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[l] at 5/29/20 3:31am
Ethiopian security forces in the Oromiya region have executed 39 opposition supporters and arrested thousands of others accused of being members of an armed group, Amnesty International said on Friday. The rights group said in a report that victims were accused of being supporters of the Oromo Liberation Army, the breakaway armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front, which the government had previously declared a terrorist movement but which has been unbanned by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “Security forces have continued to violate human rights despite reforms introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and this is due to widespread impunity and lack of accountability for those violations,” Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher Fisseha Tekle said. The Ethiopian army, the prime minister’s office and the Oromiya and the Amhara police did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Daniel Bekele, the head of Ethiopia’s human rights commission, told Reuters that Amnesty’s findings “should be taken very seriously”. Abiy has brought in reforms that included removing a ban on political parties, releasing political prisoners and welcoming home exiled militant groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front. But the new freedoms have also meant long-repressed tensions have surged between the country’s many ethnic groups. Since December 2018 the Ethiopian army has been deployed in Western and Southern Oromiya to combat an insurgency by the Oromo Liberation Army. “The report is further proof that the new administration has not parted ways with the practice of forcefully stifling dissent, committing egregious human rights violations and carrying out extrajudicial killings,” the Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Federalist Congress, an opposition party, said in a joint statement, calling on the government to investigate the findings. Based on interviews with 80 victims or direct witnesses of violence, Amnesty’s report said the Ethiopian army and regional security forces in Amhara and Oromiya were involved in inter- ethnic killings, mass arbitrary detentions and rape. Agencies

[Author: editorial@africanews.com] [Link to media]

