Airline flight. The second patient was connected to the index patient. Most Nigerians on social media have been calling on the government to close the airspace as a measure of control. A number of African countries have closed their borders including the banning of public gatherings. Nigeria has yet to announce any such measures. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country has been on high alert since the first case. Authorities especially in Lagos along with the disease control outfit, have been giving regular updates on developments. The Honourable Minister Fmohnigeria has announced the 3rd case of #COVID19 in NigeriaThe case is a Nigerian who returned to Lagos from UK & developed symptoms during her 14-day self-isolationShe is clinically stable & is being treated at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos— NCDC (NCDCgov) March 17, 2020Fri, 27 Mar 2020 13:20:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Chopra advises on how to cope with stress in times of crisis decades, 73-year-old Deepak Chopra has extolled the health benefits of spiritual practices. The Indian-American’s pursuit of mental health, happiness and holistic wellness has culminated in the publication of more than 90 books, including the bestseller, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. He’s best-known for advising people how to live beyond their limitations through finding pathways to higher consciousness, and his philosophy for life is that, “joy is the birthright of being human.” “At a certain stage in our lives, to wake up from the hypnosis of social conditioning. And find our own creativity, our calling, our desire for transcendence and love. That’s why we’re here,” Chopra told Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham of Inspire Middle East. [IME S03E12 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 1] Deepak Chopra speaks with Inspire Middle East’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham The guru’s teachings and practices have made him one of the wealthiest figures in alternative medicine and amongst his celebrity clients are the designer Donna Karan, the actress Lucy Lui and pop star Madonna. Chopra says his clients often face similar life challenges which they are seeking his advice to resolve. “Most people have problems with conflict,” he says. “So, it’s very important for everyone to ask themselves, ‘Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I really want from my life? What am I grateful for at this moment?’ Because if you are grateful for existence, in this moment, you can’t have hostility. It’s impossible.” [IME S03E12 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 2] Deepak Chopra and his book ‘Metahuman’ In his book ‘Metahuman’, Chopra touches upon consciousness and how to achieve new levels of daily awareness. The author estimates that less than one percent of people are currently living in a mindful or enlightened state. A daily practice he recommends to get closer to attaining mental peace goes by the acronym S.T.O.P. “’S’, stands for stop. ’T’, is take three deep breaths and smile. ‘O’, means observe what’s happening around you and inside you. And ‘P’, is to proceed with compassion and awareness.” he says. “Press the pause button for a moment in your life. Observe yourself and your reaction to react all the time.” Digital Deepak Chopra’s ambition is for his legacy to live on for centuries to come. His aim is to have a positive impact on seven billion people around the globe, via the creation of an AI clone giving virtual advice. [IME S03E12 MAIN ARTICLE – SECONDARY IMAGE 3] Deepak Chopra’s AI project “It’s called Digital Deepak and you can actually have a conversation with him, if you want,” he says with a smile. “It learns from your interaction, and one day, it will be speaking to the grandchildren of the grandchildren, of the grandchildren of my grandchildren, and learning from them. It will continue to evolve and learn.” Chopra is hopeful his technological venture will provide words of wisdom and calm in what he views as turbulent times. “Look at the world right now,” he says. “Climate change, nuclear weapons, biological warfare, internet hacking of democracies. Hatred, prejudice, ethnocentrism, fear. It’s right in our face. We’re looking at collective extinction and we are totally in denial.” SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: MENA MINDFULNESS Ricardo from the US shared this photo of him meditating in the UAE desert, to show the importance of mindfulness and spiritual practices. EMBED: Dana from Lebanon recorded her breathing exercises, saying moments of reflection like these are a journey to inner peace. EMBED:, 27 Mar 2020 13:18:17 +0000editorial@africanews.com in Africa: 46 countries infected, 8 virus-free; deaths, recoveries etc are now more than 3,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic. According to the latest data by the Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. The whole of Africa has rising cases with a handful of countries holding out. We shall keep updating this list which will be put in sub-continental blocs: East, West, Central, southern and North Africa. All statistics are sourced from Africa CDC updates and from official government data. The classifications are based on where the countries are located especially in the case of countries that belong to two different blocs, like Tanzania in East Africa, despite belonging to EAC and SADC. SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa II Major stats as at March 27 Confirmed cases = 3,243 Number of deaths = 83 Recoveries = 254 Infected countries = 46 Virus-free countries = 8 North Africa Algeria – 302 Egypt – 495 Morocco – 275 Tunisia – 173 Libya – 1 Virus-free = None West Africa Benin – 6 Burkina Faso – 152 Cape Verde – 3 Ghana – 132 Guinea – 5 Ivory Coast – 96 Liberia – 3 Mauritania – 2 Nigeria- 65 Senegal – 105 Togo – 24 The Gambia – 3 Niger – 7 Mali – 2 Guinea-Bissau – 2 Virus-free = Sierra Leone Central Africa Cameroon – 88 Central African Republic – 5 Congo-Brazzaville – 4 DR Congo – 54 Equatorial Guinea – 9 Gabon – 7 Chad – 3 Virus-free = Sao Tome and Principe Southern Africa Eswatini – 8 Namibia – 6 South Africa – 927 Zambia – 16 Zimbabwe – 5 Madagascar – 19 Angola – 3 Mozambique – 7 Virus-free = Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho, Botswana East Africa / Horn of Africa Ethiopia – 16 Kenya – 31 Rwanda – 50 Seychelles – 7 Somalia – 2 Sudan – 3 Tanzania – 13 Djibouti – 11 Mauritius – 7 Eritrea – 6 Uganda – 14 Virus-free = Burundi, South SudanFri, 27 Mar 2020 12:20:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Africa military arrest lockdown breakers African police service arrest people for defying a nationwide lockdown in Johannesburg Friday. The security personnel have been deployed to enforce the lockdown in a bid to curtail spread of COVID-19. Nearly 57 million people are to be confined to their homes for three weeks. President Cyril Ramaphosa personally visited soldiers at a military base in Soweto Township prior to their deployment. “I am sending you to go and defend our people against coronavirus,” Ramaphosa said. “This is unprecedented, not only in our democracy but also in the history of our country, a 21-day lockdown to go out and wage war against an invisible enemy coronavirus,” he said. During South Africa’s lockdown, there will be no jogging, walking dogs or selling alcohol across the country, which so far has the highest number of infections reported in sub-Saharan Africa with 927 cases. Ramaphosa believes that it will even be possible to reach 1,500 cases “in a few days”. AFPFri, 27 Mar 2020 08:31:26 +0000editorial@africanews.com Sierra Leone free, brace up to prevent cases [Morning Call] Leone is among a few countries in Africa free from coronavirus. The west african country suffered heavily from an Ebola outbreak in 2014. In an effort to prevent coronavirus, president, Dr. Julius Maada Bio declared a state of Public Health Emergency. The 12 months state of emergency started on Tuesday 24th of March. @jerrybambi1Fri, 27 Mar 2020 07:22:51 (Jerry Bambi)'s opposition leader kidnapped, bodyguard killed [Morning Call] opposition leader Soumaila Cisse has been abducted along with six members of his team while campaigning in the centre of the country. In a statement released on Wednesday, Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) party said the politician and his team had gone missing after campaigning near the town of Niafunke, in central Mali. In a subsequent briefing, the party said Cisse’s bodyguard was killed and two others wounded when unidentified gunmen ambushed the group between villages in the northern region of Timbuktu. Our journalist Chancela Gningui has been following the developments and filed in this report. @jerrybambi1Fri, 27 Mar 2020 07:18:50 (Jerry Bambi) South African duo who defied coronavirus isolation charged African police have charged two men with attempted murder for allegedly continuing to go out after they tested positive for the coronavirus, exposing others to the infection. Police minister Bheki Cele detailed the charges during a press conference on Wednesday. He said anyone that breaks these laws or regulations could be fined, detained for up to six months or both. The first charge was made against a 52-year old salon owner diagnosed with coronavirus on March 18 and instructed to quarantine for at least 14 days. Local officials raised the alert on Tuesday after the man was seen around the western city of Ladysmith, in KwaZulu-Natal province. The second charge was filed against a male tourist who tested positive for Covid-19 while on holiday at Kruger National Park. The man ignored instructions to remain in his hotel and went to the nearby town of Saint Lucia, where he interacted “with an unknown number of people”. South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on the continent, with over 900 cases confirmed so far. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown after the number of infections multiplied six-fold in just eight days.Fri, 27 Mar 2020 07:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com sad tale of Egyptian trans activist el-Kashif is one of Egypt’s outspoken transgender. At birth she was assigned a male identity. But growing up, el-Kashif named Abdel-Rahman said she identified as female. At just 13-years old she fled home due to family rejection. “My parents’ rejection was like a bomb, imagine when your safe area, your go-to when someone in the street beats you, the one you call when you are lost anywhere or when you take a cab while not having enough money with you and they pay, that safe area was the one who rejected you and forced you to get into bigger war, not only with your identity but with everything because when our families bail on us, life becomes more difficult and the confrontation becomes bigger”, el-Kashif said. She was diagnosed with ‘‘gender identity disorder’‘. A term replaced in the American psychiatric Association’s diagnostic guide by ‘’ gender dysphoria’‘. A disconnect between assigned gender at birth and the one a person identifies with. Her activism has led to several arrest in conservative Egypt. “I was imprisoned three times, the last time was not my first time. The first two times were related to public morals and that’s because our looks were not convenient to the police officers, that’s what they told us. We were not arrested for doing anything shameful or without our clothes on, we were arrested and we were told that “you are queers, we don’t like the way you look” but eventually we were let go because there was nothing to be accused of’‘, she added. El-Kashif was held in a male’s prison. After her release, she filed a lawsuit demanding special places for holding transgender people in prisons and police stations. In 2019, she completed her gender transitioning surgeries. Reactions from Egyptians were mixed. While others congratulated her for the inspiration, others rained insults on her. El-Kashif’s mother declined comment for this story. APFri, 27 Mar 2020 17:06:57 +0000editorial@africanews.com overwhelms Tokyo 2020 several weeks of wrangling between the coronavirus pandemic and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Olympic Coordination Committee (TOC), COVID-19 finally got the upper hand. So far, only the First and Second World Wars had overcome this sports event. Once again the coronavirus has dictated rule to the world of sport. The Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, will no longer take place this year but rather in 2021 still in Japan, which already organized that of 1964. Until the very near past, for the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, and even the Japanese authorities, it was out of the question to envisage the cancellation or postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympics, despite the scale of the coronavirus pandemic. But on March 24, the IOC and Japan jointly announced the postponement of the Games to 2021. The postponement comes a week after the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced the postponement of the European Men’s Championship by one year. Never before had the Games been postponed or organised in an odd year. And as proof, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver took place during the 2009 pandemic flu season without any particular incident. The Rio 2016 Olympics, which had been threatened with cancellation due to the Zika virus outbreak, again went on without a hitch. After this postponement, the question is, at what time next year’s Olympic Games will take place. The spring track is being considered, but the summer track is not ruled out. Organizing the Games in the first quarter of 2021 is unimaginable given the number of outdoor events that could not be held in the winter. As for the spring, this possibility would come up against the calendars of sports such as football, basketball, handball, volleyball as well as certain individual sports such as tennis or golf, which are totally incompatible. So the simplest thing to do is to look for dates similar to those planned for this year. But here again, the IOC will have to find common ground with the Federations of the two major Olympic games, athletics and swimming, for a shift in their calendars when their world championships are scheduled for this period. Swimming is initially scheduled from July 16 to August 1 in Japan and track and field from August 6 to 15 in Eugene, USA. If you look closely, the coronavirus has not yet finished shaking up the sports world. One after the other, several renowned sportsmen and women have confirmed one after the other that they have tested positive for Covid-19. From fooball and basketball to handball, volleyball and cycling, the list is getting longer and longer. The Nigerian footballer, King Udoh, was infected with the coronavirus in Italy and became the first professional football player to be diagnosed with the disease in Italy. Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor was placed in isolation in Benin under a protocol related to the new coronavirus, after leaving Paraguay and Club Olimpia for Togo. Also affected by the pandemic is South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh. Espanyol Barcelona revealed that six players in their squad had tested positive for the coronavirus, without revealing their identities. Italian professional football club Fiorentina reported a total of 10 positive cases, including three hospitalised. Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been in voluntary isolation for several days on his home island of Madeira, but has donated three intensive care units to several Portuguese hospitals. Lionel Messi, on his part, has donated one million euros to the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and to a hospital in Argentina, in order to invest in the equipment needed to fight this health crisis.Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:15:54 (Brice Kinhou) resources for huge crisis: Malian researcher's coronavirus fears keeping out the coronavirus weeks after it reached Africa, Mali this week registered two cases of the virus. With parts of the country inaccessible to state services because of insurgent violence and inter-community conflicts, the arrival of the coronavirus is raising fears in the already battered country. Amadou Koné, a researcher shared his perspectives on the compounding challenges: “We are in charge of diagnosing all the suspected cases in Mali. “... so if somewhere in Mali we identify someone who has the symptoms, signs or who has been exposed because he has travelled or because he has travelled with someone who has been infected, then they send us and we are involved in the molecular diagnosis of those suspected cases.” Hospitals in the capital Bamako have been trying in recent weeks to prepare themselves as best they can for the epidemic. In the district of Point G, an old disused building has been transformed into a containment centre with seven beds. “If there is a confirmed case, the system will be quickly overwhelmed, because we have to quickly diagnose, identify all the contacts with them, diagnose them if they are positive and isolate them, so the national system will be overwhelmed,” Kone stressed. The Ministry of Health says it only has about 50 ventilators for the whole country. Ventilators are important medical equipments needed for treatment of persons with the virus. Despite the health risk surrounding the pandemic, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has confirmed that legislative elections, which have been postponed since 2018 will take place this Sunday.Fri, 27 Mar 2020 06:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com opposition coalition accuses election body over 'exclusion' just weeks before the general elections in Burundi, some opposition political parties are accusing the Election Commission of ploy to eliminate them from the presidential, parliamentary and local polls. Particularly, the commission rejected lists from certain groups in what is seen as a violation of its mission. Kira-Burundi is one of those crying foul Aloys Baricako, head of the Kira Burundi coalition said: “Unfortunately, it is clear that this prescribed law is being seriously violated by the CENI through its cascade rejection of the files of the candidates of the Kira Burundi coalition at the level of the presidential, legislative and municipal elections with a deliberate desire to exclude this coalition from the electoral process.” But the Independent Electoral Commission, CENI, denies the accusation, explaining that discarded political parties can always appeal to the Constitutional Court as encouragement for stakeholders to continue to comply with the law to ensure peaceful elections. Kawahise Claver is head of the election body: “The CENI also wishes to remind especially the accepted candidates that the electoral campaign has not yet come. It is already known. “By the electoral calendar, this electoral campaign will be opened by a presidential decree. We therefore invite the candidates not to not go beyond the law, those who engage in the premature campaign against the law would face the rigor of this same law.” More than 5 million Burundians are registered to vote, in the general elections scheduled for May 20 in which president Pierre Nkurunziza will not be a candidate. AGENCIESFri, 27 Mar 2020 05:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com's former VP files complaint against president’s former Vice President Saulos Chilima has filed a complaint against President Peter Mutharika, challenging his decisions in the crisis that followed the annulment of last year’s presidential election, his lawyer said Thursday. Mutharika was declared winner of the first round of a May 2019 election with 38.5% of the vote, against 35.4% for opposition leader Larazus Chakwera. Saulos Chilima came third with 20.2%. But the Constitutional Court annulled Peter Mutharika’s victory in February this year due to supposed fraud and ordered fresh elections billed for 2 July 2020. The battle between the opposition and the head of state has been raging for months, yet, Mutharika has refused to enact the laws needed to hold a fresh vote and to dismiss the current members of the Electoral Commission, as requested by the Constitutional Court. Peter Mutarika, who has been in power since 2014, has appealed against the annulment of the elections to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which is expected to rule on the case from 15 April.Fri, 27 Mar 2020 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Africa lockdown starts as coronavirus tally nears 1,000 Africa’s president appeared in full military uniform for the first time since the end of