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[l] at 5/29/20 3:30am
South Africa has become a COVID-19 model for the continent in many ways since it confirmed its index case on 5th March, 2020. From the area of testing through to record number of recoveries, South Africa has been praised for pro-activeness in combating the virus. The economic intervention measures rolled out by President Cyril Ramaphosa has also been classed as one of the most comprehensive across the continent. South Africa was one of the earliest to roll out such measures. Challenges have been recorded in the area of enforcing the three-week lockdown which was augmented by two weeks. Spike in cases at certain points and incidents of shoplifting and increase in domestic violence cases have all been headaches Pretoria continues to deal with. That President Ramaphosa is also the current Chairperson of the African Union, AU; means he has the delicate task of juggling national tasks withe the continental as Africa seeks global support to combat the pandemic. Key statistics as at May 12, data from National Institute For Communicable Diseases, NICD The total number of confirmed cases = 11,350 The total number of tests so far = 369,697 Total death toll = 206 Total recoveries = 4,357 Most impacted provinces = Guateng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu-Natal May 12: US donates ventilators The U.S. government is donating “up to 1,000” ventilators to South Africa to help the country respond to COVID-19 as the Trump administration addresses criticism that it hasn’t done enough for countries in need. “South Africa is the first country in the world to receive this state-of-the-art equipment” from the National Security Council and USAID, the U.S. Embassy said in a tweet. Last week, however, Mexico said it received a U.S. shipment of 211 ventilators as part of aid promised by President Donald Trump. The U.S. soon will make similar donations to countries around the world, according to embassy officials. South Africa has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa with more than 11,300, including more than 200 deaths. Virus cases across the 54-nation continent are now above 66,000. For weeks, U.S. officials have indicated that the virus crisis at home has delayed the shipment of crucial medical equipment to other countries. But in recent days the Trump administration has been making plans to ship some 8,000 of the breathing machines to foreign countries by the end of July. The White House has not said how many have been shipped, and it’s unclear if some nations would pay for the ventilators, which cost $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the model. Trump has spoken with the leaders of South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya in recent days about the pandemic. “Nigeria just called. We’re giving them 250 ventilators,” Trump said last week. In a tweet, he said Ethiopia also had asked for the machines. Africa has some of the world’s weakest health systems, and experts have warned they would be rapidly overwhelmed by the virus. African countries have joined forces with each other and the private sector to compete with richer countries around the world for scarce medical equipment, including badly needed testing kits. Some African nations also are turning to manufacturing needed equipment themselves, a development that could help speed up industrialization of a continent that has long imported much of its medicines and other health items from abroad. The U.S.-produced ventilators donated to South Africa are valued at $14 million, and with accessories, service plans and shipping the total donation is worth $20 million, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement Tuesday. The donation brings the total U.S. government financial support to South Africa’s COVID-19 response to more than $41 million, according to the statement. May 6: Cases at 7,572; medics likened to war troops Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Wednesday that two health workers had succumbed to COVID-19 in the line of duty. He said over 500 of them had tested positive for the virus whiles 149 have so far recovered. He posted a series of tweets after receiving a donation of Personal Protection Equipment at a hospital in Rustenburg. “We have a total of 511 health workers who have tested positive. 26 of them are hospitalized & we have lost 2 of them, a doctor and a nurse. 149 health workers have recovered. The contribution of the protective gear is therefore very important. “We have seen the numbers increasing. We said that many of us will get the infection. Our role has been to slow down the rate at which the infection gets to us. “Our health workers are like soldiers who go to war. They must be well trained, well armed and well protected. We want them to be confident that they are well trained, that they understand how they don’t get infected, and how they protect others. “I pay tribute to al our health workers. They have done a great job. We bow our heads and salute you. We appreciate all the work you are doing. Both public and private health workers are one,” he added. April 24: Record daily tests, Ramaphos laughs off mask struggle Nearly 10,000 people were tested in South Africa in the past day (as of April 24) – the biggest daily test number since the virus hit the country. With the record 9,796 tests, a total of 318 new cases, another record, was recorded according to NICD tallies and a post by health minister Zweli Mkhize. The tallies show that about 3% of latest tests were positive – similar to previous days. Case count has neared 4,000 stretching South Africa’s lead over Egypt as the continent’s most impacted. The minister stressed that despite concern with the increased cases, it is a testament to the efficacy of intensified community screening and testing. he said these drastic measures were key for epidemiologists to better understand the impact of the outbreak as it unfolds. Meanwhile, president Ramaphosa has had a busy last 24 hours with a phone call with President Donald Trump during which the American leader pledged support for South Africa in the fight against the virus. As of Friday he continued virtual meetings with other world leaders. The presidency reported that he partook in the launch of the Global Collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID19 tools, an initiative of the World Health Organisation. The president on Thursday evening became the target of social media trolls after he had a hard time with his mask as he arrived to address the media. Social media continues to mock the president with variations and fun perspectives to the incident. #MaskOnChallenge and #CyrilMaskChallenge have been trending on Twitter. “For those who are laughing at me, I’m going to open a TV channel where I’m going to teach people how to put on a mask,” Mr Ramapahosa joked with journalists during a visit to a quarantine facility in Johannesburg on Friday. [WATCH]: President Cyril Ramaphosa shared a lighter moment with journalists at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, where he poked fun at himself putting on a mask, jokingly saying he would start his own TV channel to show people how to put on a mask.#CyrilFridays #CyrilMaskChallenge pic.twitter.com/2FyEc3NCMW— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) April 24, 2020 .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } April 23: Mboweni gives details on new tax measures Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has provided more details on the second set of measures that are aimed at assisting individuals and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. President Ramaphosa earlier this week announced the $26 billion measure in an address. “There is a critical need for government interventions to assist with job retention and support businesses that may be experiencing significant distress,” the National Treasury said in a statement on Thursday. Last month, Mboweni announced the initial measures to assist tax compliant businesses with cash flow assistance and provide an incentive for businesses to retain their lower-income employees. The measures will help businesses focus on staying afloat and paying their employees and suppliers. The measures are expected to provide around R70 billion in support, either through reductions in taxes otherwise payable or through deferrals of tax payments for tax compliant businesses. The eight core interventions included: Skills development levy holiday. Three-month deferral for filing and first payment of carbon tax liabilities. A deferral for the payment of excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Postponing the implementation of some Budget 2020 measures. An increase in the expanded employment tax incentive amount. An increase in the proportion of tax to be deferred and in the gross income threshold for automatic tax deferrals. Case-by-case application to SARS for waiving of penalties. Three other tax measures were announced with the aim to assist individual taxpayers and to provide financial backing from the fiscus to donate to the Solidarity Fund. They were: Increasing the deduction available for donations to the Solidarity Fund, adjusting pay-as-you-earn for donations made through the employer and expanding access to living annuity funds. The above measures will be given legal effect in terms of changes to the two bills mentioned in the Media Statement issued on 29 March 2020 – the Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. READ MORE: Mboweni on Ramaphosa’s new tax measures April 23: SA scores WHO praise A top World Health Organization official has hailed steps taken by South Africa to curb spread of the virus despite being the second most impacted country on the countinent – only behind Egypt as of April 23. The WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director, Michael Ryan, addressing a virtual international press conference in Geneva on Wednesday said South Africa’s strategy pointed clearly to adequate preparedness on the part of government. “The strategy in South Africa was based on preparations, primary prevention, lockdown and primary surveillance and 67 mobile units around the country, 28,000 community health workers trained in case detection. “And I think with over 120 000 tests completed, with a 2.7 % positivity rate – which is incredible for that much testing for that return,” Ryan said. The next sub-Saharan African country with huge test figures is Ghana, where authorities say over 60,000 tests have so far been conducted with 1,154 cases confirmed, the third most impacted in the region. Summary: The big SANDF lockdown deployment The Joint Standing Committee on Defence on Wesnesday announced that it was to deploy additional members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist government’s intervention in the fight against COVID-19. President Ramaphosa wrote to the committee on the employment of the SANDF. He had also informed Parliament regarding the reasons, place, number of soldiers, cost involved, as well as the period of employment. Chairperson Cyril Xaba said the committee is satisfied by the reasons given and the necessity to employ an additional 73 180 soldiers in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “Of critical importance is the deployment of the South African Military Health Services and its capabilities, which is necessary to support the Department of Health, when considering the trajectory of infections expected, as per research by experts. “Furthermore, the committee is satisfied with the reason that the initial 2 820 deployed was insufficient, considering the expected scale of the disease,” Xaba said. The deployment will come with huge financial implications, with the injection of R4.5 billion.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 5/29/20 3:00am
May 22: 7,526 cases, no death recorded in 24-hours No virus-related death recorded in a day for the first time in the month of May 2020, according to records released close of day Saturday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). But 265 new cases across 12 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) took the national tally to 7,526 cases. Lagos recorded the highest tally with 131 cases, with Oyo and Edo completing the top three slots with 34 and 28 cases respectively. The number of recoveries increased from 2,007 to 2,174, with the active cases as at Sunday morning pegged at 5,131. As Nigeria settles into the second phase of the eased lockdown declared by the federal government, the NCDC has issued a modified set of guidelines for businesses as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. In the document released in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and entitled “Guidelines for Employers and Businesses in Nigeria,” the agency listed five points under the general guidelines for work premises as follows: “Wash hands or use an alcohol-based sanitiser as soon as they enter office premises. Ensure hands are washed hands after using the washroom, before eating and regularly throughout the work day, ensuring colleagues follow this sdvice too. “Encourage employees to cover their nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing, followed by washing of hands. Alternatively, sneezing or coughing into their bent elbow if no tissue is available. Used tissues should immediately be disposed of in a covered bin, and not left lying around on any public surfaces. “Ensure provision of covered bins in office and business premises. “Office and business premises should be cleaned and disinfected daily, especially frequently touched surfaces like tables, door handles, countertops, computers, light and air conditioner switches which should be cleaned frequently during the day. “Keep all offices well ventilated, opening windows regularly to enable fresh air.” Additional reporting by The Cable News Portal A total of 7,526 COVID-19 cases have now been confirmed in 34 states and the FCT. Total confirmed cases = 7,526 (new cases = 265) Total recoveries = 2,174 Total deaths = 221 Active cases = 5,131 May 22: 7,261 cases, Buhari’s private Eid, chloroquine warning President Buhari will be observing Eid under strict lockdown rules. He will conduct prayers at home with his family and will not receive the traditional paying of homage by government officials and well wishers, the presidency confirmed in a statement of May 22. “This is in observance of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, put in place “to save lives and protect people from all dangers.” “This is also in line with the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country as well as the protocol against mass gathering issued by the presidential task force on COVID-19,” a statement read. In his address at the May 21 briefing of the task force, SGF Boss Mustapha addressed the issue of chloroquine relative to self medication: “Through the surveillance system set up by the PTF, we have received reports that Nigerians have been purchasing Hydrxoychloroquine in large quantities. “We wish to reiterate that this drug has not being certified for use in treating COVID-19 in Nigeria by the relevant health and pharmaceutical authorities. Self-medication of any kind, is fraught with the danger of increasing risks of avoidable casualties. “We, therefore strongly warn against self-medication. If you are sick, please seek medical advice and if you are confirmed positive, kindly self-isolate in an approved facility. The COVID-19 is highly infectious and dangerous,” he stressed. Total confirmed cases = 7,261 (new cases = 245) Total recoveries = 2,007 Total deaths = 221 Active cases = 5,033 Figures valid as of close of day May 22, 2020 May 22: 7,016 cases, Eid uproar, more evacuations expected The case count has passed the 7,000 mark reaching 7,016 according to stats as of close of day May 21. Level one of eased lockdown remains in place according to National Coordinator of the presidential COVID-19 Task Force. Meanwhile, the subject of easing restrictions on gatherings in some northern states took a new dimension after the leader of Muslims – the Sultan of Sokoto – urged faithful to observe the Eid prayers at home. Whiles Kano, Katsina, Bauchi and Jigawa are on record to have eased restrictions which means people can attend public prayers whiles observing safety protocols, in Kaduna State, the government has kept in place stay away orders. During the daily briefing on the national situation, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama announced that more evacuation plans were underway. He reiterated that so far returnees have arrived from the UAE, UK, US and more recently Saudi Arabia in that order. “We’re coming to end of 14-day quarantine for first and second batches of Nigerian evacuees. Some of them need to travel across State lines to get home. I spoke to Inspector General of Police and he has directed ComPols in Abuja and Lagos to give them personalised passes for travel,” he added. Total confirmed cases = 7,016 (new cases = 339) Total recoveries = 1907 Total deaths = 211 Active cases = 4,898 Figures valid as of close of day May 21, 2020 May 21: 6,677 cases, northern governors express concern The Northern Governors Forum, NGF, has expressed concern over the infection rates of COVID-19 across the region. That 54% of national tally and 70% of new infections are in the region was a cause for concern during their virtual meeting on Wednesday. The issue is further exacerbated by incidents of violent and deadly crime across some states including terrorist violence in Borno, banditry in Katsina and other areas. “The NGF has acknowledged and appreciated the intervention of the federal government following their request to President Muhammadu Buhari for the deployment of more security personnel to the region to tackle banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, and other crimes which are threatening livelihoods and preventing farmers from going to their farms,” chairman and Plateau State governor Simon Lalong said. Touching on the issue of young boys sent across states to unregulated Islamic upbringing centers, the governors agreed that all instances of sending such kids to home states should be done following laid down protocols from profiling through testing till responsible handover. The almajiris have become a hotspot for infection after a number of them tested positive in recent weeks. NGF also agreed to purchase of mobile testing vans to boost testing especially in rural areas. Meanwhile, there is strong misgiving over decision of some states to allow congregational prayers, principally Kano, Bauchi and Katsina. The reprieve comes with days to the post-Ramadan Eid celebrations. Social media users are lambasting state governments who they insist are by their actions endangering the lives of ordinary citizens. They cite rising cases as enough reason to keep stay away orders in place. Total confirmed cases = 6,677 (new cases = 226) Total recoveries = 1,734 Total deaths = 192 Active cases = 4,475 Figures valid as of close of day May 19, 2020 The #COVID19Nigeria situation report for 20th May, 2020 has been published. Our daily #COVID19 situation reports provide a summary of the epidemiological situation & response activities in Nigeria. Download via:https://t.co/Xo1WG4QDYT#TakeResponsibility pic.twitter.com/qWjF4zX7iu— NCDC (@NCDCgov) May 21, 2020 May 20: Cases hit 6,401; state govts tasked to do more Total confirmed cases = 6,401 (new cases = 284) Total recoveries = 1,840 Total deaths = 200 Active cases = 4,637 Figures valid as of close of day May 20, 2020 State governments are being tasked to do more in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the call of Sani Aliyu, national coordinator of the presidential task force. He was speaking at the daily press briefing on Tuesday. “The response to COVID19 cannot primarily be driven at the Federal level, we need states to take more ownership. Our responsibility is to provide guidance and ensure adequate compliance to recommended measures across board,” he stressed. His view is a reiteration of President Buhari’s directive to governors during a virtual meeting on Monday. “In my meeting with the Governors today, I informed them that I have directed the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to work very closely with all State Governors. To succeed in containing this pandemic we have to improve collaboration,” Buhari said in a tweet. Video: At today’s Press Briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, I explained the whereabout of the 15 Chinese Nationals who came into the country. They are still in the country because there is a restriction on travels in Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/E58a6eqOlx— Rauf Aregbesola (@raufaregbesola) May 19, 2020 May 19: Cases top 6,000; lockdown lifting risky Total confirmed cases = 6,175 (new cases = 216) Total recoveries = 1,644 Total deaths = 191 Active cases = 4,340 Figures valid as of close of day May 18, 2020 The federal government says Nigeria is not ready for total lifting of lockdown, hence the first level of easing will be in place for the next two weeks. Speaking at the daily briefing of the presidential task force, SGF Boss Mustapha said a lifting despite small gains will amount to a risk. “The reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority. Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace. “Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued,” he stressed. Task Force recommendations okayed by President Buhari include: a. The measures, exemptions, advisories and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12.00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020); b. intensifying efforts to “tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)” cases; c. elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions; d. Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks e. Imposition of precision lockdown in states,or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases,when the need arises. This would be complemented with provision of palliatives & continued re-evaluation of impact of the interventions; f. Aggressive scale up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high risk states The first phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown in the capital, Abuja, as well as the commercial hub Lagos and Ogun state ended on Monday and the second phase was scheduled to begin after assessment. Officials say the initial loosening of restrictions will be maintained for another two weeks. This means airports, land borders, schools, parks and places of worship will remain closed. Large gatherings and interstate travels remain banned. A nationwide curfew from 20:00 to 06:00 local time still remains in force. The total lockdown imposed on Kano state two weeks ago following reports of unexplained deaths also remains in place. But government offices, banks and markets will continue to operate for limited hours. Additional reporting from BBC May 18 : 5,959 cases, Buhari meets Task Force Total confirmed cases = 5,959 (new cases = 338) Total recoveries = 1,544 Total deaths = 182 Active cases = 4,183 Figures valid as of close of day May 17, 2020 President Buhari on Sunday evening met with the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force team at his residence for their weekly briefing. Among those present were Boss Mustapha; Secretary to the Government of the Federation and head of the Task Force. The Health Minister, national coordinator of the Task Force and the NCDC boss were all in attendance. Nigeria’s response is run by the Task Force which holds daily briefings in the capital Abuja to update the nation on the status of the pandemic in Africa’s most populous nation. President MBuhari receives Briefing from Presidential Task Force on #Covid19 at the State House | 17th May 2020 #AsoVillaToday ?: BayoOmoboriowo pic.twitter.com/qpg8D99WfP— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) May 17, 2020 Nigeria’s current tally of 5,959 cases means it is West Africa’s most impacted country toppling Ghana to the slot. The 338 new cases represent the highest figure in a week. Other news: Kano state officials donate half salaries to COVID-19 response Humanitarian Affairs Minister delivers federal food support to Kano Nigeria impounds UK jet for flouting regulations Lagos outlines conditions for lockdown lifting Delta, Bauchi, Zamfara States distributing food palliatives COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous! The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!??— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) May 17, 2020 May 17 : 5,621 cases, three Dubai returnees infected Total confirmed cases = 5,621 (new cases = 176) Total recoveries = 1,472 Total deaths = 176 Active cases = 3,973 Figures valid as of close of day May 16, 2020 Three people who recently returned from the United Arab Emirates on an evacuation flight have tested positive for COVID-19. Lagos commissioner for health, Akin Abayomi, made the announcement on Sunday via his Twitter handle. “3 of the returnees recently evacuated from Dubai have tested positive for #COVID19 infection following #COVID19 test conducted on them,” he said. He added that the infected persons have subsequently been admitted to a care centre for appropriate treatment protocols. He stressed that Lagos state will continue to adhere strictly to quarantine protocols and enforce necessary precautionary measures so as to contain the spread of COVID-19. The three persons were part of the 256 others who arrived in Lagos from Dubai on May 6 via a special Emirates flight. As per government measures all such returnees are subjected to 14-day quarantine. Lagos State agreed to cater for the set of returnees. Others from the United States and United Kingdom arrived in Lagos but were moved to Abuja where they are observing paid-for quarantine. More evacuations have been planned by the federal government. May 16: 5,445 cases, govt on evacuees expenses Total confirmed cases = 5,445 (new cases = 288) Total recoveries = 1,320 Total deaths = 171 Active cases = 3,959 Figures valid as of close of day May 15, 2020 During their press briefing on Friday, the presidential task force covered a wide range of issues relative to the spread of the virus and containment efforts. SGF Boss Mustapha disclosed how much funds had been raised so far as federal intervention. He put it at over 792 million naira deposited into the Treasury Singe Account from various in-country sources. He further gave updates on federal interventions to help Sokoto and Borno States with some challenges. On Kano, he reiterated that the mystery deaths had stabilized due to cordial relations between federal and state actors. Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said he would be representing Nigeria at an upcoming WHO’s Annual World Health Assembly event (May 17) which is dedicated to efforts aimed at combating COVID-19. Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk reiterated government’s resolve to continue with a remodelled school feeding program where families of beneficiary pupils are given foodstuffs. She disclosed that 3.1 million households were on queue to be served. Contractors list had been submitted to EFCC for due diligence even though they are all old agents and a number of international and local partners are on board to monitor the roll out. For his part, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffery Onyeama explained at length why Nigerian returnees were asked to cater for their accommodation and feeding at isolation centers. “In regards to why evacuees who have paid to come home, will have to pay for feeding and accommodation: this is not by any stretch of imagination that the government is happy to do. “If the resources were available, we would evacuate everybody and if our medical infrastructure were solid and case load was much lower, we could revisit our protocol. “But the fragility of our health infrastructure, the trajectory of the increasing numbers of positive test being what they are, we have to take the greatest care with regards to the protocols adopted. He stressed the importance of quarantining returnees and disclosed that talks of using NYSC centers for the purpose had been mooted and remained under consideration. “We’ve brought in upwards of 620 evacuees who have to be managed, there are human resources needed to be present, to monitor and manage the evacuees apart from other administrative arrangements needed to be put in place. “So we want to take sometime to process the ones we have at the moment before we admit others coming back, because we don’t have the capacity at the moment. This is a challenging situation especially because the funding resources are not available,” he added. May 15: 5,162 cases, Canada evacuation hits snag Total confirmed cases = 5,162 (new cases = 193) Total recoveries = 1,180 Total deaths = 167 Active cases = 3,815 Figures valid as of close of day May 14, 2020 Speaking at the daily briefing of the presidential task force, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed that evacuation plans from Canada had hit a glitch. “It is true the Canadian government denied landing rights to a Nigerian carrier scheduled for evacuation duty, on grounds that the airline does not have a license to undertake commercial flights to Canada. “Our High Commission is engaging with Canadian government on this issue. The argument our High Commissioner is making is that this is not a regular commercial flight, but instead an emergency evacuation flight. So negotiations are ongoing with the Canadian government,” he further clarified. Nigeria has through the Ministry and diaspora commission evacuated nationals from the United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates in the past weeks. Updates: The #Nigeria One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund Board approves US$ 22 million procurement of essential medical supplies to enhance the national response. Read more: https://t.co/uoWUaWLSte#StrongerTogether UN_Nigeria NigeriaGov DigiCommsNG NCDCgov EUinNigeria pic.twitter.com/wm0srAMh33— UNDP Nigeria (UNDPNigeria) May 14, 2020 May 14: 4,971 cases, recoveries pass 1,000 Total confirmed cases = 4,971 (new cases = 184) Total recoveries = 1,070 Total deaths = 164 Active cases = 3,737 Over in north-eastern Yobe State, there are reports of mysterious deaths which authorities say have led to 471 being buried in the past five weeks. The situation is similar to that of Kano State where government has ordered the NCDC to probe a spike in deaths weeks ago. Yobe State Commissioner for Health Muhammad Lawan Gana told the BBC that an initial investigation found most deaths were of elderly people with pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Officials say the toll is unusually high from health issues but have not linked it to the coronavirus. They admit however that some deceased persons had shown symptoms. National coordinator for the presidential task force on COVID-19 last week said the Kano deaths were virus-related but Health Minister Osagie Ehanire later said the investigations were yet to be concluded. May 13: 4,787 cases, Buhari names Abba Kyari’s replacement Case statistics at close of day May 12 stood at 4,787 with 146 new cases. The number of discharged and deaths stood at 959 and 158 respectively. The new cases were spread across 19 states and FCT, the top three being 57 in Lagos, 27 in Kano and 10 in Kwara. Meanwhile, the first virtual Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting was held today during which Buhari named a new chief of staff in the person of Ibrahim Gambari. He succeeds Mallam Abba Kyari, who passed away on April 17, 2020 after contracting coronavirus. The new chief of staff has had a diplomatic distinguished career he was Minister of External Affairs (1984-1985) and subsequently Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (1990-1999). Professor Gambari also served as Joint AU/UN Special Representative in Darfur and Head of UNAMID (2010-2012). He is currently a Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Professor Gambari attended the Provincial (now Government) Secondary School, Ilorin, before proceeding to the Floreat Collegium Kings College, Lagos. He received his BSc (Econs) degree from the London School of Economics (1968) and his MA and PhD in Political Science/International Relations (1970, 1974) from Columbia University, USA. He has taught at Universities in the Unites States, Nigeria and Singapore, and has to his credit the authorship of a number of books. He has received several academic and national honours, including the “Commander of Federal Republic of Nigeria” (CFR), and the “Order of the Champion of the Oliver R. Tambo” (OCORT) of South Africa. He is the Pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Ilorin, Nigeria, as well as the current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano (BUK). He is married with children and grandchildren. May 12: Cases hit 4641, Bauchi lockdown, Madagascar donation Case statistics at close of day May 11 stood at 4,641 with 242 new cases. The number of discharged and deaths stood at 902 and 150 respectively. The new cases were spread across 13 states and FCT, the top three being 88 in Lagos, 64 in Kano and 49 in Katsina. Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed on Monday announced a 10-day lockdown on three areas that border Kano state in a bid to contain spike in COVID-19 cases. He said via a tweet that the lockdown was necessary to curb rapid community transmission that it will allow for effective contact tracing and testing. Governor Mohammed said movement within and out of the local government areas is prohibited so as to allow health officials to work without interference. SGF speaks on Madagascar donation SGF Boss Mustapha during the press briefing of the presidential task force disclosed details about Madagascar’s donation of herbal cure to Nigeria via Guinea-Bissau. “Madagascar has made allocations to various countries, and sent them to Guinea Bissau. We‘re supposed to make arrangements to freight Nigeria’s allocation from Guinea Bissau; it‘ll be subjected to the standard validation process for pharmaceuticals. “Mr President has given instructions for the airlifting of Nigeria’s allocation of the Madagascar Covid-19 Syrup; also given clear instructions that it must be subjected to the standard validation process for pharmaceuticals; there will be no exceptions for this. “Nigeria has only one National Response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Where there are differing Strategies is in the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. But as far as the (Health) Response is concerned, there is only one National Response,” he stressed. May 11: 4,399 cases, Wike demolishes hotel, Kaduna busts escapees Nigeria case statistics stood at 4,399 with 248 new cases. The number of discharged and deaths stood at 778 and 143 respectively. The new cases were spread across 16 states and FCT, the top three being 81 in Lagos, 35 in Jigawa and 26 in Kano and Borno. Over in Rivers State, the demolition of two hotels by the state government for flouting COVID-19 rules have generated a heated backlash on Governor Nyesom Wike. According to the Rivers government, the hotels were demolished for flouting government’s directive on the closure of hotels as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Cable news portal, reports that a human rights lawyer slammed the move as despotic and accused the Governor of arrogating onto himself powers he did not have. “It is absolutely pathetic that under the Quarantine Act upon which the governor purportedly issued the executive order, there is no provision at all for the demolition of properties,” Tope Akinyode said in a statement. Over in Kaduna State, security agencies apprehended two people who fled their homes after test results showed that they had contracted the virus. Governor El-Rufai announced the “escape” decrying its potential impact on residents of the state but hours later, he confirmed that they had been found and since transferred to an isolation and treatment center. Briefs of major daily developments and our COVID-19 blog on Nigeria has more information May 10: 4,121 cases, US repatriation underway May 9: 3,912 cases, UK returnees, stretched bed spaces May 8: 3,526 cases, more repatriation flights expected May 7: 3,145 cases, Niger State patients protest May 6: Ban on flights extended, repatriation starts, cases hit 3,000 mark May 5: Almost 3,000 cases, Gombe patients protest ‘poor care’ May 5: Cases hit 2,802, Buhari waives medical import tax May 4: Relaxation of lockdown starts, Kano deaths explained May 3: Ganduje relaxes Buhari’s lockdown, 2,388 cases so far May 2: Nigeria topples Ghana to become most impacted in West Africa May 1: How Nigeria recorded about 1000 cases in a week May 10: 4,121 cases, US repatriation underway Nigeria case statistics stood at 4,151 with 239 new cases. The number of discharged and deaths stood at 745 and 128 respectively. The new cases were spread across 15 states, the top three being 97 in Lagos, 44 in Bauchi and 29 in Kano. On Sunday morning, the national diaspora commission reported that 160 Nigerians were enroute to Abuja from the United States. The team have since arrived “160 Nigerians stranded in the United State of America boarding in US Enroute to Abuja where they will be quarantined for compulsory 14 days as approved by NCDC and the Ministry of Health,” the commission posted on Twitter. They become the third batch to be repatriated. The first was from the United Arab Emirates last week before another batch flew in from the United Kingdom. Government has stressed that arrangements are being made to help other stranded Nigerians return home. PICTURES. EVACUATION UPDATE: 160 Nigerians stranded in the United State of America boarding in US Enroute to Abuja where they will be quarantined for compulsory 14 days as approved by NCDC and the Ministry of Health.NigeriaGov abikedabiri seunokin APCUKingdom pic.twitter.com/zGxIv1IHq9— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (nidcom_gov) May 10, 2020 Meanwhile Lagos State governor has threatened that a new lockdown could be imposed if people continue to flout rules put in place. Speaking during the first briefing since the five-week lockdown was eased, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said: “Another round of interminable lockdown of movement and business activities would be introduced if there is no improvement in the adherence to the guidelines initiated to break the cycle of transmission of the dreaded virus.” “As a Government elected to uphold security of its citizens, which include health security, we will not hesitate to review the terms of the easing of lockdown if we do not see an improvement in adherence to our public health guidelines in the next couple of days,” he said. “We will be forced to take a painful decision of bringing the entire system under lockdown if we continue to see evidence that Lagosians are determined to flout the rules.” May 9: 3,912 cases, UK returnees, stretched bed spaces The case statistics as of close of day May 8 stood at 3,912 cases with 117 deaths and 679 recoveries, according to the NCDC. The figure represents 386 new cases. Nigeria has also been toppled by Ghana as West Africa’s most impacted. Their cases shot to 4,012 on Friday night with over 900 new cases. Meanwhile over 260 citizens returned from the United Kingdom on Friday on a repatriation flight. They arrived in Lagos and were subsequently flown to Abuja for mandatory quarantine, government confirmed. At Friday’s briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19, the leader SGF Boss Mustapha revealed that states were running out of bed space and that federal plans were afoot to help remedy the situation. “We’ve received Reports from States, which suggests that treatment centres are running out of bedspaces… PTF shall begin to examine our peculiar circumstances, modify strategies for care management, & consider viable alternatives, where necessary,” the SGF said. Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the issue of Nigerians in France seeking to fly to Cotonou, and enter Nigeria by land said: We’ve successfully brought in about 100 Nigerians from Benin & Togo, so we already have tried-and-tested methodology and procedures for bringing Nigerians across the border. NDCD head also disclosed that the country plans to roll out 2 million tests in the next few months and that government and international partners had already started putting in place procurement measures. May 8: 3,526 cases, more repatriation flights expected 381 new cases were recorded by close of day May 7 bringing the case count to 3,526, the NCDC announced. Lagos, Kano and Jigawa recording the top three highest figures with 183, 55 and 44 cases respectively. Nigeria thus extends its lead in the sub-region whiles consolidating its spot in the most impacted nations category across Africa. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama has stressed that more repatriations were expected to be undertaken in the coming days after the first from the UAE arrived on Tuesday. A flight from the UK is expected to arrive today whiles another from the US will land in Lagos on Saturday. The Minister stressed that the process had been made easier thanks to the instrumentality of Lagos State as ‘hosts’ and especially its governor. With respect to repatriation from India, he said negotiations are ongoing with a number of airlines, including Nigerian airlines. Once the Airline(s) are selected; interested Nigerians will be asked to pay directly to the Airlines. For his part, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said federal government continues to replenish stock of Personal Protective Equipment for frontline workers across the country. On the returnees, he reiterated that: “All Nigerians returning from abroad will undergo mandatory supervised quarantine in selected hotels for 14 days, before they will be allowed to go home. They will also be tested; positive cases will be sent to Isolation Centers.” For his part, National Coordinator for the presidential task force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu asked for increased compliance to relaxed measures: “Please respect and follow all the guidelines we have instituted. If we continue to see violations of these guidelines, we will be pushed to review and possibly change them. “Our modelling shows that the positive effects of FULL compliance with the Eased lockdown will be very similar to the effect of a full lockdown. This is why we need everyone to fully comply with all the guidelines issued,” he added. May 7: 3,145 cases, Niger State patients protest Nigeria’s case statistics as at close of day May 6 stood at 3,145 cases with 532 recoveries and 103 deaths. The latest figure indicates 195 new cases with the top three tallies from Lagos, Kano and Zamfara with 82, 30 and 19 cases respectively. Meanwhile in the capital of Niger State, Minna; patients at a government treatment facility threatened to discharge themselves citing poor treatment. It is the second state to record such an incident in days coming on the heels of the Gombe State report. Over in Ekiti State, the government says it will prosecute a man who sneaked into the state despite a lockdown. The violator’s dad refused him entry into the home ordering him to go to the authorities to under self-isolation. The video of the father – son interaction went viral following which the dad was granted audience by governor Kayode Fayemi. He was subsequently named a COVID-19 ambassador by the governor. May 6: Ban on flights extended, repatriation starts, cases hit 3,000 mark The presidential task force on COVID-19 announced a month-long extension on flight ban during its daily briefing on Wednesday. The decision was made on behalf of the federal government under whose auspices it is acting. Meanwhile the first batch of repatriation involving nationals took place today with an Emirates flight that returned 265 Nigerians to Abuja. The flight had to return to Dubai after take off after a woman who gave birth in board developed complications. She was taken back to Dubai and the plane changed before the trip was made. According to Head of Nigeria’s diaspora commission Dabiri-Erewa, the Nigerian ambassador in Dubai, and staff of the embassy are in touch with the mother and child who are in good condition. They will now all go into 14 days of mandatory, supervised isolation in government-selected hotels. This will apply to the thousands of Nigerians expected to return home in the weeks and months ahead. Flights from the UK and US are expected coming Friday and Saturday respectively. BREAKING: Presidential Task Force announcement just now, on behalf of NigeriaGov: “The Ban on all flights will be extended for an additional 4 weeks.”— tolu ogunlesi (toluogunlesi) May 6, 2020 Almost 3,000 cases, Gombe patients protest ‘poor care’ By close of day May 5, there were 2950 confirmed cases of CIOVID-19 in Nigeria, 481 discharged and 98 deaths the NCDC reported. Of the 148 new cases, the breakdown were as follows: 43-Lago, 32-Kano, 14-Zamfara, 10-FCT, 9-Katsina, 7-Taraba, 6-Borno, 6-Ogun, 5-Oyo, 3-Edo, 3-Kaduna, 3-Bauchi, 2-Adamawa, 2-Gombe, 1-Plateau, 1-Sokoto and 1-Kebbi. The news spotlight was in Gombe on Tuesday where persons in isolation protested against poor health care. They blocked a road as part of their protests as locals stood by looking. An official explained that they were asymptomatic despite being infected hence required lesser medical attention, he also dismissed the poor feeding claims. Despite having been persuaded to return to the center, authorities are urging persons who might have come into contact with any of them to self-isolate. Gombe is the fourth most infected state with 98 cases only behind Lagos, Kano, FCT and Borno who occupy the top four slots in that order. May 5: Cases hit 2,802, Buhari waives medical import tax By close of day, May 4; case count had reached 2,802 according to the NCDC. The discharged was at 417 with 93 deaths. The figure represented 245 new cases. A breakdown of which was as follows: Lagos 37-Katsina 32-Jigawa 23-Kano 19-FCT 18-Borno 10-Edo 9-Bauchi 6-Adamawa 5-Oyo 5-Ogun 1-Ekiti 1-Osun 1-Benue 1-Niger 1-Zamfara. Local media reports that President Buhari has also waived import duty on all medical supplies. The blanket waiver on equipment and supplies is part of government’s “efforts to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pndemic.” Before now, importers had only been granted tax reliefs as announced by the Finance Minister who weeks back said government was liaising with stakeholders in the area. This is the latest on a list of fiscal policies by the federal government to cushion the industry from the economic impact of the pandemic. May 4: Relaxation of lockdown starts, Kano deaths explained The easing of a federal lockdown on Lagos, capital Abuja and Ogun states. The government says the reopening of the economy will span over a six-week period. The next two weeks will determine whether or not the process will be continued or reversed in Africa’s most populous nation and its biggest economy. Some key guidelines issued with respect to public places include: Mandatory wearing of face masks, adherence to temperature checks, strict handwashing and use of sanitizers, observance of physical distancing and ban on public gathering. Passenger flights remain prohibited as are interstate travel, governors last month agreed on the latter. Neighbourhood markets are to open thrice a week between 8 am and 3 pm. Banks and financial institutions, category of government offices and corporate sector will also operate between 8 am and 2 pm. Schools, places of worship, clubs, bars and gardens are to remain closed. Meanwhile mysterious deaths in Kano state have been linked to COVID-19 according to the Presidential task Force coordinating the pandemic response. Sani Gwarzo, national coordinator of the task force confirmed the link in an interview with journalists in Kano. “We have five cogent reasons to say that the mass death recorded in Kano is associated with coronavirus.” He listed a number of them as the age of the deceased persons, concentration of the people in one place and “test we have constructed which have element of COVID-19,” Sani Gwarzo, national coordinator of the Task Force told journalists in Kano. He added that the final report would be ready in the next one week or few days, “it is necessary for people of Kano to wake up from their slumber that this is a serious issue. “We need to know what is happening we are successful in identifying what the problems are and secondly we are happy on the level of cooperation the private sector and other stake holders. Many people have come out to support the state we cannot expand our investigation until we are certain,” he stressed. With 170 new cases as of close of day May 3, Nigeria’s tally has reached 2,558 with 400 discharged and 87 deaths. Lagos has 1,107 cases with Kano’s 342 and Abuja’s 278 completing the top three. The closest to 100 mark is Gombe in fourth spot with 96 cases. May 3: Ganduje relaxes Buhari’s lockdown, 2,388 cases so far Kano State governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has announced the relaxing of a federal lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari. As of April 27, when Buhari imposed imposed the total lockdown on the state, the principal reasons were to better understand a spate of “strange deaths” and containment of the rise in COVID-19 cases. But on Saturday, Ganduje announced that there would be free movement in the state between 10am and 4pm on Mondays and Thursdays. He said all the major markets in the state would remain closed, except Ya’nkaba and Ya’nlemo markets where vegetables and fruits are sold. It is not known whether the decision was in consultation with Abuja but the announcement has drawn the ire of social media users who are accusing the governor of being reckless and endangering the lives of people in the state and beyond. Kano recorded one of its lowest figures by close of day May 2 with two cases out of the 220 recorded. The state remains second most impacted with 313 cases behind Lagos’ 10,68 and 266 in FCT. The May 2 tallies stood at 2,388 confirmed cases, 385 discharged and 85 deaths. Kogi State remains the sole uninfected across the federation. Meanwhiles, plans are afoot for a strict implementation of a partial lockdown as announced by Buhari days ago. “I have decided to put in place gradual easing of lockdown measures,” Buhari id in a much-anticipated television address. “We will implement a curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” President Buhari said. “Inter-state borders will remain closed except for basic necessities (…). We will impose the wearing of masks in public places, as well as social distancing measures,” he added. These new measures were not to apply to Kano, due to the “mysterious deaths” that are still being autopsied, and rise in cases. May 2: Nigeria tops tallies in West Africa, 5th on continent Nigeria with tally of 2170 is the new leader in West Africa overtaking Ghana whose cases count stands at 2074. Nigeria also the second most impacted in sub-Saharan Africa and fifth overall on the continent. As of close of day May 1, the NCDC reported 238 new cases, one of the highest daily tallies. The bul of the cases coming from Kano State. Kano’s 92 along with Abuja’s 36 and 30 from Lagos completed the top three infected states over a 24-hour period. The number discharged rose by 32 now at 351 with 10 more deaths bringing the tally to 68. Lagos passed the 1000 infection mark whiles Kano’s stood at 311. Abuja, Gombe and Borno completed the top 5 with 214, 92 and 69 cases respectively. Africa’s most impacted nations include: South Africa = 5,951 Egypt = 5,895 Morocco = 4,569 Algeria = 4,154 Nigeria = 2,170 May 1: How Nigeria recorded about 1000 cases in a week Nigeria as of April 23 was nearing the 1,000 confirmed cases point. Africa’s most populous nation’s tally at the time stood at 981. Roll on the next seven days and the country has seen almost a 1,000 new cases. As of April 30, 2020; the NCDC record showed 1,932 cases with 58 deaths and 319 discharged patients. The current tally indicates a 951 increase since April 23. A breakdown of the increases over the period is as follows: April 24 = 1,095 April 25 = 1,182 April 26 = 1,273 April 27 = 1,337 April 28 = 1,532 April 29 = 1,728 April 30 = 1,932 Kogi State being the only unaffected state so far. Kano State has meanwhile risen to second with 219 cases behind Lagos’ 976 cases. Nigeria is currently second most impacted in West Africa only second to Ghana, where over 2,000 cases have been recorded. President Muhammadu Buhari announced Monday evening a gradual easing of confinement measures from 4 May, but will impose a night curfew and the wearing of masks. Special coverage of COVID-19 in Nigeria READ MORE – Abba Kyari succumbs to COVID-19 Follow rolling updates on our live blog

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[l] at 5/29/20 2:40am
May 21: Rajoelina speaks with Tedros President Andry Rajoelina says Madagascar will sign a confidentiality clause with the World Health Organization on the formulation of COVID-Organics, the purported cure for the coronavirus pandemic. He disclosed this after a teleconference with WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghabreyesus on Wednesday. He also said the WHO had agreed to support the country’s clinical observation process. “Successful exchange with Dr. Tedros who commends Madagascar’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19,” he posted on Twitter. Confirming the call, the WHO boss tweeted: “Good call with HE Rajoelina, President of Madagascar, about the #COVID19 situation in his country. “We discussed how to work together on therapeutics research and development. And we agreed that solidarity is key to fighting the pandemic and keeping the world safe,” he added. Madagascar case stats as of May 21 12:00 GMT Confirmed cases = 371 Recoveries = 131 Deaths = 2 Active cases = 238 Successful exchange with DrTedros who commends #Madagascar’s efforts in the fight against #Covid19.WHO will sign a confidentiality clause on the formulation of the #CovidOrganics and will support the clinical observations process in #Africa. pic.twitter.com/SCZZRDKheV— Andry Rajoelina (@SE_Rajoelina) May 20, 2020 May 11: Madagascar prez dismisses ‘all critics’: would they doubt European cure? President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina has delivered a scathing verdict of persons increasingly speaking against the country’s purported traditional cure for COVID-19. In an exclusive interview with French broadcasters, France24 and RFI, Rajoelina said his country will continue to administer and develop the cure which according to him accounts for majority of its virus recoveries. “We have 171 cases, including 105 cured. The patients who were cured took only the COVID-Organics medication,” he confirmed. Asked about warnings issued by WHO, ECOWAS and Africa CDC, he dismissed them stressing that the warnings are meant to detract and discourage progress of the drug, which Madagascar was not going to allow. “If it weren’t Madagascar, but a European country that had discovered the remedy COVID-Organics, would there be so many doubts? I do not think so…” “We say bad things about the Tambavy CVO product, when it only does good. They want to slow us down, discourage us, forbid us to move forward …” he further stressed. #EXCLUSIF – #Coronavirus : “On a eu 171 cas, dont 105 guéris. Les patients qui ont été guéris ont pris uniquement le produit #COVID_Organics.” Le président de #Madagascar ?? Andry #Rajoelina parle du remède développé sur l‘île et répond à MPerelman et ChBoisbouvier de RFI ⤵ pic.twitter.com/GfKaAvTeXv— FRANCE 24 Français (France24_fr) May 11, 2020

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[l] at 5/29/20 2:00am
May 22: Dar RC declares victory over virus “Hotel owners, barbers, companies and businesses are all back to work. By Sunday, everyone should be happy … our God has won (the virus fight) for us. Turn on your music, that day I have given you freedom,” these are the words of Paul Makonda, regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam. His pronouncement is the latest in the Tanzania government’s posture towards a virus that has led to the imposition of lockdowns and enforcement of physical distancing in most African countries. During an address to a church congregation over the weekend, President Magufuli echoed the God factor in battling the virus which he said was being defeated by the country. “There is not going to be any such thing as lockdown in Tanzania, God will help us. We need to work hard, once the other East Africans are done with their lockdown, they will come to us, and we shall still help them with food, we will not against discriminate them.” Tanzania’s case count has been at 509 for weeks now. No new data have been released and government has dismissed a health alert by the US embassy about overwhelmed hospitals in the largest city, Dar es Salaam. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } May 20: ‘Faulty’ tests of truck drivers: Tanzania accuses Kenya of sabotage The Tanzanian region of Arusha says Kenya is engaging in actions meant to affect its tourist potential by issuing faulty COVID-19 test results for cross-country truck drivers. Regional commissioner Mrisho Gambo in a statement of May 20 said nineteen drivers who were declared positive by Kenya tested negative in Tanzania. “In efforts to confirm reliability of COVID-19 test results, we took samples from 19 drivers from Tanzania who had tested and declared positive by Kenya authorities at Namanga border on Kenyan side. “After these samples were submitted to our main national laboratory in Dar es Salaam, the results came back as negative for all these drivers from Tanzania. Arusha region is confident that this is a deliberate sabotage strategy designed by Kenya against our tourism industry in Arusha and Tanzania at large,” the statement read in part. The commissioner noted that drivers declared “positive” were not allowed to cross the border into Tanzania or enter Kenya. He said Arusha remained committed to finding an amicable solution with Kenyan authorities. The development comes a day after Kenya announced that over 180 foreigners had been returned to Tanzania after testing positive for the virus. Kenya has closed its side of the border due to virus spread. Zambia also recently shut a common border with Tanzania. The town of Nakonde remains Zambia’s most infected area having recorded much more cases that the capital Lusaka.