apartheid and told troops to be a “force of kindness” as a three-week lockdown begins at midnight and they ensure that 57 million people stay home. The mission is the “most important in the history of our country” as coronavirus cases near 1,000, the highest in Africa. “Our people are terrified right now and we should not do anything to make their situation worse,” President Cyril Ramaphosa told police earlier Thursday. “Psychologically they are already scared that they could get the virus, lose income, lose jobs, get sick without medication.” Anxiety has been especially high for low-income South Africans squeezed into townships, sometimes with an extended family sharing a shack of corrugated metal and little income. Fears of an increase in domestic violence and rape have been expressed by civil society groups. And economic pain is widespread, with a recession and unemployment at 29%. South Africa remains one of the world’s most unequal countries a quarter-century after the racist apartheid system ended in 1994. “I have even resorted to selling face masks so as I can be able to raise money and return to my homeland outside (Johannesburg),” said street vendor Dinko Seroka, as people lined up to take buses to more rural areas. “As you can see here, everyone is leaving for their homelands, and if I stay behind I don’t know how I’m going to survive.” South Africa has 927 virus cases, with no reported deaths. Africa’s total cases are now 3,037 with South Africa’s latest cases added to the toll of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty-six of the continent’s 54 countries have the virus. South Africa’s lockdown is one of the world’s strictest, with alcohol sales, running and dog-walking banned. Citizens should expect to be sober for 21 days, authorities have said, but sales at liquor stores were brisk on Thursday. Borders have closed except for transport of essential goods. Without naming countries, the World Health Organization regional chief for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, told reporters that “draconian” restrictions must include strong public health measures to truly contain the virus’ spread. Humanitarian corridors might be needed as well, she said. The window is “narrowing every day” but there’s still a chance to contain the virus’ spread in many countries, Moeti said. About half of African nations with the virus have only imported cases from abroad. More countries are expected to impose lockdowns. On Thursday, the president of Botswana, who has been in self-isolation as a precaution after a weekend trip to Namibia, told citizens to “Please prepare yourselves” for an imminent one. Rwanda locked down over the weekend, and police denied that two people shot dead had been killed for defying the new measures. Police spokesman John Bosco Kabera said the two were riding a motorbike on Monday in the south when they were stopped by an officer and attacked him, prompting his colleague to fire in self-defense. In Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, streets were empty while authorities used megaphones to urge people to stay indoors. The government has promised to provide food to vulnerable people. “I ask our government to please have a good heart for your people during these difficult times,” shopper Jacqueline Murekatete said as officers wearing face masks and gloves instructed people at a market how to stand in line. “We need to eat and we are desperate for your help. Now we have two pandemics. We have hunger and we have the coronavirus, and our hunger is the new pandemic we are faced with. This is just dreadful.” In Uganda, police with guns and sticks enforced a new two-week ban on public transport. Gunfire rang out in one street in the capital, Kampala, as officers chased people and roughed up suspects accused of defying the president’s orders. Elsewhere, Nigeria said it would ban travel between its states in Africa’s most populous country. Eritrea closed schools and public transport. Kenya reported its first death. And Somalia, with one of the world’s most fragile health systems after nearly three decades of conflict, reported its second virus case. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. African officials have showed varying levels of sensitivity to their own health measures. While South Africa’s president said he tested negative for the virus as a precaution, some people in Kenya were appalled after national health officials met to discuss the coronavirus and then shared a group photo — with people standing shoulder-to-shoulder. APThu, 26 Mar 2020 21:23:44 +0000editorial@africanews.com 6 coronavirus cases, Eritrea shuts schools, all public transport suspended 26, 2020: Eritrea cases up to six Two other passengers who returned home with Air Arabia Airlines on Monday 23 March tested positive, bringing the total number of patients in the country diagnosed with COVID-19 to six. All the patients are receiving necessary treatment and their condition remains satisfactory. As underlined in previous weeks, the Government of Eritrea has been, and continues to take, several important measures to contain and fully stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. In this respect, the MoH issues the following additional guidelines today: 1. All institutions of learning – from Kindergarten to Colleges – will be closed starting tomorrow, 27 March 2020. 2. All public transport vehicles – buses, minibuses and taxis – in all the cities will stop services from 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, March 27th. Use of trucks for public transport is illicit and punishable by law. 3. With the exception of those who may be granted special permit by the competent authority in urgent circumstances, all public transport services from one Region to another, or from one city to another, will likewise be stopped from 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, 27 March 2020. 4. These guidelines will remain effective until further notice. 5. Although all Government institutions play a significant role in the effective implementation of the current and previous guidelines, it is nonetheless incumbent on every citizen to act with due diligence and responsibility to ensure his/her own good health and safety as well as those of his/her family. 6. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments and trends regarding COVID-19 and issue, as necessary, further information and guidelines. Source: Ministry of Information March 25, 2020: Eritrea cases up to four, commercial flights banned 1. Three passengers who arrived in Asmara from Dubai with flight Air Arebi on Saturday 23 March at 5:00 a.m. LT, were diagnosed positive for COVID-19, today. All three passengers are Eritrean nationals resident in the country. This puts the total number of infected individuals, to-date, to four. The passengers who were on the same flight with the patients and all those who came in physical contact with them have been quarantined. All the patients are receiving necessary treatment at Villagio Hospital (Asmara) and remain in satisfactory condition. 2. In this connection, commercial passenger flights to and from Eritrea will not be allowed from midnight today, (25 March 2020). The ban will remain effective for two weeks until further review. 3. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments and trends regarding COVID-19 and issue, as necessary, further information and guidelines. March 23, 2020: Eritrea issues stricter guidelines Eritrea’s Ministry of Health has issued its third in a series of coronavirus related Public Guidelines. The rules come in the wake of the index case of the pandemic in the county. “... an Eritrean national resident in Norway who flew to Asmara last Saturday, March 21st, was confirmed positive for COVID-19. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment while passengers who travelled on the same Airline were subsequently quarantined,” a statement from the Ministry of information said. The Ministry urged the entire populace to “take utmost precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic and to strictly implement Government guidelines for the safety of their own lives and the country.” The additional guidelines include: 1. Every person should avoid non-essential movement within the city or village of residence as well as travel to other places inside the country. Every person should likewise avoid travel by bus, mini-bus and taxis unless in emergencies. 2. All public gatherings, sport and cultural events that assemble a crowd of more than 10 people are prohibited. Cinemas and night-clubs will remain closed until further notice. Social distancing must be heeded to in other commercial units and centers. 3. Aggregation of more than 10 people at social events (funerals, weddings, mourning, baptism and other gatherings) is banned. 4. Every citizen must observe, and same instruction is being given by religious leaders to the faithful, prayers and associated religious sermons in their homes. 5. All Eritrean nationals living abroad are urged to take all necessary precautionary measures for their own safety, the safety of their families as well as the Eritrean communities. They should also refrain from travelling to Eritrea. 6. Stringent legal measures will be taken on all individuals and commercial enterprises that engage in hoarding and speculative price hikes by misconstruing the precautionary measures that are being taken to safeguard the safety of the Eritrean people and the country. 7. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments regarding COVID-19 and issue additional information and guidelines as necessary. March 21, 2020: Eritrea records index case (Statement) A 39-year old Eritrean national who has permanent residence in Norway arrived at Asmara International Airport at 7:00 a.m. today, March 21st, from Norway with Fly Dubai. The patient exhibited symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the screening process in the airport. He was quarantined promptly and diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after subsequent tests at the National Health laboratory. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment. March 18, 2020: Eritrea national exams underway Eritrea like most countries across the continent is taking precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is however going on with academic activity relative to the National School Leaving Examination 2019/2020 which started on Wednesday 18 March across the country. A statement from the Ministry of Education quoted Dr. Bisrat Gebru, Director of the National Testing Center, as confirming that “the examination will continue until the 23rd of this month, and will include 13 fields of studies. “Dr. Bisrat also indicated that a total of 14,960 students including 7,149 females are sitting in the examination that is being conducted in 8 testing stations.” The director further disclose that the parallel examination that was given in the International Eritrean Community Schools in Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been halted due to the coronavirus outbreak. Eritrea, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda are the few countries in the East Africa / Horn of Africa region to have managed to keep out the COVID-19 pandemic so far. March 17, 2020: Coronavirus-free Eritrea bans all internal, external travel Eritrea’s Ministry of Health also issued additional guidelines to all nationals & expatriates residing in the country. They have not recorded any case yet even though neighbours Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea have one, one and six cases respectively – as at March 18. The Sudan case has resulted in death. The guidelines basically bans all travels within and outside of the country. 1. Every person should refrain from internal & foreign travel unless this is for extremely urgent & unavoidable purposes; 2. Every person must avoid, in as much as this is possible, public gatherings; 3. Foreign travel from & to Eritrea has diminished significantly on the basis of the MoH guidelines issued last week. This will be bolstered further henceforth to fully restrict travel from, and to, Eritrea except in urgent & unavoidable circumstances March 12, 2020: Eritrea’s coronavirus rules: Chinese, Italians, Iranians to be quarantined Eritrea’s Health Ministry has issued guidelines relative to the recent coronavirus outbreak. The March 11 statement addresses local and international audiences in the areas of education and of entry into the Horn of Africa. The statement says persons originating from or with recent travel history to four virus-impacted countries will be quarantined. The countries are China, Italy, South Korea and Iran. Even though the government through the ministry has announced a quarantine, according to the Africa Disease Control Center based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Eritrea was among a handful African countries that do not have the capacity to test for the virus. Eritrea is not the only country resorting to quarantining persons from or connected to particular countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC; announced similar measure for Germans, Italians, French and Chinese. Uganda has also announced quarantine for persons from 16 high-risk nations. The Ministry confirmed that there was no case recorded in the country so far adding that since the country was “linked by land, air, and sea with several countries affected by the disease…. (it was) urgent and imperative for Eritrea to take precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak and spread of the disease as well as to prepare for all possible scenarios. The closest neighbour of Eritrea to have recorded a case is Egypt, the first African country to record a case and a death. It currently has Africa’s highest infection rate with over 50 confirmed cases. In view of these facts, the Ministry of Health issues the following guidelines: 1. Continuous sensitization campaigns will be disseminated through the various local media outlets in order to provide timely and full information to the general public. These announcements must be followed with due diligence. 2. In view of the potential gravity of the situation and for the sake of their own safety as well as the safety of the Eritrean people, the Ministry of Health urges all nationals and foreigners who may have plans to travel to, and from Eritrea, to postpone their plans on their own volition. 3. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments earnestly to assess occurrence, rate and extent of contagion, and other vital parameters and symptoms of the epidemic. It will accordingly issue appropriate announcements and guidelines. 4. Visitors who originate directly from, or who have transited through, China, Italy, South Korea and Iran will be quarantined.Thu, 26 Mar 2020 20:50:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)'s Tigray region declares coronavirus state of emergency 26: Tigray region imposes state of emergency Ethiopia’s northern Tigray regional state on Thursday, March 26, announced a region-wide state of emergency as a means of combating the coronavirus pandemic. The Tigray Mass Media Agency said the decision was reached a day after the regional state council met and agreed on the decision which has implications on movement and on social activities. Under the 15-day emergency rule: all travels within the state is banned. There is also a ban on social activities such as weddings and other festivities which could lead of large gatherings. Markets are also to be closed. More details are expected to be released later. The federal government has closed all land borders as per the decision of an inter-ministerial COVID-19 committee led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. As at March 25, Ethiopia had confirmed 12 cases with all cases in the capital Addis Ababa. The figure is out of about 500 tests overall. It is woefully minimal as compared to South Africa’s over 15,000 tests that have turnd out 704 confirmed cases. March 22: Ethiopia shuts land borders, impose more restrictions Ethiopia will deploy the army to halt the movement of people along all borders, with the exception of incoming essential goods to the country, this is one of eight new measures being implemented by the federal government in the wake of the coronavirus spread. Prime minister Abiy Ahmed on March 23 met with heads of the security sector for deliberations aimed at containment of the pandemic. The group he met today are the security sub-committee of the National Ministerial Committee. Aside shutting land borders, a series of enforcement measures were announced relating to regulations on large gatherings and social distancing. Public transports are to avoid overcrowding whiles businesses will be checked in line with normal pricing of essentials. Government offices have been tasked to employ adequate safety measures for employees whiles seeking home options for other employees. The security forces – army and police – are to undertake internal preparations for enforcement of the relevant rules. March 20: Ethiopian suspends flights to 30 countries State-affiliated FBC reports that Ethiopian airlines (Ethiopian) has suspended flights to 30 countries due to coronavirus (COVID-19), effective from Friday March 20. At the beginning of the outbreak, Ethiopian maintained a decision to stick to its China route at a time most African airlines had suspended operations to and from the country. Ethiopia currently has nine confirmed cases and tests are being run on hundreds of suspected cases. We would like to inform our esteemed customers that we have stopped flight to 30 countries due to COVID19 virus. #EthiopianAirlines— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 20, 2020 According to journalist Samson Berhane, CEO of the company, Africa’s most profitable and expansive, confirmed that they had made losses of up to $190 million. “We ll probably face the biggest crisis in the history of aviation in Ethiopia,” Tewolde Gebremariam said. The FBC report adds that Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed had announced that all passengers arriving in Ethiopia from COVID -19 affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days, with all cost to be covered by themselves. Uganda has a similar rule in place. Night clubs are to remain closed whiles government is set to release a category of prisonser. Specifically inmates who have children, and whose probationary period is drawing to an end plus those in detention for minor crimes, the PM added. On the subject of religious institutions, Abiy said they had been tasked to take all necessary measures towards the implementation of a robust mechanism to prevent the spread of the virus. All passengers arriving to #Ethiopia will be subjected to a 14 day quarantined period in a designated hotels at their own personal cost.— Samson Berhane Asmelash (@BerhaneSamson) March 20, 2020 March 19: Ethiopians must join world not stigmatize others – Minister Ethiopia’s Health Minister says the coronavirus pandemic was not related to any country or nationality, she said it as a “test against humanity” which required Ethiopians to join the world to defeat. “#COVID19 is not related to any country or nationality. It is a test against all humanity. We should fight it together and defeat it. I call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands with the world to fight this global challenge,” her post on Twitter read. It is believed to be connected to a United States Embassy statement that alerted to rising anti-foreigner sentiments in parts of the country. The embassy cautioned that foreigners were being targeted with the accusation that they were infected with Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. In a security alert said as at March 18, the embassy: “continues to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment.” Typical derogatory comments such as “China” and “ferengi” (a reference to foreigners) have been “reportedly coupled with the label ‘corona’, indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of Covid-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia,” it added. “Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services… being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with Covid-19,” the embassy added. Ethiopia recorded its first case last week of a Japanese national. The cases have risen to six, the sixth being of a British diplomat. Health authorities said they were testing over 900 people for the virus as part of contact tracing efforts connected to confirmed cases. Across Africa, there is a view that most confirmed cases have been imported largely from Europe. Most index cases were of either European nationals or of Africans with recent travel history to Europe. There are sixteen deaths so far, as at March 19. U.S. president Donald Trump has been under fire on Twitter for referring to the coronavirus as “The Chinese Virus.” Most people have called the reference racist especially with the WHO cautioning against tagging a global malady with a certain category of people. March 16: Ethiopia’s COVID-19 rules: Crowd ban, free transport, regulate essentials etc. Ethiopia confirmed the fifth coronavirus case on Monday (March 16), a day after it had recorded an increase of three in addition to the index case that was recorded last week. The office of the Prime Minister issued a statement surrounding key measures taken by government to safeguard public safety and orderliness. The COVID-19 National Ministerial Committee at its second meeting led by PM Abiy agreed on a number of measures aimed at addressing containment and potential spread of the virus. It announced a 10-point measure that was set to last “for the next two weeks, subject to further assessments,” the statement read. the measures included wide-ranging public bans, social interventions and regulating of economic activities propped up by the pandemic. Large gatherings including sporting events had been banned whiles small gatherings required clearance from the Health Ministry. All educational institutions with the exception of higher learning institutions were to be closed. Religious institutions and places of worship are tasked to limit gatherings A national hygiene and preventive measures movement launched from federal level to local levels Government announced allocation of budget for distribution of masks, soap, alcohol solutions and other items in critical locations. Government buses are to be availed free of charge to help control crowding in public transport. Special buses designated to take public servants to work. Private transporters are also asked to follow suit. Trade ministry to monitor and act against businesses engaging in price-gouging Special attention to be paid to the elderly. Volunteers tasked to compliment government education, prevention efforts. “The Prime Minister calls upon all to maintain calm and equip themselves with accurate information from the Ministry of Health. “Citizens are asked to maintain strong hand hygiene and avoid (ing) unnecessary physical contact in line with Ministry of Health guidelines,” the statement concluded. PM Abiy over the weekend disclosed that he had reached a partnership with Chinese e-commerce founder Jack Ma for an Africa wide supply of key coronavirus materials including masks, testing kits and literature. Together with members of my cabinet, I have accepted WHO and DrTedros’s #SafeHands challenge as a means of preventing the spread of #COVID19. I challenge EmmanuelMacron and MohamedBinZayed— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) March 16, 2020Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:25:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) opposition leader 'kidnapped' on campaign trail - Party’s main opposition party, Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) have confirmed that its leader and 11 other members have been missing since Wednesday, March 25. Soumaila Cisse and his entourage are believed to have been kidnapped during an election campaign in a region where terrorists frequently carry out attacks. Cisse lost presidential polls to incumbent Ibrahim Boubakar Keita in 2013 and in 2018. A URD statement on Thursday said none of the group had been reachable since late afternoon on Wednesday, at a time they were expected to reach the village of Koumaira in the northern region of Timbuktu. The party’s statement referred to the incident as a kidnapping but did not give any further details as to who may have been behind it. “Still no news of him or his delegation,” URD Vice President Madani Traore told Reuters. The party said it has set up a crisis committee and urged the government, military and U.N. peacekeepers to help find the missing group. Militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State launch frequent attacks on civilian and military targets in the area. Despite having recorded first two cases of coronavirus in the expansive West African country, government confirmed that long-delayed legislative elections were due to take place this Sunday. The vote due in 2018 was rescheduled with rising insecurity. Mali till yesterday was one of three West African countries that had no coronavirus cases. As at today, only Sierra Leone is virus-free in the region after Guinea-Bissau the other virus-free country recorded two case on the same day Mali did.Fri, 27 Mar 2020 05:42:13 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) justice in spotlight after controversial rulings [Morning Call] freelance journalist Khaled Drareni has been jailed after an Algiers court quashed his judicial appeal on wednesday. Drareni had been arrested on March 7 while covering the start of an anti-regime demonstration in Algiers, where he was correspondent for the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He is charged of “inciting an unarmed gathering and undermining the country’s territorial integrity. So, how is Algeria and the popular Hirak protest movement reacting to this news? @jerrybambi1Thu, 26 Mar 2020 08:54:50 (Jerry Bambi) stranded abroad as COVID-19 shuts borders [Travel] on airport floors, holed up in one of the last hotels open in a foreign city or put in mandatory quarantine for 14 days with little cash and little hope for returning home. This is the plight of the hundreds of thousands of stranded travelers of all nationalities around the world. Some 40 countries across the globe have decided to shut their borders with little or no notice in the last three days alone. Countries such as Morocco immediately took precautions, including the quarantine of those coming from Europe, a curfew, as well as the closure of borders, and suspending flights. My sister is one of these U.S. travelers stranded in Morocco. They are trying to get home and NOT getting enough help from the US, after Morocco abruptly closed its borders. USEmbMorocco</a> <a href="">#coronavirus</a> <a href="">#COVID19</a> <br> <a href=""></a> via <a href="">Yahoo— Laura Leighton (@LauraLeighton) March 19, 2020 Other countries such as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, where many French tourists and business people live also imposed restrictive measures against high risk European countries. According to the French authorities at least 50,000 French nationals are stranded in African countries. However the number of stranded African travelers remains unknown and solutions remain limited. Nyasha K Mutizwa speaks to Africanews journalist, Daniel Mumbere who works in the Republic of Congo but is currently stuck in Uganda due to travel bans imposed in both countries. She also speaks to travel expert Kojo Bentum-Williams on possible solutions for stranded travelers. @NyashaKMutizwaThu, 26 Mar 2020 08:50:00 (Nyasha K. MUTIZWA) deploys troops after deadly Boko Harm attack [Morning Call] is recounting its losses after recording what it has described as the deadliest-ever attack by the Boko Haram armed group on the country’s military forces. At least 92 soldiers were killed in an attack on them that lasted at least seven hours on the Boma peninsula, Lake Chad region. Military reinforcements sent to help out were also said to have been hit by the islamists while 24 army vehicles were destroyed, including armoured vehicles and a cart of weapons stolen from the military in speedboats. President Idriss Déby lamented on a visit to the area saying the enemy had hit the country’s defences hard. He vowed to take revenge on Boko Haram and reinforce security in the zone.Thu, 26 Mar 2020 08:36:32 (Jerry Bambi) combat: Ethiopia to free over 4,000 prisoners has announced it would free thousands of inmates from the country’s overcrowded prisons as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Attorney General Adanech Abebe told state media the measure would apply to more than 4,000 prisoners, many of whom are locked up for petty crimes and drug offences or have less than a year remaining on their sentences. Conditions in Ethiopia’s prisons are harsh and in some cases life threatening, marred by “gross overcrowding and inadequate food, water, sanitation, and medical care, according to the latest annual human rights report on Ethiopia from the US State Department. As of Tuesday evening, Ethiopia had confirmed 12 cases of COVID-19, after conducting 480 laboratory tests. Officials say all the cases involve people who travelled from abroad or had direct contact with people who travelled from abroad. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeals for Ethiopians to practice social distancing have fallen on deaf ears, as large crowds continue to gather in Addis Ababa, for religious ceremonies and other events.Thu, 26 Mar 2020 05:06:11 +0000editorial@africanews.com deploys soldiers after deadliest Boko Haram raid on military has deployed troops to boost security after Boko Haram militants killed 92 soldiers and wounded 47 more in the deadliest attack ever on the country’s military. The soldiers were attacked on Monday on the island village of Boma in the swampy Lake Chad zone in the west of the country, where the armies of Chad, Nigeria and Niger have been fighting the terrorists for years. Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in recent months on the islands of the Lake Chad basin where it takes advantage of the vast terrain to launch assaults. Boko Haram’s insurgency has killed 36,000 people and displaced nearly two million in northeastern Nigeria since it began, according to the UN. Since 2015, countries in the region have cooperated in the Multinational Joint Force, a regional coalition engaged around Lake Chad with the help of local residents formed into vigilante groups.Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com rundown: New cases, flurry of restrictions, fear of escalation’s public hospital doctors and nurses went on strike Wednesday over a lack of protective gear as the coronavirus begins to spread in a country whose health system has almost collapsed. It’s the latest blow to a nation where some patients’ families are asked to provide such basics as gloves and clean water. “Right now we are exposed and no one seems to care,” said Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president, Tawanda Zvakada. The president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, Enock Dongo, confirmed nurses’ participation. Zimbabwe has three cases of COVID-19 and recorded its first death this week. Neighboring South Africa’s coronavirus cases jumped to 709, its health minister said, as the country with Africa’s most cases prepared to go into lockdown Friday. Dog-walking is barred, police said, along with running and alcohol sales. Borders are closed to human traffic. South Africa’s police minister, Bheki Cele, said two people with the coronavirus have been charged with attempted murder because they didn’t obey orders to isolate themselves. Cases across Africa are now well above 2,400. Forty-six of the continent’s 54 countries have the virus with Mali, Libya and Guinea-Bissau the latest to confirm their first. In western Kenya, riot police fired tear gas after traders resisted attempts to close a crowded market in Kisumu to help curb the virus’ spread. The country has 25 cases and on Wednesday imposed a curfew, as did South Sudan. “Our government keeps telling us to stay indoors yet we don’t have money to eat,” said one trader in Kisumu, Joash Okoth Abute. “There are only a few people with money and many without money, so I am pleading with the government to ensure all Kenyans are secure. Help us.” As cases rose to 68 in Ghana, some people debated imposing a lockdown. “What are we going to eat?” asked Ali Seidu, a driver in the capital, Accra. Civil servant Abraham Ofei disagreed: “If they do not do it early, by the time they decide it will be too late.” Some African leaders scolded citizens for not adhering to prevention measures. “Countrymen and women, I have gone ’round the city and I have seen for myself that many among us are not taking this COVID-19 seriously,” Zambian President Edgar Lungu said in Lusaka. “I have seen multitudes patronizing bars or freely hugging and shaking hands at funerals, contrary to health advice.” The country has 12 cases. In Uganda, an eight-month-old baby was among the latest cases. That country barred public transport for two weeks. Eritrea barred all passenger flights for two weeks as its cases rose to four. Sierra Leone declared a year-long state of emergency despite not having a case. And Congo closed its borders. The sprawling nation has one of Africa’s weakest health systems and has been battling another global health emergency, an Ebola virus outbreak. As more African countries impose restrictions on gatherings and travel, many informal workers suffer. Ethiopia’s government in a proposal to the Group of 20 major industrialized nations has said Africa needs a $150 billion emergency financing package because “COVID-19 poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries.” South Africa has an unemployment rate of 29% and the lockdown will hit workers hard. But authorities fear what will happen if the virus sweeps through crowded low-income communities and public transport. Teeming prisons are another worry across Africa. Ethiopia’s state broadcaster EBC cited the attorney general as saying more than 4,000 prisoners with minor offenses or children will be released. African countries that have not recorded cases are Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Burundi, Malawi, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho and Sao Tome and Principe, according to the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Some have the most fragile health systems on the continent. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. APThu, 26 Mar 2020 06:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com police enforcing coronavirus restrictions on transport, markets police fired tear gas to bring an end to the activities of local ‘Matatu’ commercial transport drivers. It is feared that the use of these minibuses will help spread the COVID-19 infection. Police are also stopping markets from taking place and telling traders to stay at home. The measures are part of government restriction to contain the spread of the virus. Kenya as at Mach 25 had recorded 28 cases. George Seda, sergeant in the Kisumu country government said: “The directive was that all the markets should be closed and that is why we are here, we are mobilizing, we want all the traders to go and stay at home because of this coronavirus. “It is a deadly disease, so that is why we are here we want at least everybody to go home and be at home to avoid this deadly disease coronavirus,” he stressed. The area governor last week banned all official market days to contain the spread of coronavirus. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also announced on Wednesday Kenya will impose a countrywide curfew effective Friday evening as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.Thu, 26 Mar 2020 05:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com attack in Mogadishu claims two lives Somali police officer says a suicide bomber has walked into a tea shop in Somalia’s capital and detonated, killing at least two people. Capt. Mohamed Hussein says the bomber, posing as a pedestrian, entered the shop and detonated his vest among the crowd. Wednesday’s blast in Mogadishu was the first since the country confirmed its lone case of the coronavirus on March 16. The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility. It often targets the capital. The blast shattered a period of calm amid a large security presence in Mogadishu that officials had said prevented al-Shabab from smuggling explosives-rigged vehicles into the city. APThu, 26 Mar 2020 05:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com terrorists killed 70 Nigerian soldiers in restive northeast least 70 Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush on their convoy by terrorists in the restive northeast, military and security sources said on Tuesday. Insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades at a lorry carrying troops as it travelled near Gorgi village in Borno state on Monday, two military officers told AFP without giving their names. “It was a huge loss, at least 70 soldiers have perished in the ambush,” one of the officers said. “The terrorists specifically targeted a truck loaded with soldiers with RPGs and incinerated the vehicle, killing all on board,” a second officer said. “So far 70 bodies have been recovered but the toll is certainly more than that as rescue operation is still underway.” Several soldiers were injured and some others taken captive by the jihadists, the two officers said. A spokesman for the Nigerian army told AFP that he was unable to comment on the reported attack. The convoy had left regional capital Maiduguri on its way to launch an offensive on a camp belonging to jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group in the area, a member of a government-backed militia fighting the insurgents told AFP. The Islamic State West Africa Province faction split from Boko Haram insurgents in 2016 and has focused on attacking troops, raiding bases and laying ambush on military convoys. The group has been accused of increasing attacks on civilians and taking hostages at bogus checkpoints on main roads in the region. The decade-long conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced 1.8 million in the northeast of Nigeria. Fighting has also spilt over the border into neighbouring countries, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents. AFPThu, 26 Mar 2020 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com of the day, March 25, 2020 samples the best pictures of the day’s news.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com's handful coronavirus-free nations: Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Burundi etc. are eight African countries that have not recorded a case of coronavirus as at midday GMT of Sunday March 25. 46 African countries have officially recorded cases. The death toll had passed 50 whiles recoveries were also rising. The region with the highest virus-free countries being southern Africa whiles Central Africa had one country – Sao Tome and Principe. The classifications are based on where the countries are located especially in the case of countries that belong to two different blocs, like Tanzania in East Africa, despite belonging to EAC and SADC. Experts have stressed that it is only a matter of time before these countries likely detect cases even though much of the continent is closing borders to combat spread and improve containment of confirmed cases. The eight virus-free group comprises the following: 1. Sao Tome and Principe 2. Comoros 3. Lesotho 4. South Sudan 5. Burundi 6. Sierra Leone 7. Malawi 8. Botswana Africa Center for Disease Control shared a map of 43 infected countries before Libya and Mali confirmed cases.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 18:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com attack ever: Boko Haram kills 92 Chadian soldiers - Deby Haram extremists have killed at least 92 Chadian soldiers in the deadliest attack on the nation’s forces, Chad’s president said. The attack took place overnight Sunday into Monday in the village of Boma in the Lac province near the border with Nigeria and Niger. President Idriss Deby gave the toll on state television late Tuesday after visiting the site. “Never in our history have we lost so many men at one time,” he said. Boko Haram extremists have killed tens of thousands and forced millions from their homes during their more than decade-long insurgency. They have carried out numerous attacks in the Lake Chad region where Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger come together. The Islamic extremist group also killed 50 Nigerian soldiers on Monday in a separate attack in Yobe state in Nigeria’s north.