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[l] at 5/29/20 1:40am
There are now more than over 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic. According to the latest data by the John Hopkins University and Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. As of May 13, every African country had recorded an infection, the last being Lesotho. We shall keep updating this list largely sourced from the John Hopkins University tallies, Africa CDC and from official government data. SUGGESTED READING: Africa’s COVID-19 deaths pass 100,000 mark Major African stats: May 24 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 107,747 Number of deaths = 3,257 Recoveries = 42,924 Active cases = 61,566 Countries in alphabetical order Algeria – 8,113 Angola – 61 Benin – 135 Botswana – 30 Burkina Faso – 814 Burundi – 42 Cameroon – 4,400 Cape Verde – 371 Central African Republic – 552 Chad – 648 Comoros – 78 Congo-Brazzaville – 487 DR Congo – 2,025 Djibouti – 2,270 Egypt – 16,513 Equatorial Guinea – 960 Eritrea – 39 Eswatini – 238 Ethiopia – 494 Gabon – 1,934 (The) Gambia – 25 Ghana – 6,617 Guinea – 3,176 Guinea-Bissau – 1,114 Ivory Coast – 2,366 Kenya – 1,192 Lesotho – 2 Liberia – 255 Libya – 75 Madagascar – 448 Malawi – 82 Mali – 1,015 Mauritania – 227 Mauritius – 332 Morocco – 7,406 Mozambique – 168 Namibia – 20 Niger – 943 Nigeria- 7,526 Rwanda – 325 Sao Tome and Principe – 251 Senegal – 2,976 Seychelles – 11 Sierra Leone – 621 Somalia – 1,594 South Africa – 21,343 South Sudan – 655 Sudan – 3,628 Tanzania – 509 Togo – 373 Tunisia – 1,048 Uganda – 198 Zambia – 920 Zimbabwe – 56 SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa II

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 5/29/20 12:50am
A fire tore through an overcrowded maximum security prison in Cameroon’s port city of Douala on Thursday leading to the hospitalisation of three prisoners with serious burns, a local fire chief said. Firefighters backed up by police were able to contain the blaze and stop it spreading beyond New Bell jail, which sits in a densely populated neighbourhood of the commercial capital, close to the central market. “The operation was made more difficult by the layout and the large number of inmates,” fire brigade chief Kadrey Abdiel said. Human rights groups say Cameroon’s prisons suffer from chronic overcrowding, poor sanitation conditions and disease, and cases of violence and torture are frequent. New Bell was built in the 1930s for 800 inmates, but held around 2,500 as of 2011, according to Amnesty International. Three severely burned prisoners were evacuated, while two firefighters were injured, Abdiel said. Crowds of onlookers had gathered outside the prison, where a large plume of dark smoke billowed from the roof. A few inmates had tried to climb over the prison’s walls, but police around the perimeter stopped them escaping, regional Governor Samuel Ivaha Diboua told journalists. It was not immediately clear what started the fire. Agencies

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[l] at 5/29/20 12:20am
The Algerian government on Thursday extended its strict containment measures throughout most of the country until June 13, urging the population to “continue its citizen mobilization” in order to stop the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed 630 lives. “The government has decided to maintain partial containment at home until 13 June” in 44 of Algeria’s 48 wilayas (prefectures), according to a statement by the prime minister’s office. The confinement has been completely lifted in the other four prefectures, three of which are in the extreme desert south of the country, the statement said. The containment measures are reflected in a curfew from 17:00 to 07:00 (16:00-06:00 GMT) in the nine most affected wilayas, including Algiers and Oran, and from 14:00 to 07:00 in the others. Algerians have spent Ramadan and the Aid El Fitr festivals, which celebrate the end of the month of fasting, confined. Wearing a sanitary mask has been compulsory since Sunday and offenders are sentenced to heavy fines. Since 19 March, the authorities have banned gatherings and suspended all public and private means of public transport within cities and between provinces, as well as rail traffic. The closure of schools and universities, stadiums and mosques, as well as many shops, such as cafes and restaurants and festival halls, remains in effect. On Thursday, the court in Oran (north-western France) placed five people under judicial supervision for having organized an artistic evening in violation of the prevention provisions. According to the Scientific Committee for Monitoring the Evolution of the Pandemic, 9,000 cases of contamination have been officially recorded in Algeria, including 630 deaths, since the first case was registered on 25 February. Despite the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) to suspend clinical trials, Algeria has decided to continue the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of coronavirus. AFP

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[l] at 5/29/20 12:07am
The International Criminal Court on Thursday said former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo can leave Belgium under certain conditions following his acquittal last year over post-electoral violence that killed 3,000 people. Gbagbo and his deputy Charles Ble Goude were both cleared of crimes against humanity a year ago, eight years after the former West African strongman’s arrest and transfer to the Hague-based court. Belgium agreed to host Gbagbo, 73, after he was released in February last year under strict conditions including that he would return to court for a prosecution appeal against his acquittal. An ICC spokesman said Gbagbo could travel provided if the country he was going to agreed to receive him. Gbagbo’s return to Ivory Coast, where his Ivorian Popular Front Party (FPI) is preparing to contest presidential elections in October, therefore remains uncertain. But FPI spokesman Franck Anderson was jubilant. “We are happy, it’s important that these restrictions are lifted,” he told AFP. “We are waiting for the date of his return. We will welcome him,” he said. Gbagbo’s lawyers had appealed for his unconditional release arguing the ICC could not limit the movements of an acquitted person. The Hague-based court on Thursday rejected the demand, but revoked certain restrictions on them including banning “travel beyond the territorial limits of the municipality of the receiving State without the explicit and prior authorisation of the Court.” It also revoked a condition obliging the two men to surrender their identity documents, especially passports, to the court and report weekly to law enforcement authorities in the country they resided in or to the court. AFP

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[l] at 5/28/20 11:50pm
A Rwandan court on Thursday handed a life sentence to a former politician found guilty of orchestrating the killing of tens of thousands of people during the 1994 genocide, a court spokesman said. Ladislas Ntaganzwa, head of the commune of Nyakizu in southern Rwanda, was indicted in 1996 by the Arusha, Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on charges of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, murder and rape. The tribunal closed five years ago and was replaced by a successor body, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, with offices in Arusha and the Hague, Netherlands. About 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were killed during the genocide. The tribunal’s indictment accused Ntaganzwa of plotting to exterminate Rwanda’s Tutsi population and personally ordering the massacre of more than 200,000 Tutsi civilians in one parish in April 1994. It passed the case to a Rwandan government court. “Ladislas Ntaganzwa was today sentenced to life imprisonment over genocide crimes committed during the genocide against Tutsi in 1994,” the court spokesman, Harrison Mutabazi, said. Alexis Musonera, Ntaganzwa’s lawyer, said he planned to appeal the ruling. “We plan to appeal because evidence in the hearing was based on witnesses’ testimony but that was not enough as some witnesses were contradicting themselves. We are not happy about this lengthy life jail term,” Musonera told Reuters. The judgement was announced by video conference while Musonera used Skype to follow it with Ntaganzwa at Mpanga prison in the southern province. Ntaganzwa was arrested in December 2015 in Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda took him into custody in March 2016. The United States had offered up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest. Félicien Kabuga, the top-most fugitive from the genocide, was arrested in France last week. The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals said it concluded that former defence minister Augustin Bizimana, another key suspect, had died. Agencies

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[l] at 5/28/20 11:10pm
Burundian opposition leader Agathon Rwasa filed on Thursday a case at the constitutional court challenging the May 20 presidential election outcome, saying he had evidence of fraud. Burundi’s election commission said on Monday the ruling party candidate, retired General Evariste Ndayishimiye, had won the presidential election with 69% of votes cast. It said Rwasa had garnered 24% of the vote. The commission’s Chairman Pierre Claver Kazihise said the turnout had been huge and the election was peaceful. “Appalling errors were made across the country, no district or province was spared. We have provided evidence that there has been a massive fraud,” Rwasa told reporters after filing his complaint. “The announced results are false.” He said the court had eight days to decide the case. The May 20 vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza, however, had been preceded by political violence including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group. There was also controversy over holding the election during the coronavirus crisis. Hundreds of Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands exiled after unrest surrounding the last election in 2015, when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by running for a third term. Rwasa said the evidence in his filing showed that people had voted using dead voters’ identities and use of an electoral register which has never been published by the electoral body and ballot box stuffing. The Conference of Bishops of Burundi on Tuesday also criticised the election conduct, saying some parties’ observers had been chased from polling stations. The electoral body’s officials were not immediately reachable to comment on Rwasa’s complaints. Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate. Agencies

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[l] at 5/28/20 6:54am
Armed criminals killed 60 people in a string of attacks on villages in the restive northwest of Nigeria, medics and residents said Thursday. Dozens of gunmen — described locally as “bandits — riding motorcycles raided five villages in Sabon Birni district in Sokoto state late Wednesday, the sources told AFP. “We received a total of 60 dead bodies and several people with gunshot injuries from the villages attacked by the bandits last night,” a nurse at the general hospital in Sabon Birni said. A second medic gave the same toll and said “all the bodies had bullet wounds, most of them were shot in the head”. Both sources asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to journalists on the incident. A local traditional leader talking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said the gunmen opened fire on homes as residents were gathered around. “We lost 60 people in the attacks. The bandits killed 16 in Garki, 13 in Dan Aduwa, 22 in Kuzari, seven in Katuma and two in Masawa,” he told AFP. There was no immediate official comment on the attacks but security sources said the police would address a press conference later Thursday. Northwestern Nigeria has been wracked by years of violence involving clashes between rival communities over land, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs and reprisal killings by vigilante groups. Cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom have flourished in the security vacuum. Sabon Birni district, 175 kilometres (110 miles) from the state capital Sokoto, has in recent times been repeatedly attacked by armed gangs. On Monday 18 people were killed when gunmen raided five other villages in Sabon Birni district, local officials said. Nigeria’s armed forces last week launched bombing raids against “bandit” camps in neighbouring areas of the northwest as part of the latest efforts to curb attacks. Authorities have previously launched repeated military operations and local peace talks to try to end the violence. But so far neither strategy has succeeded in halting unrest that has killed an estimated 8,000 people since 2011 and displaced 200,000. AFP

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[l] at 5/28/20 3:10am
Ethiopia is one of East / Horn of Africa’s least impacted nations as compared to rate of COVID-19 case growth and infection of its neighbours. A state of emergency lasting five-months has been imposed by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led government. All land borders have since been shut as a virus control measure with a raft of restrictions and enforcement of physical distancing and mask wearing measures. Elections planned for May this year were also postponed citing the effect of the pandemic. Ethiopia played an instrumental role in the deployment of virus supplies donated by Chinese businessman Ali Baba. This article will focus on major developments coming from the country. May 19: 60 cases in two days Total confirmed cases = 365 (new cases between May 17 – 19 = 60) Total recoveries = 120 (new recoveries = 8) Total deaths = 5 Active cases = 238 Ethiopia’s case count spiked on Monday by 35 new cases (a daily record) whiles 14 new cases were recorded today. Added to 11 cases recorded last Sunday, 60 cases have been recorded in the last three days. The tally now stands at 365. Concerns had been raised by analysts over the spate of new case increases after it took just a week to go from 200 to go past the 300 mark as against a much lengthier period from 0 to 100 and 100 to 200. The country, however, remains one of the least impacted in a region where neighbour Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan has crossed the 1000 mark. Kenya is past 900 confirmed cases as of today. Major African stats: May 19 at 6:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 88,264 Number of deaths = 2,832 Recoveries = 33,898 Active cases = 51,534

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[l] at 5/28/20 2:00am
Kenya continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic with cases steadily rising each day. Government have locked down a handful of counties including the capital Nairobi and imposed a night-time curfew as part of containment efforts. This rolling page will continue to give updates on major occurrences as relates to the East African country. You can follow Kenya’s March – April 2020 COVID-19 updates on our earlier page. Kenya as of May 10 was the fourth most impacted country in the East / Horn of Africa region only behind Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia. Government also rolled out mass testing in virus hot spots, borders remain shut and a ban on public gatherings continues. Major topics covered below include: May 23: 1,192 cases, additional health workers to be hired May 21: record one-day increase, Wajir rolls out campaign May 20: cases pass 1,000 mark, foreigners deported May 16: 830 cases, TZ, Somali borders shut May 14: Cases hit 758, focus turns to Kenya-Tanzania border town May 12: 715 cases, border crossings becoming flash point May 11: Cases reach 700, mass prisoner release May 10: 649 cases, Raila worries about Magufuli May 8: May 8: Govt to foot quarantine bills, cases at 607 May 7: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City May 5: KQ’s UK repatriation flight returns May 4: Cases hit 535, govt decries abuse of relaxed measures May 3: KQ repatriation flight, Nairobi fumigation May 2: Case count at 435, mass testing starts May 1: Case count hits 411, Uhuru vows transparency .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } May 23: 1,192 cases, additional health workers to be hired Thirty-one new cases were registered today taking the tally to 1,192; President Kenyatta disclosed in an address. He also disclosed that 5,000 additional health workers were going to be hired to augment the current strength. The address also touched on wide-ranging interventions by government in combating other challenges such as deforestation and climate change, flood control, salvaging the tourism and hospitality sectors and cash transfer for vulnerable families. Meanwhile, mass testing operations continue especially in the capital Nairobi where government is urging people to voluntarily submit themselves for testing. Areas being covered are Embakasi East-Utawala and Eastleigh. Meet PCBandKenya a Youth based CBO in Kibera who compliment our Health Promotion officers in grass-root communication ?? of #KomeshaCorona ? messages and also aid mobilizing communities to turn up for mass testing NMS_Kenya. Cc WHOKenya susan_mochacheSpokespersonGoK pic.twitter.com/tS4q4TzrrI— Ministry of Health (MOH_Kenya) May 23, 2020 May 21: 1,109 cases, Wajir rolls out sensitization campaign Kenya broke a new case record in 24 hours. The 60 new cases that took the tallies past 1,000 have been eclipsed by today’s tally of 80 new cases and now the national tally stands at 1,109 confirmed cases. Nine new discharges took the recoveries to 367 with the death toll still at 50. The figures indicate that in a space of 10 days Kenya has increased tallies from 700 to 1,109, an average of 41 cases per day. Over in Wajir, the county government has rolled out a sensitization campaign. Governor Mohamed Abdi launched the Community Health Volunteers activities as part of virus prevention measures. The 1000 Community Health Volunteers will be tasked with COVID-19 awareness and social mobilization in villages. The county government has also approved a stipend of Kshs. 5000 per month for the next 2 months. Quotes from minister Mutahi Kagwe at today’s briefing: “We have increased our testing capacity and we are urging the public to be alert and to continue observing the containment measures. This war cannot be won by the government alone but by all individuals following rules. “We want to thank all those who have come out to be tested in the targeted high risk areas. Religious community is key to us. We are working with them to make things happen including issues of domestic violence.” On his part, acting Director General of Health at the Ministry, Patrick Amoth said: “Modeling keeps on changing based on different variables in place. Our health system has not been overrun and we shall continue to implement these measures especially avoiding of gathering, keeping distance.” The CHVs will conduct ▶️Household visits ▶️Community referrals ▶️Update household registers ▶️Distribute IEC materials ▶️Identify health challenges within the community among others to combat coronavirus and other ailments. WajirCountyKE GovernorWajir #KomeshaCorona https://t.co/9a9L2ZjRuX— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 21, 2020 May 20: Cases pass 1,000 mark, foreigners deported Total confirmed cases = 1,029 (new cases = 66) Total recoveries = 358 Total deaths = 50 Active cases = 555 The case tally in Kenya has passed the 1,000 mark as of today and the milestone was achieved with the highest one-day record of new cases. Today’s 66 cases, 30 of which were detected in Mombasa County, is the highest to be recorded since the index case. The announcement was made by Health Minister Muhati Kagwa during a press briefing. He also confirmed that cessation of movement in Eastleigh and Old Town had been extended until June 6, 2020; malls and eateries to remain closed until same date. “We would like to thank the German Embassy for giving us mobile labs, to do COVID-19 tests on site especially at the Namanga border point; Minister for East Africa and Regional Cooperation, Adan Mohamed also disclosed. The East African Community Secretariat has also procured mobile labs to enhance testing of truck drivers. On the Kenyan side, one lab will be stationed at the Namanga border point and another one in Naivasha. Deportation of 182 foreigners Kenyan officials have been busy at border points with neighbouring Tanzania – areas that have been declared virus hot spots days ago. 182 foreigners who tried to enter the country were deported after testing positive for coronavirus. Of the cases, 126 tested positive in the main border crossing of Namanga. The others were diagnosed in four other border points. The nationalities of the foreigners were not disclosed. President Kenyatta last weekend shut borders with Tanzania and Somalia citing an increase in cross-border infections. Cargo vehicles were exempted, but drivers have to be tested for coronavirus at border points. “We can not allow people from outside Kenya to come in without a Covid-19 free certificate, just like we are not allowing Kenyan drivers to leave without a certificate,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe told a media briefing on Tuesday. May 16: 830 cases, TZ, Somali borders shut Total confirmed cases = 830 (new cases = 49) Total recoveries = 301 Total deaths = 50 (5 new) Active cases = 481 Kenya’s case count reached 830 as pf today President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in an address today. The dusk to dawn curfew in place has also been extended by a further 21 days. A major decision announced also included the closure of frontiers with Tanzania and Somalia. There will be cessation of movement of persons and passengers into and out through Kenya-Tanzania, & Kenya-Somalia border except for cargo, beginning midnight,” he said. The national curfew and cessation of movements in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mandera to continue till 6th June 2020, he added. The border closure especially relative to Tanzania comes days after Kenya declared the border town of Namanga a high-risk area. May 14: Cases hit 758, focus turns to borders Total confirmed cases = 758 (new cases = 21) Total recoveries = 284 Total deaths = 42 Samples tested over 24-hours = 1,486 Total samples tested = 36,918 Government reports that a new area of focus in the fight against the virus are the frontiers. “Our borders are now the key areas of focus particularly Namanga,” CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi told reporters during today’s briefing. Kenya has on Wednesday declared the border town with Tanzania as a high-risk area. Namanga is a town divided by the Tanzania-Kenya border. It is in Longido District, Tanzania and Kajiado County, Kenya. It is around 110 kilometers from Arusha, Tanzania. Zambia has also recently shut its common trade border with Tanzania after the town of Nakonde recorded a spike in cases. It is currently having more cases than the capital Lusaka. #KomeshaCorona UPDATE ✔️1,486 samples tested ✔️Total samples tested so far stand at 36,918 ✔️21 new positive cases today ✔️Total confirmed cases stand at 758 ✔️3 recoveries today ✔️Total discharged & recovered stands at 284 ✔️2 fatalities today ✔️Total fatalities stand at 42 pic.twitter.com/1UNRhd3Nr8— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 14, 2020 May 12: 15 new cases, border crossing concerns “We are upscaling security on border points and testing truck drivers to contain cross border infections,” CS Dr. Rashid Aman told the press today as he gave case statistics on the coronavirus pandemic. He added that two other individuals from Tanzania at the Isebania border also tested positive and were referred back to Tanzania. “We are upscaling security on border points and testing truck drivers to contain cross border infections.” With the case count now at 715, authorities reported that 8 patients had been discharges from hospital today bringing to 259 the total number of recoveries from COVID-19. The new infections comprised 14 Kenyans and a Rwandese. Seven of the cases were in Mombasa, three in Migori and two in Wajir. Nairobi, Machakos and Kiambu recorded a case each. Overall 978 samples were tested. “We are saddened to announce the death of 3 patients in Mombasa. Two of them died at home, while the 3rd one in hospital, bringing to 36 the total number of those who have succumbed to the disease,” the CS added. On the regional front, President Kenyatta joined a virtual meeting of East African Community Heads of State held today under the chairmanship of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. Another regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD; also donated supplies to Kenya as part of efforts to help combat the virus spread. The IGAD Secretariat staff contributed 100,000 US Dollars to Kenya’s National COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Similar amounts were also given to the other IGAD Member States.igadsecretariat #KomeshaCorona updates. https://t.co/yggqqfxs0d— Ministry of Health (MOH_Kenya) May 12, 2020 May 11: 700 cases, mass prisoner release In the last 24 hours, Kenya tested 841 samples, out of which twenty eight (28) people tested positive for corona virus. This brings the total number of those who have tested positive to 700. Recoveries are at 251 with 33 deaths. Ten of the cases were from Mombasa county, nine from Kajiado, seven from Nairobi and two from Wajir. Of note is the Kajiado cases which involved Kenyan truck drivers who were tested at Namanga border point. Authorities disclosed that so far 19 out of 47 counties have reported positive cases adding that cntact tracing of positive cases is ongoing as well as targeted testing in high risk areas. We have discharged 12 people from hospital. This now brings to 251 the total number of recoveries from Covid-19. We continue to thank our healthcare workers for this great achievement.#KomeshaCorona updates. pic.twitter.com/oxDql1xsGR— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 11, 2020 Meanwhile there was a mass prisoner release that saw 7,000 inmates freed as part of efforts to decongest the prisons and to curb spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i has told Senators that two cases were detected in a Nairobi prison. The health ministry has started conducting mass testing in prisons across the country, the local Citizen TV reports The government has restricted movement in and out the Nairobi and the second biggest city of Mombasa, as well as two other counties in the coastal region. It has also imposed a total lockdown in two areas identified as virus hot spots – one in Nairobi and the other in Mombasa – for 15 days. __Additional reporting from BBC_ 649 cases, Raila worries about Magufuli Ahead of tallies for May 10, Kenya’s close of day stats for May 9 stood at a total of 649 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 30 deaths and 207 recoveries. Affairs in neighbouring Tanzania has however led to the raising of concerns by ex Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is quoted as saying President Magufuli next door was putting an entire region at risk with his handling of the virus. Raila told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Magufuli had refused to listen to even his fellow presidents on the need to backtrack on his approach to the virus. He added that he had also failed to get in touch with the Tanzanian leader: “As nationalist, he needs to get information from fellow regional leaders… This is a regional issue. “Our destiny is tied together. We do not want a situation where any of these countries will have to close their borders. That is why dialogue is the most important thing,” Raila said. COVID-19 UPDATE ✔️1,611 samples tested today ✔️21,041 total samples tested so far ✔️28 new positive cases today ✔️Total confirmed cases stand at 649 ✔️5 recoveries today ✔️Total recovered stands at 207 ✔️ 1 fatalities today ✔️Total fatalities are 30#KomeshaCorona update.— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 9, 2020 May 8: Govt to foot quarantine bills, cases at 607 Government on Thursday confirmed that it will foot bills of suspected persons quarantined for COVID-19. The move is to encourage more people to avail themselves for testing as the country’s cases continue to rise day-on-day. The issue of high fees associated with institutional quarantine has been topical for weeks in the country as people protested the move. Since the start of the pandemic, many people have been stuck in isolation centres long after they were supposed to leave because they cannot afford the bills. Most government isolation facilities are charging at least $20 (£16) a day, the BBC reported. Recently, a group of people quarantined in the capital Nairobi jumped the walls of the facility and escaped. President Kenyatta at the time vowed that all of them will be rearrested and quarantined duly. Mass testing measures rolled out in the capital and coastal city of Mombasa has received low turnout much to the concern of authorities. Kenya has as of May 7 confirmed a total of 607 coronavirus cases, including 29 deaths and 197 recoveries. May 7: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City The government on Wednesday announced a partial lockdown on two virus hotspots, Eastleigh in Nairobi and Mombasa City. The 15-day measure took effect same day starting 7pm local time. Under the measure, there shall be no movement into and out of the places. All public places in the two areas are to be shutdown. The cases tally for the two areas stood at 68 and 64 respectively. Kenya case statistics as of May 7 stood at 582 cases, 190 recoveries and 26 deaths. Nairobi and Mombasa have been previously placed under similar measure being the most impacted counties. May 5: KQ’s UK repatriation flight returns Kenyan Airways on Tuesday arrived in Nairobi with 84 nationals aboard a special charter flight from the United Kingdom. All passengers were checked into a government quarantine facility as per the terms of repatriation. A negative virus test result was a key requirement aside other boarding formalities from the UK. Passengers aboard the UK return flight paid 54,000 shillings for the one-way trip. Each passenger occupied an entire row of three seats and had to wear a mask throughout the journey. KQ is also expected to undertake similar flights from India and China in the coming days. The China flight is from Guangzhou, the epicentre of reported racist treatment of Africans last month. Kenyans were said to be among the most impacted. Cases hit 535, govt decries abuse of relaxed measures Kenya recorded a daily record of 45 new cases as the tally hit 535 today. Nine more patients were discharged bringing the total number of recoveries to 182. In giving a breakdown of the new cases, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said: 30 are males and 15 females. It involved 44 Kenyans and a Somali. The cases are from Nairobi (29), Mombasa (11), Wajir (5). Kagwe further disclosed that the five cases from Wajir County had recently travelled from Mogadishu in Somalia. “There is a community spread in three key areas: Eastleigh, Kawangware and Old Town, Mombasa,” he said, insisting on the need for the Government to take serious action in those areas. The 29 cases in Nairobi are from Eastleigh, a hotspot where mass testing started late last week. Eastleigh has 63 cases so far Mombasa’s Old Town has recorded 39 cases Kawangware has 24 cases so far Some quotes from his press briefing were: “Today’s figure is a demonstration of just how far from normal things are.” “There is not a single person who is immune to the virus, you are as likely to have it as I am. Therefore nobody should be stigmatized,” he added. Mutahi decries abuse of relaxed measures “It is unfortunate that some are going to hotels to order two sausages and two beers. Then they will go to another eatery and order another sausage plus two more bottles. “The same person will go to another restaurant and order an orange as dessert…and add another beer. Honestly, what are we doing?” he wondered. He further expressed concern over disobedience to curfew regulations. “If we call the police to arrest such people the media will report that we are harassing Kenyans. It is good that you (the media) are now reporting flaunting of the curfew rules,” he said. May 4: Human rights issues, mass testing hurdles Nelson Havi, President pf the Law Society of Kenya posted on Twitter: 1. The Emergency Response Committee has no power to mandate the IG to establish a containment camp for curfew violators. How can such a preposterous and unlawful idea even be contemplated in a constitutional democracy? 2. A while back, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Health declared that anyone found outside during curfew hours will be deemed to have been infected with Covid-19 and quarantined. Many have been so quarantined notwithstanding the illegality of the declaration. 3. It is high time Kenyans started questioning the propriety of some of the measures taken in containing Covid-19. Parliament and the Judiciary are reluctant to intervene. May 3: KQ repatriation flight, Nairobi fumigation Kenya Airways has announced plans to repatriate citizens from three global cities. The national carrier announced the special repatriation flights via social media handles. The first is from London (May 4th), Mumbai (May 7th) and finally from Guangzhou (May 8th). “Only Kenyan Citizens with COVID-19 test results will board,” KQ clarified. According to a statement posted on their website, passengers will pay a one-way nonrefundable fare. All passengers must arrange their own COVID-19 tests and present proof of a negative result as part of formalities. “All passengers must undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14-28 days at their own cost as per government of Kenya guidelines,” it added with respect to the London and Guangzhou flights. In the case of the Mumbai flight, passengers are: “required to present a copy of covid-19 medical results at the check in counter and the results must be negative. (Test to be taken max 07 days prior to departure). “During check in all guest must complete a declaration form in relation to 14 days mandatory quarantine in Nairobi,” the statement added. Meanwhile mass fumigation exercises continue in parts of the capital Nairobi including the Kawangware area – a low income residential neighbourhood that has so far recorded 20 positive cases. Afya house, Kilimo house and KMTC Nairobi, fumigated today as the fight against #COVID19 is intensified through targeted testing and other measures. #KomeshaCorona campaign pic.twitter.com/wYXKj71Qeu— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) May 3, 2020 May 2: Case count at 435, mass testing starts Kenya recorded 24 new coronavirus cases bringing the total tally to 435. 17 of the cases were recorded in Nairobi (10 in Eastleigh, 7 in Kawangware). Five in Mombasa. and two in Migori County. A 51-year-old woman in Mombasa became the 22nd victim whiles two more recoveries brings the total to 152. These figures were given by Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi in April 2 briefing on the virus situation. A total of 1195 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, one of the highest in a day. It also comes two days after mass testing was rolled out in parts of the capital and Mombasa. The exercise, however, suffered an early setback with low turnout especially in Mombasa. According to records, although the target was 24,000 residents, only 131 showed up for the test rolled out on Thursday. The Health CAS cautioned small businesses that seem to have gone back to work, saying “the disease is still with us”. Businesses flouting the rules set in place to curb disease spread will be closed. Dr Mwangangi noted that there has been a decrease in the number of patients visiting hospitals for other illnesses. While this would ordinarily be good news, the CAS said citizens should not be afraid to seek medical assistance when needed, the Standard Digital portal said in its report. Kenya reports 24 new Coronavirus cases (of 1195 tests conducted in the last 24 hours) bringing total to 435. 17 in Nairobi (10 in Eastleigh, 7 in Kawangware). 5 in Mombasa. 2 in Migori County. 1 death brings total number of deaths to 22. 2 more recoveries brings total to 152. pic.twitter.com/ZdKULHYbIj— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) May 2, 2020 May 1: Case count hits 411, Uhuru vows transparency The case count has reached 411 as of May 1 after 15 new cases were recorded over the last 24-hours. Meanwhile recoveries have reached 150 according to data released today by the Ministry of Health. Fatalities stand at 21 with active cases at 240. Kenya’s overall test count stands at 21,702. A total of 1,434 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, marking a rise from the trend where less than 1,000 had been tested daily. Nairobi and Mombasa counties remain the most impacted with 248 and 124 cases respectively. Partially locked down Kilifi, Mandera and Kwale also have 9, 8 and 2 cases in that order. Other counties with cases are Kiambu, Kajiado, Kitui, Nakuru, Siaya and Kakamega. Uasin Gishu, Homabay and Wajir complete the list. President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday assured the country that all fund being sunk into combating the coronavirus will be properly accounted for and the report made public in due course. He was speaking at State House as part of a muted 2020 Labour Day celebrations, addressing concerns in the wake of reports about financial mismanagement with the virus funds. “We should also focus on the future since corona will not be with us forever. I was surprised when some criticized me for exporting flowers abroad,” he said. “The flower industry employs very many people. The moment corona is over they will remember us for standing with them in their time of need.” The President also tasked Kenyans to do all it takes to combat the virus and minimize the incidence of job losses. “We cannot relax in our efforts to conquer this invisible enemy and to put our economy on a strong growth path. “Because, if we do not, we could lose upwards of half a million jobs over the next 6 months. We must do whatever it takes to minimize, if not to fully contain such loss in jobs,” he said.