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 15:15:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Defence Minister dies in Juba Defence Minister died of a heart attack in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. General Jamal al-Din Omar was suffering from chronic illnesses, the Sudanese army spokesman said. He became head of the Defense Ministry after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir. Before becoming minister, he headed the Transitional Council’s Security and Defence Committee, a position to which he was appointed by its president, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, in May. As head of the Defence ministry, General al-Din Omar was a key figure in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Sudanese Transitional Government and the armed factions that took part in the unrest in Darfur. On Monday, the minister expressed confidence that an agreement with the rebel forces would soon be signed to establish a national army. AFPWed, 25 Mar 2020 14:57:19 +0000editorial@africanews.com our states prepared to deal with the Coronavirus? [Press review] first critical observation is made by Zimbabwe newspaper Daily News. The daily reports on the last hours of the first COVID-19 fatality in the southern African nation, high profile media personality Zororo Makamba.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 10:24:40 +0000editorial@africanews.com to lift Wuhan lockdown on April 8, as coronavirus epicenter heals authorities have announced they will end a two-month lockdown of the most of virus-affected central Hubei province in April, as domestic cases of the virus continue to subside. People with clean bill of health will be allowed to leave, the provincial government disclosed. From April 8, Wuhan will lift the control measures for the passages from the city of Wuhan and Hubei Province, and orderly restore the external traffic. The personnel departing Wuhan will move safely and orderly with the Hubei health green code. The outbreak has gradually been brought under control, and Hubei has seen almost no new infections for more than a week. Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 381,000 people and killed over 16,500. More than 101,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 07:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com Coast: luxury real estate sector in crisis [Morning Call] homes are no longer able to attract potential occupants in some of Ivory Coast’s main citiesWed, 25 Mar 2020 12:15:32 (Jerry Bambi) imposes nightly curfews to curb COVID-19 spread has declared a curfew starting from Wednesday, March 25) to counter the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The north African country is one of the most impacted on the continent. Schools and universities, which were shut on March 14 for two weeks, will be extended for a further two weeks. Announcing the new measures, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said: “We announce a (nightly) curfew on public movement on all public roads starting from 7 p.m. Wednesday (1700GMT) until 6 a.m. the next day (0400GMT). I am stressing here that all the announced measures will last for two weeks.” Most public services and government offices will close their doors to the public during the curfew period and a measure to limit the number of government employees going to work will be prolonged until mid-April. As at March 24, Egypt has confirmed 366 cases of coronavirus, including 21 deaths. All airports have been closed to air traffic except for cargo and emergency flights. It has taken a series of measures to prevent the spread of the illness, including closing all cafes, shopping malls, sports clubs and nightclubs since March 19.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 06:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com for late Afrojazz legend Manu Dibango [Morning Call] death of veteran Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango was confirmed on Tuesday by his family and representatives. Dibango succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic at a hospital in the French capital, Paris. Since then reactions have continued to pour in from around the world for the legendary saxophonist. So how is Africa reacting to news of his death? First we take a look at how Dibango’s home country of Cameroun is reacting in this report @jerrybambi1Wed, 25 Mar 2020 05:58:16 (Jerry Bambi) least 70 Nigerian soldiers killed in B'Haram attack [Morning Call] onslaught against the military in Nigeria’s northeast has left at least 70 soldiers dead. Boko Haram fighters carried out the attack in an ambush near Goneri village in northern Yobe state, according to military officials and villagers. Nigeria’s defence military has confirmed the news saying it had suffered some casualties in an unfortunate attack. So what really happened? First, we know that the ambush that led to the unfortunate casualties according to the defence ministry occurred near the town of Goneri. But it had actually not started there. According to some sources, Nigeria’s military had tried to launch an offensive against the Boko Haram armed group over the weekend but got cornered as they advanced. @jerrybambi1Wed, 25 Mar 2020 05:56:31 (Jerry Bambi) of African music: Olomide, Angelique Kidjo mourn Manu Dibango world of music is still in shock after the announcement of the death of Cameroonian afro-jazz icon Manu Dibango. The celebrated global saxophonist is celebrated for his exceptional blend of jazz, funk and traditional west African styles. His 60-year career ended when he succumbed to COVID-19 at age 86 in a Parisian hospital. The entire French Africa region is reeling with his loss, with condolence messages from Presidents of Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Gabon. Also in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fans have been paying tribute to the legendary saxophonist. For his part, Congolese musician Koffi Olomide said: “Everybody knows, his song that was plagiarized by the great Michael Jackson “Soul Makosa”, everybody knows that, but my throat is tight because life is strange, life is really strange, Manu Dibango today is no more.” Manu Dibango is remembered as a legend who put African music on the world map and inspired many artists including the likes of Benin’s grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo, she described Dibango as the original giant of African music. For his part, Prof. Yoka, Director of the Congolese National Arts Institute said: “He had great hope for Africa, especially in terms of copyright, in terms of neighbouring rights, he had great hope for Africa. In terms of aesthetic innovation too, because that’s what’s most lacking today.”Wed, 25 Mar 2020 05:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com pollution across Asia, Europe drops - thanks to coronavirus pollution has significantly declined thanks to the coronavirus pandemic which has slowed industrial production across the world. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-5P earth-observation satellite, captured this development as northern Italy went into lockdown due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. From 1 January to 11 March, northern Italy’s nitrogen dioxide levels dropped. Simonetta Cheli of the Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, at ESA said: “The NO2 concentration, which is basically been somehow decreasing quite impressively in the last few months. “This decrease can be caused, certainly to the coronavirus,” he stressed. It’s a similar picture in China’s Hubei province, which includes virus epicenter Wuhan. From 20 December 2019 to 16 March, Hubei province sees a “dramatic reduction” in nitrogen dioxide emissions. “The variation of NO2 emissions of dioxide was pretty impressive. It was certainly due to the fact that in the Hubei region in China, all activities were reduced dramatically due to the lockdown,” he added. Readings from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite show that over the past six weeks, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than in the same period last year.Wed, 25 Mar 2020 05:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com 60 Ethiopians suffocate to death on truck in Mozambique than 60 undocumented migrants believed to be Ethiopians have been found dead in a cargo truck in Mozambique’s northwestern Tete province. The truck entered Mozambique from Malawi and was stopped early Tuesday at a checkpoint in Moatize, near the Zambezi River, according to Zitamar News. When authorities heard bashing noises coming from inside the container, they ordered the driver to open it and they found 14 survivors inside as well as the bodies. The deceased died from a lack of oxygen, according to officials. The Mozambican driver later admitted he had been hired to smuggle the migrants from Malawi to Mozambique. The survivors will be screened for the coronavirus and quarantined, health officials told Zitamar. Mozambique is a transit route for African migrants trying to reach South Africa, one of the continent’s largest economies, according to the International Office on Migration. So far this year at least 200 illegal migrants, mostly from Ethiopia, Malawi, Egypt and Somalia, have been arrested for attempting to enter Tete province and all indicated that their destination was South Africa, according to Zitamar. APWed, 25 Mar 2020 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com to keep safe from coronavirus [Multimedia] widely used proverb across parts of Africa is: “Prevention is better than cure.” It could have different variation in terms of wording but drives home the fact that prevention of a problem should always be a priority. This proverb is perhaps at the front of preventive response to the coronavirus pandemic that has plunged the world and especially Africa into a frantic race to first prevent and to contain and control the virus. The World Health Organization, WHO, has prioritized the area of preventive education in dealing with the crisis. Different disease control outfits, be they global, continental or national; are driving home the issue of prevention. Indeed, government interventions especially in the are of lockdowns – which are gaining currency – on the continent are to prevent spread of the virus which has been known to easily infect and even more easily spread. Whiles focusing on coverage of major developments, Africanews is also obliged to on our part do the little we can in this regard. Below are some graphics and a video of effective prevention methods pooled from the WHO and other credible outfits. The general rules include but are not limited to: Effective washing of hands with soap Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers Coughing or sneezing into the elbows When – for some reason – you cough into hands, wash with soap or use a tissue and dispose it off properly Disciplining oneself from not touching your face Staying more that 3ft (1m) away from others and practicing social distancing Staying at home when sick and calling medics and disclose all travel history Self-isolate immediately you develop any symptoms Maintaining extra care when using public transport or in public places Avoid contact with sick people Avoid shaking hands, hugging and kissing Thoroughly disinfecting surfaces Sharing only credible information on the coronavirus .