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[l] at 5/28/20 2:00am
At least three jailed senior members of the toppled regime of former Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir have the coronavirus, the country’s public prosecution service said on Wednesday. The Arab African country, which has reported 4,146 coronavirus cases and 184 deaths, released more than 4,000 prisoners in March as a precaution against the spread of the disease in jails. But political sensitivities mean all those jailed for offence committed as part of the administration run by the veteran Islamist, who was ousted in an uprising a year ago, remain in custody. They include Ahmed Haroun and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, both wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region, and who the prosecution service said had tested positive for coronavirus. Haroun was a senior Bashir aide while Hussein served as defence and interior minister. Ali Osman Taha, a former vice president, was also infected, it said in the statement said. All three are under health quarantine in Khartoum hospitals, the statement said. Bashir, scores of politicians close to him and members of his family, were detained after the uprising on various charges including corruption and violence. COVID-19 tests on two other detainees including Ali al-Bashir, a brother of the former president, came back negative, though they were quarantined as a precautionary measure. Tests results are still awaited on two other suspected cases, the prosecution service said, adding that all other detained members of the former regime had refused to be tested for coronavirus. This month, Sudan, which has a poor health system, extended a lockdown of the state of Khartoum by two weeks to slow the spread of the virus. AFP

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[l] at 5/28/20 1:38am
At least 40 people were killed in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the latest grisly attack on civilians in the mountainous jungles near the Ugandan border. Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group, which was driven out of Uganda in the late 1990s, attacked Samboko village, about 100km (60 miles) southwest of the city of Bunia, Omar Kavota from rights group CEPADHO said on Wednesday. A day after killing at least 17 in the nearby village of Makutano, ADF members killed at least 40 people with machetes and looted food and valuables early on Tuesday, Kavota added More than 400 people have been killed in attacks attributed to the ADF since the army began an offensive to oust the group from its bases last year, according to the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a research initiative that maps unrest in the region. Following two months of relative quiet, the area has seen a rise in deadly attacks in the last three weeks, KST said. Rachel Tarwayo, a government administrator, said she was aware of the Samboko incursion but could not provide any further details. “On the ground, some people have fled and others have given themselves the courage to stay for the moment,” said Gili Gotabo, a rights activist in the region. The ADF has pledged allegiance to the armed group ISIL (ISIS), but researchers say there is no evidence of close collaboration. ISIL has also endorsed some ADF attacks. About 200,000 people have fled their homes in Ituri province, where the two villages are located, in the past two months because of the widespread violence by a variety of armed groups. The attacks have also hampered efforts to stamp out an Ebola epidemic. More than 700 people have been killed in Ituri since late 2017, a United Nations report said in January, adding that some of the deaths might constitute a “crime against humanity”. Last month, 22 people from the Hema community were killed in attacks in the village of Koli in Ituri province, which were blamed on the Cooperative for the Development of Congo – an armed political-religious sect drawn from the Lendu ethnic group. Conflict between the Lendu, mainly farmers, and the Hema, herders and traders, has a long history in the gold- and oil-rich region. Researchers and rights groups say some Congolese soldiers have also participated in massacres since 2014 for a variety of motives, often related to competition for power in resource-rich lawless zones dominated by dozens of armed groups. AFP

[Author: editorial@africanews.com] [Link to media]