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Understanding coronavirus terminology: Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Self-Isolation = People who think they have the virus or have tested positive for the virus. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Quarantine = People who have been exposed to the virus and don’t have symptoms. Social Distancing = Protective measure between people who have not been exposed to the virusTue, 24 Mar 2020 17:40:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com a global music icon: Cameroon's Manu Dibango 'goes home' Cameroon to Africa and the world. The death of veteran Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango was confirmed on Tuesday by his family and representatives. He succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic at a hospital in the French capital, Paris. A message on his official Facebook page confirmed the death reading in part: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Manu Dibango, our Grandpa Groove, on 24 March, 2020 at the age of 86, after contracting covid 19.” The 86-year-old Cameroonian, best known for the 1972 hit “Soul Makossa,” is one of the first worldwide stars to die as a result of COVID-19. The Cameroonian’s name is trending worldwide on Twitter. Whiles several high-profile personalities from presidents to fellow artistes and fans from across the world continue to celebrate his life and craft – testament to how the saxophonist, singer and songwriter was a big global star. Presidents of Senegal, Burkina Faso and Gabon have all tweeted their condolences whiles Benin’s Angelique Kidjo and Senegal’s Youssou Ndourr have all praised the talent of Dibango. Kidjo described him as a the “original giant of African music.” Here are some quick facts about Dibango Born in 1933 in the city of Douala, he attended church from where he honed his music skills. Celebrated for a unique blend of jazz, funk and traditional Cameroonian music. Influenced bands from Kool and the Gang in the 1970s to hip-hop in the 1990s. Best known for his hit Soul Makossa. Video below He served as the pioneer chairman of the Cameroon Music Corporation. UNESCO appointed him Artist for Peace in 2004 Collaborated with artists several artists including Nigeria’s Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and US pianist Herbie Hancock. On record to have sued Michael Jackson and Rihanna in 2009, accusing the duo of unlawfully adopting some of his lyrics. He eventually settled out of court. .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%; } Manu’s global legend was tied to his hit song Soul Makossa, which was originally composed for the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon that year. The ambassador of Afro-jazz, although he is African and deeply rooted in his homeland, has always considered his music as a link between cultures and generations. Despite his advanced age, he has always continued in the field and teamed with the younger generation. He has explored rhythms as diverse as reggae, rap and electronic music; celebrating traditional Africa and contemporary jazz with his stentorian voice.Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:30:00 (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban) Buhari tests negative, top aide tests positive’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has tested negative to COVID-19. This comes as his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari tested positive for the disease. The test was carried out on the President on Monday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC). However, fears are emanating that the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari who has tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus disease may have transmitted the virus to more people including Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu; Minister of Special Duties, George Akume; Minister of State for FCT, Ramatu Tijani; Geoffrey Onyeama, and other dignitaries and visitors at the prayers held on March 17th, 2020 for the deceased mother of the Kogi State Governor. Kyari who represented President Buhari at an event, had traveled to Germany in March 7th where he he held meetings with Siemens group on the Nigeria electricity expansion programme. It is presumed he probably contracted the disease, from there. He returned on March 14th, three days before he attended the Fidau prayer. The cheif of staff submitted himself voluntarily for testing and was informed of his status on Monday. He has since then gone into isolation and treatment. First Lady bars access to Buhari as Abba Kyari reportedly tests positive for COVID-19— Daily Nigerian (@daily_nigerian) March 24, 2020 Nigeria which had only one case of COVID-19 when the pandemic hit the country on February 28 now has 40 confirmed cases. Globally, the disease has affected 192 countries with more than 329,000 cases. In Africa, 42 out of the 54 countries that make up the continent are affected.Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:06:33 (DIBIE IKE Michael) Africa's coronavirus tally hits 554 as total lockdown looms Africa’s coronavirus cases leapt again to 554 on Tuesday, the most of any country in Africa, as its 57 million people rushed to prepare for an unprecedented lockdown that begins Thursday. Across Africa, 43 of its 54 countries now have cases, with the total at 1,788. Thirteen countries have reported 58 deaths. South Africa has not recorded one. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced the 21-day lockdown. Rwanda and Tunisia earlier announced lockdowns. Determined shoppers made their last runs for supplies as authorities tried to reassure the public that food would not run out. Workers in South Africa will be required to stay home except for those in essential services including health care and security as well as the production and distribution of food, utilities and medical products. Individuals can leave home only under “strictly controlled circumstances” to access essential items. The country’s economic hub of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, has South Africa’s highest number of infections with 302, followed by the Western Cape, which includes the city of Cape Town, with 213 cases. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said officials expected the number of cases to continue to rise despite the lockdown, but changes might be seen around the end of the second or third week of the lockdown. “We must not be shocked when we see the increase,” Mkhize said. Elsewhere in Africa, South Sudan closed its borders as the country struggling to rebuild from a five-year civil war tried to prevent the virus from arriving. Nigeria’s ban on international flights began. And Ethiopia’s government issued a proposal to the G20 global forum for economic cooperation ahead of the G20 summit, saying “COVID-19 poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries.” The statement asks for a $150 billion emergency financing package for Africa. It also proposes that all interest payments to government loans, and part of the debt of low-income countries, should be written off. African nations’ economies are expected to take a severe hit from the coronavirus as borders close and trade drops. APTue, 24 Mar 2020 12:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com set July date for presidential re-run [Morning Call] will return to the polls in early July for a presidential election rerun ordered by the country’s top court, which annulled last year’s vote results because of irregularities. The country’s electoral commission announced Monday that fresh presidential polls will be held on July 2. Voter registration for the polls will begin in April and run until June 7 in four phases according to Electoral Commission Chief Jane Ansah. Our journalist Hauwa Suileman tells us more. @jerrybambi1Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:56:13 (Jerry Bambi) in lockdown after confirmed cases of COVID-19 [Morning Call] of Madagascar’s cities are on lockdown. The reason? Well, you just might know. An effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus across the Indian Ocean nation. President Andry Rajoelina in a televised nationwide address ordered the lockdown from Monday saying “Everyone, stay at home!”. The cities are that of Antananarivo and Toamasina in the east. The army has also been mobilised to enforce the lockdown. We hear more in this report.Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:52:01 (Jerry Bambi) Famous Saxophonist Manu Dibango dies at the age of 86 Afro-jazz legend, Manu Dibango is dead, he died at the age of 86. The family of the Cameroonian singer and saxophonist on his facebook page on Tuesday,announced on his death from the consequences of the new coronavirus. The author of one of the biggest planetary hits in world music, “Soul Makossa” (1972), is the first world celebrity to die from the virus. He died in the early hours of the morning in a hospital in the Paris region,” Thierry Durepaire, manager of the artist’s music publishing business, told AFP. A statement released by the family reads: “It is with deep sadness that we announce to you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, due to covid-19.” “Soul Makossa”, the song that gave birth to him, has met with an astonishing fate. It started out as the B-side of a single, the main title of which was an anthem for the Cameroonian football team at the African Cup of Nations. Spotted by New York DJs, the track has touched thousand of lives. Manu Dibango had even accused Michael Jackson of plagiarism on a track from the album “Thriller”. A financial agreement had finally been reached. His funeral service will be held in strict privacy, and a tribute to his memory will be organized when possible. “ Durepaire told AFP on the singer’s Facebook page, which is maintained by his family and friends.Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:48:59 (DIBIE IKE Michael)