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[l] at 5/28/20 1:30am
May 24: 6,683 cases, recoveries near 2,000; Kuwait returnees The Ghana news agency reported on Saturday that two hundred and forty-one (241) Ghanaians had returned from Kuwait. A special dispensation was given to allow them fly into the Kotoka International Airport aboard a Kuwaiti aircraft. The contingent included 43 Togolese nationals also resident Kuwait. They would undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine at designated hotels under heavy security, GNA added. Information Minister had earlier this week disclosed the return and said measures had been put in place to ensure that all anti-virus protocols were obey. Meanwhile a sub-100 tally for new cases was recorded as 66 cases took the national tally to 6,683. Recoveries are closing in on 2,000 mark while a new death took the tally to 32. Two hundred and forty-one (241) Ghanaians and 43 Togolese nationals resident in Kuwait arrived at the Kotoka International Airport Saturday on board a Kuwaiti Aircraft. They would undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine at designated hotels under heavy security.#GHnewsagency pic.twitter.com/d9vbaK0ZOz— Ghana News Agency (@GHANANEWSAGENCY) May 23, 2020 Total confirmed cases = 6,683 (new cases = 66) Total recoveries = 1,978 (new = 20) Total deaths = 32 May 23: 6,617 cases, Ashanti region pass 1,000 mark The case count in the Ashanti region crossed the 1,000 mark according to latest stats released this Saturday. Out of 6,617 cases (131 new cases) the region accounted for 1,010 cases. Obuasi – the gold rich town – was at a point declared a hotspot for spread of the virus. The Greater Accra region continues as the most impacted with over 4,000 confirmed cases. The recoveries are also nearing 2,000 with the death toll still at 31. The Central, Western and Eastern regions have 297, 208 and 106 confirmed cases with the rest recording less than 100 cases. Meanwhile, the Ghana News Agency is reporting that the Electoral Commission, EC; planned to start voter registration in June. This is despite a fightback by the NDC who allege a plan to help the NPP government to rig upcoming general elections. Total confirmed cases = 6,617 (new cases = 131) Total recoveries = 1,978 (new = 27) Total deaths = 31 Figures valid as of May 21, 2020 May 22: 6,486 cases, NDC jabs EC Main opposition NDC continued their collision with the elections body over the compilation of a new voters register ahead of December 2020 polls. The party’s director for elections at a press conference yesterday said the intransigence of the EC to hold the exercise could escalate the spread of COVID-19. This is despite the EC’s recent issuance of safety guidelines for the exercise. “The National Identification Authority stopped registration when we had 200 cases and now you want to register 17 to 18 million people in forty days. My brothers and sisters, let’s be honest here and put NDC, NPP aside and ask if this is realistic? Is this sound?” “Are they going to determine how many people will come from their homes to register? So people will be outside the registration centre and their people (EC Officials) will be in PPE? What about the citizens? Will they give everyone PPE? “And how will they determine if someone has COVID-19 or not? These are practical commonsensical issues that we want Ghanaians to think of. Won’t they escalate the positive cases in the country?” Afriyie-Ankrah quizzed. Meanwhile Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah stressed yesterday that schools remained closed as government continues consultations on the further easing of restrictions. The university teachers association is however urging government to allow tertiary institutions to strategize and reopen as soon as practicable. 6,486 confirmed cases with 1,951 recoveries and 31 deaths.#JoySMS pic.twitter.com/CqLp2WLxMR— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) May 22, 2020 6,269 cases, learning to live with virus imperative – Nana President Nana Akufo-Addo has tasked citizens to do all it takes to learn to live with COVID-19. he stressed that despite its disruption to everyday lives, there was the need to get lives and economies to adjust and continue to move on with necessary caution and discipline. He was speaking at a meeting with the chiefs and elders from the country’s Volta Region on Wednesday. “We are going through a very difficult time in our country that all of us are aware of. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that our lives must come to a stop. “The virus is there, but we have to find a way to live with it. Ghana’s business must continue. As I have been saying, the most effective measure for us to deal with this virus is our own self-discipline… “... the protocols of hygiene, social distancing, not shaking hands, protecting ourselves, wearing the face masks etc. These are the short to long term solution to the proliferation of the virus,” Akufo-Addo added. Total confirmed cases = 6,269 (new cases = 173) Total recoveries = 1,898 (new = 125) Total deaths = 31 Active cases = 4,340 Figures valid as of May 21, 2020 May 20: Cases pass 6,000 mark, govt eyes COVID-Organics Ghana’s case count passed 6,000 mark reaching 6,096 on Tuesday according to tallies released by the Ghana Health Service. The tallies showed that four regions had recorded increases: Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Central regions. Meanwhile Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says government has reached out to Madagascar to make available its supposed COVID-19 herbal remedy. He stressed that the product will undergo strict testing by appropriate authorities in Ghana to prove the efficacy or otherwise before it will be administered if at all. “We are considering it [the herbal cure]. We have reached out to them [Madagascar]. We have asked that it [should] be made available to us and like all drugs, it will be tested by FDA and in this case by the Center for Plant Medicine and if proven efficacious, we can recommend its use,” he said on state TV. The ministry had earlier tweeted the minister as saying: “We have received the Madagascar cure for COVID-19 and we are testing it for efficacy.” The information was later clarified with the exact words of the minister. Madagascar officially made donations to all 15 countries in the ECOWAS bloc. The donation was done through Guinea-Bissau who are distributing them to neighbouring countries; It is not known if they have as yet delivered Ghana’s consignment. Total confirmed cases = 6,069 Total recoveries = 1,773 Total deaths = 31 Active cases = 4,292 Figures valid as of May 19, 2020 May 19: govt to explain boom recoveries and address hot spot case management 5,918 confirmed cases with 1,754 recoveries and 31 deaths.#JoySMS pic.twitter.com/osFwVeckwf— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) May 19, 2020 No new figures were released on Monday but the government through the Information Ministry will release new tallies at a press conference scheduled for later today. The Ministry is to hold a press briefing at 16:00 GMT to address three main issues: case management in hot spots – Obuasi and Tema, the issue of jumbo recoveries and stigmatization of victims. The over 1,000 recoveries in two days have attracted questions from an aide to the former president and a fightback by pro-government elements. A renowned neurosurgeon at the main hospital, Dr. Hadi Abdallah, explained in a Facebook post that it was achieved after a backlog of tests were cleared. According to him, case management by medis needed to be highly applauded. pic.twitter.com/zhs3304ANY— Ministry of Information (@moigovgh) May 18, 2020 May 17: 5,735 cases, prez fact-checked on testing ‘record’ Total confirmed cases = 5735 (new cases = 97) Total recoveries = 1,754 (new = 294) Total deaths = 29 (new = 5) Active cases = 3,952 Figures valid as of close of day May 16, 2020 Ghana maintained her spot as West Africa’s most impacted after the Health Ministry released latest figures yesterday. Ghana recorded 97 new cases to take the tally to 5,735, 114 more than Nigeria’s 5,621 as of May 17 8:00 GMT. The good recovery rate continued with 294 discharges taking the tally to 1,754. Five more deaths were also recorded. But it is the recoveries that have stoked political jabbing after Joyce Bawa Mogtari, an aide to opposition leader and ex-president John Mahama questioned what had accounted for the spike. Pro-government voices criticized her on social media even as she stood by her demand. Government has yet to officially explain what accounted for over 1,000 recoveries in a space of two days. Some analysts suspect that a redefinition of what constitutes recovery may account for the spike. Meanwhile President Akufo Addo was fact-checked on a long touted record about Ghana having conducted more tests per million people. An AFP report said the claims were not accurate and that South Africa, Djibouti and Mauritius were ahead of Ghana. AFP Fact-check – Ghana’s leader falsely claims his country fronts COVID-19 testing May 16: 5,530 cases, jumbo recoveries Total confirmed cases = 5,638 (new cases = 108) Total recoveries = 1,460 (new recoveries = 1086) Total deaths = 24 (new deaths = 0) Active cases = 4,150 Ghana recorded a boost in recoveries with a record 1,086 discharges authorities reported early Saturday. The recovery tally now stands at 1,460. New cases of 108 took the national tally to 5,638; still the most impacted in the West Africa subregion. Ghana’s low recoveries had been a source of worry in the bracket of countries who had crossed the 5,000 mark. President Akufo-Addo also joined other world leaders in signing a UNAIDS petition pushing for a ‘People’s Vaccine’ against COVID-19. The president posted his assent on Twitter. READ MORE – Uniting behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19 Together with other global leaders, I signed the UNAIDS Public Letter on a People’s Vaccine for #COVID19. It is important that all people everywhere must have access to the vaccine when one becomes available. It must be the #PeoplesVaccine.— Nana Akufo-Addo (NAkufoAddo) May 15, 2020 April 14: 5,530 cases, 13 of 16 regions infected Total confirmed cases = 5,530 (new cases = 122) Total recoveries = 674 (new recoveries = 160) Total deaths = 24 (new deaths = 0) Active cases = 4,832 Thirteen of the 16 regions in the country have recorded cases of the disease. Bono East, Savanna and Ahafo Regions have not recorded any cases of COVID-19 so far, Dr. Badu-Sarkodie told the press at today’s briefing. Ministers present at the briefing included the Tourism minister who reiterated government position on bars and clubs. “Very soon we’ll overcome COVID-19 and return to normalcy so that we can go back to enjoying our various social activities,” Barbara Oteng Gyasi said. Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu: “We need to all become health ambassadors by ensuring that those around us adhere to the precautions. “If you don’t have anything important to do outside, stay at home. There are lots of things to keep you occupied at home. If you don’t have to talk, don’t. Especially if you are not wearing a face mask. If we don’t work towards curbing the spread of COVID-19, the result could be catastrophic for us.” The bar question: to reopen or not to? The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on Wednesday was forced to issue a statement on the status of drinking bars and nightclubs. The statement signed by Minister Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, clarified that drinking bars and night clubs remain closed, whiles food chains and restaurants (including hotel restaurants) can operate takeout and delivery services only. The clarification came after a statement from the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) indicated that hotels, restaurants and bars could resume operations albeit with enhanced social distancing protocols. “All hotels can operate as normal and host their guests, subject to the specified elevated hygiene protocols and social distancing. Food chains and restaurants can operate sit-down, as well as, pickup and delivery services while observing appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols … Drinking bars can operate while observing appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols,” the overruled GTA’s statement had said. Statistics as at close of day May 13, 2020 Total confirmed cases = 5,408 (new cases = 281) Total recoveries = 514 Total deaths = 24 Active cases = 4,872 April 12: Cases hit 5,127; gold-rich Obuasi new hotspot Ghana’s case statistics passed the 5,000 mark after 427 new cases were recorded according to head of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Aboagye. The case count is now at 5,127. Speaking on the Tema fish country incident, he said aggressive contact tracing and follow ups were ongoing in Tema. Of the new cases, the Ashanti region recorded 307 new cases. Out of which 272 were from Obuasi, the gold-rich town. “Obuasi is now the hottest spot where we have massive search and identification ongoing,” he added. Meanwhile General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Justice Yankson has cautioned against a possible surge in the number of virus-related deaths in the country. “If we don’t take time and our health system is overwhelmed, a lot of people won’t get access to health care and even the deaths that we are worried about could go up,” he told local outlet Citi TV. He added: “Gradually every fabric is being affected by COVID-19 in relation to gender, geographical location, among others. When you juxtapose the increasing number to the rate at which we are growing to the sort of [health] facilities we have, then you can realize that we are in trouble.” Recovered COVID19 patient, Matilda Agamu, says her fellow traders warned her not to come back to her shop because she’d been infected with the Coronavirus. #JoySMS host, THEKojoYankson went to ask them about this, but they all denied it. Are they being sincere? Watch. pic.twitter.com/SwtgLcXNRc— Joy 99.7 FM (Joy997FM) May 11, 2020 April 11: Cases hit 4,700; president addresses nation President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday delivered a national address giving updates on COVID-19 and announcing a raft of actions in the area of containment of spread and infection. The 21-minute address touched on amongst others: the jumbo infection recorded at a fish factory in the industrial city of Tema late last week. “All 533 persons were infected by one person,” the president said without giving any further details. He said that the 533 positive cases, which represents around 11.3% of Ghana’s total infections, were part of a backlog of about 921 cases going back as far as April 26 that are only recently being reported. “The implementation of our strategy of aggressively tracing, testing and treating is our surest way of rooting out the virus,” Akufo-Addo said. He announced an extension of the ban on public gatherings, it will now extend until the end of May when new directives will be given. Schools and universities will remain closed. Current case statistics as at Sunday May 10 were: 4,700 confirmed cases after 533 new cases – the figure represents the highest number of infections in West Africa. Nigeria is second with 4,388 cases. 22 people have died of coronavirus-related causes, while 494 have recovered. Ghana has undertaken 160,501 tests since the outbreak, a figure the president touted as highest per million people than any other country in Africa. On the subject of politicizing the virus fight, the president took a swipe at the opposition led by former president John Mahama, who have been critical of government’s response to the pandemic. “I know some political actors will want you to believe that our current numbers represent a failure on the part of Government. Do not begrudge them. They need to make such comments for their political survival. “On the contrary, we must be emboldened in the knowledge that the 4,700 persons infected, so far, with the virus, have been identified, taken out of the population, isolated and are being treated,” he indicated. Akufo-Addo noted, “this virus, as we have seen the world over, is no respecter of persons, and has wreaked its havoc on every country on the planet. We can defeat it if we continue to look out for one another, and remain each other’s keeper. We are fighting a common enemy, and it is imperative that we do not allow religious, ethnic or political differences to get in the way of certain victory.” He continued: “So, we cannot allow a few persons, who wish to use these differences to scuttle our collective fight, to succeed. Over the course of our history as a people, we have had to overcome several trials and tribulations: slavery, imperialism, colonialism, tyranny and dictatorship, and we have overcome them all so that, with the help of the Almighty, we are, today, building a free, independent State, a State that, despite the urgency of the crisis, is governed by democratic institutions, and respect for fundamental human rights, especially freedom of speech.” May 10: 4,263 cases, Accra prison ‘infected’ Ghana’s case statistics as of close of day May 9 stood at 3,263 according tallies released by the health service. It represents 251 cases after the spike of late last week. The recovery tally stood at 378 with four additional deaths bringing the tally to 22. The spike of 900+ cases reinvigorated the political back and forth between government the the main opposition. Ex-president John Dramani Mahama in a tweet jabbed government saying it had failed citizens. “Fear gripped many homes last night when the latest confirmed cases were released. And that is understandable. #COVID19 is real, my brothers and sisters. “I want to encourage you to protect yourself. Regular hand washing with soap & under running water is a must. Stay Home but if you have to go out for any reason including work, wear your mask, take along a hand sanitizer, & always disinfect commonly used and touched surfaces,” he posted on social media. Local media outlets reported yesterday that police in the capital confirmed that more inmates across the Greater Accra Region had contracted the virus. “Some of the inmates have already contracted the disease so we have separated them from the fresh suspects who would come into our custody. I can’t mention the number off-head but they have been taken to isolation centres.” “If you listened to the news carefully, you will hear that two Nigeriens who were in our custody have been discharged having testing negative. I cannot talk about the others,” regional police chief Fred Adu Anim told the press. May 9: 900+ new cases, tally hits 4,012 Ghana returned to most impacted West African country after authorities disclosed a record one-day increase of over 900 cases late Friday. The current tallies stand at 4,012 with 18 deaths and 323 recoveries. The figures have triggered talk of whether the government was right to lift a lockdown imposed in three hotspots back in April. The president insisted that the decision to lift the measure was based on data and science but the spike has led to questions being asked especially on social media. Meanwhile the issue of the COVID-19 combat being politicised continues to rage as government and main opposition NDC continue to spar on the subject. The NDC have insisted that the government has relegated science to the backburner in dealing with the crisis. Responding to the issue, a deputy information minister told a local radio station, Citi FM, that the opposition’s claim which also adds that “President Akufo-Addo seems more interested in his re-election than in the safety and life of Ghanaians” is false and without basis, Pius Hadzide is quoted to have said. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on Friday confirming that Ghanaians stranded abroad will be repartriated on an as and when basis. Ghana was among countries that refused to return students from Wuhan. The Ministry was also among the first to remonstrate over reports that Africans were being mistreated in Chinese city of Guangzhou back in April. May 8: Madagascar potion, GES timetable, cabinet retreat Ghana confirmed that it has been offered COVID-Organics, the purported Malagasy cure for COVID-19. Authorities added that the consignment will be referred to the Food and Drugs Authority, FDA, for scientific analysis. Director of the Ghana Health Service addressed the issue at a media interaction yesterday, May 7. Meanwhile the Education Service, GES, has also released a time table for distance learning for pupils and students affected by the COVID-19 school break. The new time table has only English and Maths lessons for pre-school and lower primary (KG – P3), while upper primary (P4 – P6) has lessons in English, Maths and Science. For Junior High School levels 1 – 3, there are lessons in English, Maths, Science and Social Studies, while at the senior high school level compulsory subjects – Maths & Science, and English & Social Studies – already ongoing, will continue to be offered. The televised sessions are airing on DStv 315, GOtv 150, and StarTimes 312. Meanwhile, a three-day COVID-19 cabinet retreat announced by Information Minister earlier this week enters day two today ahead of its scheduled conclusion tomorrow. May 7: 3,091 cases, police rolls out mass tests Ghana’s case statistics stood at 3,091 in the latest tallies released early Thursday by the Ghana Health Service. Recoveries have reached 303 with 18 deaths. On Thursday, the Ghana Police service disclosed to local media that it had begun testing all its personnel for COVID-19. Weeks back, the service announced that some 33,000 personnel deployed on lockdown duties were to be tested. Director of Public Affairs of the Service, Sheila Abayie-Buckman said results showed that a small number of officers had been infected. “Testing is actually ongoing for all police officers, that is what we have arrived at now and they are being done in batches,” she revealed. She told Joy News that the nature of work some officers undertook made them prime test candidated adding that those who tested negative for the virus have resumed work fully. “We have been advised that depending on the nature of involvement in one exercise or the other, your self-isolation did not mean locking yourself up in a room. There are however a few people who may not have to come into contact with others because they are self-isolating.” Ghana records a total of 3,091 COVID-19 confirmed cases Out of 137,924 test with 303 Recoveries. Bono Region has recorded its first case of Covid-19 in the Jaman North District.#JoySMS pic.twitter.com/HTDDB5XClK— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) May 7, 2020 May 4: Mask-less ‘blocked from Accra Central Persons without face masks are being prevented by police from accessing the capital’s Central Business District, the local news outlet, Citi Newsroom reported on Tuesday. The ‘no mask no entry’ operation is in line with enforcement of COVID-19 directives issued by the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council and Ministry of Health. The wearing of masks in public was made compulsory days after the lifting of a lockdown by President Akufo-Addo. An Accra Regional police commander is quoted to have said personnel were primarily engaging and encouraging those coming into the CBD to wear the mask with recalcitrant ones sent back. Commercial vehicles are being checked for non-compliant passengers at entry points. “We are engaging the people, encouraging them to wear the mask and in a way, we are also enforcing it. When you are around this street, if you are not with it, we engage you, explain to you and encourage you to use it. “Where you are adamant, we advise that you go home and stay. That is what we are doing and it is in line with the protocols towards COVID-19,” commander Sulaimana Sulley said. Ghana is awaiting release of updated COVID-19 figures. Government releases date every other day. May 2: Cases rise to 2,169 Ghana’s official May 2 case tally is at 2,169 only one case behind Nigeria’s 2,170. The figure represents 95 new cases from the last tally of 2,074 as of April 30. Recoveries are up to 229 – an increase of 17 – with 18 deaths so far, the Ministry of Information reported on latest figures received from the Health Ministry. Nigeria remains the region’s most impacted with Ghana close behind. Ghana is also Africa’s 6th most affected overall. Meanwhile, the army chief on May 1 visited the site of works on Ghana’s infectious disease isolation and treatment center in the capital Accra. Local media reports that Lt. Gen. Obed Boamah lauded the progress of work during his visit. Work on the project, which is being sponsored by the Ghana Covid-19 Private Sector Fund, started two weeks ago with the Ghana Army providing engineering, logistical and security support, among others. It is due for completion by the end of May, state-run Daily Graphic reported. Work on the project, which is being sponsored by the Ghana Covid-19 Private Sector Fund, started two weeks ago with the Ghana Army providing engineering, logistical and security support, among others. It is due for completion by the end of May. Source: Daily Graphic— Ministry of Information (@moigovgh) May 2, 2020 May 1: Ghana consolidates top spot in West Africa Ghana’s official case count as of April 30 stood at 2,074 with 17 deaths and 212 recoveries according to official data. The figure means Ghana maintains top spot in the West African subregion. The country also beats Cameroon to become the second most impacted in sub-Saharan Africa only behind South Africa. Ghana recorded an increase of 795 cases over a week, i.e. between April 24 – 30. Meanwhile, the issue of political uncertainty surrounding the upcoming December polls was raised in parliament by the Majority Leader who also doubles as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said the parliament need to liaise with the election body and other stakeholders on how to proceed if the pandemic eventually scuttles the keenly awaited vote. “Mr. Speaker, we all have to look at the Electoral Commission to put in the required measures towards the conduct of the election because, the constitution as we all recognize is a bit ambivalent beyond January 7, 2020, when elections cannot be conducted or even in the case of any force Majeure who should be the President. “There is a bit of some lacuna except to say that for Parliament that in case of any emergence, provision is made and expressed under the constitution on how the life of Parliament is extended by one year in any event not more than four years everything by 12 months. In that period, who becomes the Head of State? “Is it the Speaker in the absence of the President and Vice President, that is a bit troubling to us as a nation. “In any event, the same constitution provides that when the speaker acts as President within three months, there should be the conduct of an election to elect a President. “So there is a bit of conflicting situation in the constitution. So Mr. Speaker until all of us agree on something else, noting responsible could be done so I hope that the appropriate thing is done.” The ban on public gathering which is still in place despite the lifting of a lockdown means that even electoral campaigns are not feasible. The Electoral Commission drew the ire of a section of Ghanaians when it decided to proceed with controversial voter registration in one region. At the time when the coronavirus cases were rising, opposition voices and a number of civil society organization described the EC’s continued operation as reckless and a danger to the public. A court ruled against it. April 24: Ghana records 125 more cases The coronavirus case count in Ghana has reached 1,279. Which indicates an increase of 125 new cases since the last tally was released on April 22. The previous increase was by 112, the first since the lifting of a partial lockdown. The country has also recorded four more recoveries to bring the tally to 124 whiles a new death takes the tally to 10. Two regions recorded their index cases, Oti and Western North regions with the Greater Accra region maintaining its yawning lead as the epicenter. Ghana is sub-Saharan Africa’s third most impacted country with the current tally behind South Africa and Cameroon with 3,953 and 1,430 cases respectively. The West African country has in the past overtaken three other countries to becomes the region’s most impacted. Senegal, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast have in the past been the top infected till recently. West Africa’s most impacted as of April 24 Ghana – 1,279 Ivory Coast – 1,004 Nigeria – 981 Guinea – 862 Niger – 671 Burkina Faso – 616 Senegal – 545 Police deployed to hot spots to be tested Over 8,000 police officers are to be tested for COVID-19 after they were deployed in virus hot spots during a three-week lockdown that was lifted last Sunday by President Akufo-Addo. They were part of 30,000 police – military deployment. The figure represents about one-third of officers deployed over the period to enforce the measure meant to curb spread of the virus which has so far affected over 1,000 people in the West African nation. The lockdown on the capital and two other metropolis was lifted at a time many expected an extension but government insists the lifting is backed by data and improved testing admitting an economic aspect too. However, schools remain closed, authorities are enforcing a ban on public gatherings, borders remain closed and the wearing of face masks decreed across the Greater Accra region as at April 22. About 800 people are facing prosecution for infractions during the three-week period. Ghana has recorded 1,154 cases of COVID-19 – making it West Africa’s most impacted – recoveries are at 120 including nine deaths as of April 24. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } April 23: Capital Accra to enforce wearing of masks Days after a three-week lockdown was lifted on the capital Accra and two other metropolis, the Greater Accra Regional minister has announced a compulsory use of face masks in public. An April 22 statement signed by minister Ishmael Ashitey said the regional coordinating council had met in an emergency meeting as part of efforts to enforce the president’s directives on social distancing and the wearing of masks. Some of the measures agreed include the following: Mandatory wearing of face masks in public across the region, sensitization on the measure and on social / physical distancing by sub-regional authorities. Sub-regional authorities to educate traders on the measures above, commercial drivers to only allow passengers with masks on board, “NO FACE MASK, NO ENTRY” signs to be posted outside public places like offices, lorry stations, shops, markets, malls, banks, pharmacies etc. Satellite markets are also to be created to help decongest main markets and a temporary ban imposed on all “Special Market Days” in the region. GHANA ?? With immediate effect, everyone in the Greater Accra Region must wear face masks. pic.twitter.com/CKLNeqaRhi— Gary #StayAtHome (@garyalsmith) April 23, 2020 Tally hits 1,154 with 21 more recoveries The coronavirus case count in Ghana has increased to 1154. Which indicates an increase of 112 new cases since the last tally was released on April 19 when the president lifted a partial lockdown. The country has also recorded 120 recoveries. This was announced by the Ghana Health Service at a press briefing on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Accra. Meanwhile, the presidential advisor on health, Dr Nsiah-Asare, has in an interview indicated that 10% of the Ghanaian population may probably test positive for the virus before the country’s case count on coronavirus gets to the peak of the infection. Ghana’s population is estimated at over 28 million. A day after meeting members of the Ghana Medical Association, the president met with the Council of State – an advisory body of eminent leaders, to brief them on issues surrounding the COVID-19 fight. Meanwhile, the capital Accra and capital of the resource-rich Ashanti region,Kumasi; breezed into life after the lifting of a three-week lockdown. The two areas along with Kasoa metropolis in the Central Region were locked down last month. The lifting of the measure, the first across Africa, has since elicited exchanges over its propriety but the president defended the decision stressing that it was based on data and science and that it was to help cushion people in the informal sector. April 21: President defends lifting of lockdown as opposition NDC kicks President Akufo-Addo on Monday defended the decision of government to lift a partial lockdown on the capital and two other key metropolis in the West African country. The president told member of the Ghana Medical Association, GMA, during a meeting at the presidency that data on testing and contact tracing along with treatment of confirmed cases informed the decision announced on Sunday, April 19. He also stressed that a crucial plank of the economy, the informal sector, were also a major factor to the decision, which has so far divided opinion in the country. He said in part: “we are also looking at the demography of the disease itself, in terms of the sick, in terms of death. “What we will like to do, as decision makers, is to balance all these factors and to come to a conclusion and a set of solutions that will benefit our people and of course, protect the economy of our country. All of these have been the basket of issues that have led us to take this decision.” As President of the Republic, he continued: “I cannot ignore the impact that this lockdown is having on several constituencies of our nation, especially the informal workers, a very important part of our economy, who need to have a day out in the market or otherwise in order to provide for their families, who were having a lot of difficulty.” The GMA leadership said they were ready to play their part in ensuring that Ghana beats the virus. There has been a series of reactions to the lifting of the lockdown across a broad section of the society. The Trade Union Congress voiced support for the lifting of the measure. Head of a think tank, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, also voiced backing for the move. People jubilated in parts of the country when the lockdown was lifted. The main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC, is however unhappy at the development with its spokesman accusing the president of not valuing the lives of Ghanaians at a time when confirmed cases continued to rise. Meanwhile, the NDC’s current leader and former president John Dramani Mahama continues his food distribution efforts in the Greater Accra Region. Mahama has also made donations to to a number of public hospitals across the country. One of the country’s renowned pathologists, Prof Agyemang Badu Akorsah, bemoaned the lifting stressing that conditions pointed to the need for the lockdown to have been extended. April 19: Ghana lifts partial lockdown Ghana’s president on Sunday lifted targeted lockdown on two major regions in the country citing improved testing of the coronavirus pandemic across the West African country. In the over half-an-hour address delivered to the nation, the president also announced that Ghana’s tally had passed the 1,000 mark. Ghana becomes the first African country to not extend but lift a lockdown. Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and more recently Zimbabwe have all extended lockdowns aimed at curbing spread of the pandemic. Government however warned that lockdowns could be imposed in hotspots if need be. Some key facts from the address included: Ghana has traced 86,000 contacts so far 68,500 of the number have since been tested 18,000 test results expected 1,042 (1.5%) confirmed cases as of April 19 67,549 (98.5% negative) tested negative 930 people responding to treatment at home or government facilities “Indeed Ghana is the only other country in Africa to have conducted more than 60,000 tests and we are ranked number pone in Africa in administering of tests per million people. The decision to impose restrictions on movement was backed by the data at hand and our next course of action is backed by data and by science,” the president said. April 18: Ghana shoots to sub-Saharan Africa’s third most impacted After a day without release of figures, i.e. April 17; government released latest figures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. The case count stands at 834 which indicates an increase of 193 patients. The cases were recorded across the country according to officials. There was also good news for recoveries which also went from 83 to 99 indicating an increase of 16. The new case count means that Ghana is sub-Saharan Africa’s third most impacted nation behind South Africa with over 2,700 cases and Cameroon with 1,017 confirmed cases. Meanwhile Pariliament has approved a $1bn interest-free loan facility given by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, earlier this week to help cushion the country from the effects of the ongoing pandemic, local news outlet Citi News reported Ghana was at high risk of debt distress, the IMF said in a statement. It said the large disbursement of emergency aid would help the West African countries address urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs, and catalyze support from other development partners. April 17: Recoveries recover by 66 Ghana’s COVID-19 statistics as of April 16 stood at 641, with five new cases recorded, 83 recoveries and eight deaths, the information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told a press briefing in the capital Accra. The figure especially relative to recoveries was the biggest one-day rise. The latest figure of 83 meant that 66 more recoveries had been added to the paltry 17 of the day before. The tally is still on the low side comparative to other countries that have recorded 400 cases and above. Ivory remains West Africa’s most impacted country along with Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger and Senegal. WEST AFRICA’S MOST IMPACTED NATIONS: As of April 7 (Case, recovery) Ivory Coast = 688, 193 Ghana = 641, 83 Niger = 609, 105 Burkina Faso = 546, 257 Nigeria = 442, 152 Senegal = 355, 194 April 15: Ghana’s coronavirus figures: galloping cases, snail-pace recoveries The West African nation of Ghana is one of the continent’s most impacted countries in terms of coronavirus infection. The country has recorded 636 confirmed cases (as of April 15). The first cases were confirmed on March 12, 2020. The government has been lauded for its progress in the area of testing, Ghana placed a distant second behind South Africa according to a recent report by Worldometer – a site that specializes in global statistical aggregation. Three day boom – 408 to 636 Ghana as of April 11, 2020 had tested over 37,000 people and at the time had 408 cases. Ghana was sandwiched between South Africa and Egypt in first and third spots with 73,000+ tests (1,265 cases) and 25,000 tests (1,204) cases respectively. Three days later, Ghana’s tally had increased to 636, the second highest in the sub-region only behind neighbouring Ivory Coast which had recorded only two cases more with 638 cases. Ghana’s biggest jump over the three-day period being 158 cases from 408 (April 11) to 566 (April 12). By April 14, another 70 cases have been recorded bringing the tally to 636. Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in reacting to the increase in cases stressed that it was largely due to proactive measures by government. He wrote in a tweet thread of April 13: “The mix of measures to aggressively go in search of it while limiting importation is the reason for which we have found 274 more cases. “The enhanced tracing and testing coupled with the mandatory quarantine systems is yielding results. Had we not adopted this approach, the 274 extra will be with us potentially continuously spreading the virus.” That was before 70 more cases brought the tally to the current 636. Recoveries in need of recovery Recoveries in relation to COVID-19 are a key pointer to how treatment of cases is progressing. As a norm across most African countries, recoveries outnumber deaths – in fact, the same is the case globally. But Ghana’s recovery figures are much lower compared to countries that have passed the 500 mark in terms of infections. Senegal at a point Africa’s most impacted currently reports 299 cases with 183 recoveries, two deaths – the first being a celebrated son of the land, Pape Diouf. Burkina Faso took over from Burkina with a surge in cases weeks back. Yet Ghana’s northern neighbour’s tallies stand at 528 cases, 177 recoveries and 30 deaths. Ivory Coast the ECOWAS leader has 638 cases, 114 recoveries and 6 deaths. With 636 cases, Ghana’s 17 recoveries is dwarfed by neighbours whose recoveries are in the hundreds. Nigeria with 373 cases has recorded 99 recoveries and 11 deaths, Niger with 570 cases had also recorded 90 recoveries. One thing is clear, and that is, in the absence of a boom in recoveries, Ghana’s recoveries need recovery. Worryingly yet, according to the Ghana Health Service website, only two out of the total number of active cases are in critical condition. Quick Statistics: Ghana COVID-19 file Confirmed case = 636 Recoveries = 17 Deaths recorded = 8 Regions impacted: 10 out of 16 Most impacted region: Greater Accra Region

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[l] at 5/28/20 12:10am
Algeria on Wednesday recalled its ambassador from France for consultations, after documentaries about the North African country’s anti-government protest movement were aired on French public television. The interior ministry said films, including two broadcast on Tuesday, “seemingly spontaneous and under the pretext of freedom of expression, are in fact attacks on the Algerian people and its institutions” including the army. Citing the “recurrent character” of such programmes on French public TV, it singled out two documentaries broadcast on Tuesday by France 5 and the former colonial power’s Parliamentary Channel. “Algeria, my love”, aired by France 5, sparked fierce debates on social media. It told the story of the country’s protest movement through the eyes of five Algerians in their 20s. Unprecedented mass protests rocked Algeria early last year to demand the departure of veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, sparked by the ailing 82-year-old’s announcement that he would stand for a fifth term. In April 2019 he resigned, and in December, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected on an official turnout of less than 40 percent. Analysts say participation was considerably lower. Mass protests against the ruling system only halted when the novel coronavirus arrived in Algeria earlier this year. The second film, “Algeria: the Promises of the Dawn” was broadcast on France’s Parliamentary Channel. In its statement, the Algerian ministry cited what it said were “malicious and lasting intentions on the part of certain circles, which do not wish to see peaceful relations between Algeria and France after 58 years of independence”. AFP

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[l] at 5/27/20 11:36pm
Senegal will continue treating COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, a senior health official said on Wednesday, despite a recent study indicating that the anti-malarial drug is ineffective and potentially harmful. Authorities in the West African state opted to provide consenting patients with the drug early on during its coronavirus outbreak, citing promising clinical results. Chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine have been used for decades against malaria and are considered cheap and safe when used correctly. US President Donald Trump promoted its use and stunned his own administration earlier this month by revealing he was taking it as a preventive measure against the virus. But even as countries around the world rushed to use the anti-malarials to fight COVID-19, experts urged caution and warned that the drugs can have potentially serious side effects. A study of nearly 100,000 COVID-19 patients, released on Friday, appeared to confirm some of those concerns. Published in the medical journal The Lancet, the study found that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine do not benefit hospitalised patients — and even increase the risk of death and heart arrhythmia. It recommended against using either drug outside of clinical trials. Abdoulaye Bousso, who heads Senegal’s Centre for Health Emergency Operations, told AFP on Wednesday that the country’s hydroxychloroquine treatment programme would nonetheless continue, without offering further details. The infectious-diseases doctor who is spearheading Senegal’s treatment of COVID-19 patients, Moussa Seydi, did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did the health ministry. The World Health Organization said on Monday it had temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus following the Lancet study. Scientific community divided But medical authorities worldwide still appear divided on the use and potential harmfulness of the drugs. France decided to ban it as a COVID-19 treatment on Wednesday, for example, while Brazilian authorities indicated that they would continue using the drug. Seydi, the Senegalese infectious-diseases doctor, had previously said that hydroxychloroquine is offered only to consenting patients, and after medical staff perform a cardiogram. Senegal has so far been spared a coronavirus outbreak on a par with Europe and the United States. Authorities have recorded 3,235 cases to date, with 38 fatalities. AFP

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[l] at 5/27/20 11:00pm
Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga, arrested this month after more than two decades on the run, told a French court on Wednesday that the international charges against him were lies. Kabuga has been indicted by U.N. prosecutors for genocide and incitement to commit genocide, among other charges. He is accused of bankrolling and arming the ethnic Hutu militias which killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus over 100 days in 1994. Asked if he understood the charges, Kabuga told the court through an interpreter: “All of this is lies. I have not killed any Tutsis. I was working with them.” Kabuga was arrested in a Paris suburb on May 16. His lawyers told the court he should be released under court supervision because of his age and ill-health, and that the results of a DNA test used to identify him should be annulled as he had not given consent. The court’s three judges, who are due to decide whether to transfer Kabuga to the international tribunal based in The Hague and Arusha, Tanzania. Kabuga was too elderly and sick to be transferred and should be tried in France, his lawyers said. “This court is just saying ‘go and get judged elsewhere but not here’. It wants to hand him over him without consideration for his age and health, which could have irreversible consequences,” defence lawyer Laurent Bayon told the court. Agencies

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[l] at 5/27/20 6:50am
Zambia is one of southern Africa’s most impacted nations despite being way behind continent leader South Africa. A lockdown imposed by President Edgar Lungu has since been relaxed following a continent-wide trend. This article will focus on major developments coming from the southern African country. May 24: govt spokesperson tests positive Information Minister and chief government spokesperson, Dora Siliya, confirmed testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. In a video posted on Twitter, she said she had gone into immediate self-isolation despite being asymptomatic. “I have since alerted the ministry of health and I have given them all my contacts especially in the last 10 days,” she added. “Let us continue to observe social distancing, masking and washing our hands regularly,” she advised. The World Health Organization’s Africa head reacting to the news today congratulated the Minister for being open about her status and wished her speedy recovery. Over in South Sudan, the first vice-president and a number of ministers had earlier this week tested positive for the virus. Over in Nigeria three state governors have recovered from the virus – those in question are governors of Oyo, Kaduna and Bauchi. Zambia virus stats as of May 24, 2020 at 13:00 GMT Confirmed cases = 920 Deaths = 7 Recoveries = 336 Active cases = 577 I thank Dora_Siliya, Zambia’s Minister of Information & Broadcasting Services, for being so open & sharing important information on #COVID19 risk & prevention measures. Such candour is vital to fighting stigma around the virus. I wish you a speedy recovery. https://t.co/ujQyMlkAQe— Dr Matshidiso Moeti (MoetiTshidi) May 24, 2020 May 20: Nakonde records more new cases Nakonde, the border town with Tanzania continues to record more cases of the virus. It remains the most impacted town with a tally that far outstrips the capital Lusaka. Nakonde recorded 47 new cases on Wednesday bringing its tally to 456. Which represents more than half of the national case count which stands at 832. Thirteen other new cases were spread between six other districts. Active cases currently stand at 628 with recoveries up to 197 and seven deaths so far. The one-stop border post in Nakonde was closed last week by President Lungu amid a spike in cases. May 14: Case spike continues with Nakonde leading Zambia has more than doubled its COVID-19 figures from five days ago. 208 new cases took the case count to 654. Of the cases, 196 were in Nakonde, a border town with Tanzania and the other 12 in Chirundu. The current tally of 654 means an increase of 387 cases within the last three days. As of May 10, the number of confirmed cases stood at 267. May 14 = 654 cases (208 new cases), 7 deaths, 124 recoveries May 13 = 446 cases (5 new cases), 7 deaths, 117 recoveries May 12 = 441 cases (174 new cases), 7 deaths, 117 recoveries May 11 = 267 cases (0 new cases), 7 deaths, 117 recoveries May 10 = 267 cases, 7 deaths, 117 recoveries The town of Nakonde was declared a hot spot by the Ministry of Health on May 10 leading to the closure of the frontier with Tanzania. The Nakonde – Tunduma border post was launched in October 2019 at a ceremony attended by Presidents Lungu and Magufuli. Zambia opted to close it in order to better contain spread of virus in the area. WATCH VIDEO: IN its continued support to supplement Governments efforts in the fight against Covid 19, AICZ today moved to #Nakonde District Hospital for its disinfection. A team of AICZ board members , Mr. Khankara and Mr. Dasu are on the ground in Nakonde to oversee the prgme pic.twitter.com/K8hQNKMd5Y— Mwebantu (@Mwebantu) May 14, 2020 May 10: Closure of border with Tanzania The Zambian government has announced the closure of its common border with Tanzania. On Saturday (May 9) 76 new cases were reported in Nakonde, the border town in question. The president directed that with effect from Monday 11th May, 2020; “the Nakonde border will be temporarily closed. There shall be no traffic in and out of Nakonde,” Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya announced at a COVID-19 press briefing on Sunday. The measure is to facilitate the roll out of targeted interventions. During the time, immigration staff at the border will be trained and retrained on how to safely deal with entry of persons and goods. Redeployments and reinforcements will also be undertaken, whiles Personal Protective Equipments and quarantine facilities and other key logistics will reinforced with the view to protect the lives of officials and the people of Nakonde. Zambia’s case stats as of today stands at 267 confirmed cases with 117 discharges and 7 deaths. Tanzania on the other hand has 509 cases, 21 deaths and 183 recoveries, according to John Hopkins University tallies. Tanzania’s overall response to the pandemic has been a mix of controversy. From president Magufuli casting doubts on the efficacy of test kits, refusal to implement measures such as curfew or lockdowns and reported cases of midnight burials. The border in question is the Nakonde – Tunduma One Stop Border Post (OSBP) was launched in October 2019 at a ceremony attended by the two leaders. It is said to be one of the busiest crossing points in Southern Africa with an average traffic flow of 600 trucks per day. The OSBP was touted as significantly reducing the time spent at the border from the average of 4 days at the time of launch to 1 day hence helping truck drivers and traders increase on their profit and save time. “Once fully operation, the border will handle higher traffic levels which will in return improve competitiveness of the corridor resulting in increased trade volumes. Ultimately this infrastructure will promote border coordination making our shared border smart and efficient,” the Zambian leader said at the time. Govt of Zambia orders temporary closure of border with Tanzania from tomorrow. This after 76 Covid-19 cases were reported at Nakonde – the border town with Tanzania. Total number of cases in the Country stands at 267. pic.twitter.com/ULnH7d4kGS— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) May 10, 2020 May 8: Relaxation of lockdown measures The president in an address to the nation on Friday announced the reopening of restaurants, gyms and casinos “as he calls on Zambian scientists to find local solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic,” local news portal Mwebantu reported. However, bars and taverns were to remain closed until further notice. The president also reopened examination classes in schools beginning 1st June 2020. He stressed that all these measures should comply with public health measures aimed at containing and combating spread of the virus. The president also challenged Zambian scientists to help find local solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed the need for professionals to find local solutions to challenges and not always rely on foreign solutions.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)] [Link to media]

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