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South Africa: The Case for Avoiding Price Controls in Times of Crisis - They Don't Work

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[The Conversation Africa] Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the initial stockpiling of food and other items, government regulation of the prices of basic food and medical goods has received significant attention.

Kenya coronavirus: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City

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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. “This is why my Administration has rolled out some FISCAL and MONETARY policy measures to cushion the looming situation. I have already announced the accelerated disbursement to the elderly and the indigent, coming from the Social Safety Net Fund,” he added. April 24: BBC journalist suggest Kenya vaccine trials Kenyans are incensed by COVID-19 vaccine trial comments on the BBC suggesting that British scientists could start their trials in Kenya if tests in UK don’t get the expected results. Fergus Walsh, the BBC medical correspondent, whiles speaking on the World Service about his assessment on how successful trial in the UK could be, made the comments that have attracted the backlash. His words: “We could be careful not to over promise because we are desperate for this vaccine to work but the team in Oxford have a really strong record going back 30 years. They have developed successful prototype vaccines against another type of coronavirus, MERS. “... which has done well in clinical trials, they’ve also developed vaccines against plague, malaria (now) if they don’t get early quick results from the UK they are considering a trial in Kenya where the epidemic of the coronavirus will be on the rise. “As far as i known, this vaccine is known to produce a strong anti-body response but that doesn’t necessarily equate to protection. And we are going to need many vaccines with dozens in development. “Then we will need billions of doses and expect a huge debate over which countries and which groups of people get the vaccine first.” The Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, who are conducting the ongoing trial in the UK have not commented on Welsh’s statement. The video is being widely shared on Kenya’s Twitter space. Reactions as Kenyans fume at vaccine trial comment The French medics just mentioned Africa as a potential testing ground. Now a senior BBCWorld journalist BBCFergusWalsh thinks that Kenya should be a testing ground. We are his guinea pigs. Idiot!! pic.twitter.com/vtkZkBV39c— Robert Alai (@RobertAlai) April 24, 2020 The latest development evokes a similar outrage that accompanied a suggestion by two French scientists that a vaccine trial should start from Africa given the lack of facilities and health support system. The WHO chief in responding to the topic slammed the scientists for what he said were racist remarks that smugged of a hangover from colonialism. Most Africans tasked their governments to not accept any such trials. 320 cases, recoveries climbing steadily The case count has reached 320 as of April 23 after 17 new cases were recorded over the last 24-hours. All 17 were Kenyan citizens. A dozen from Mombasa and the remaining from Nairobi. Meanwhile recoveries received a boost as six new discharges brought the tally to 89. Fatalities remain at 14 with active cases at 217. Kenya’s overall test count stands at 15,792 according to Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi. Nairobi county maintained its unassailable lead with 211 cases whiles Mombasa climbed to 79. Kilifi, Mandera and Kwale complete the list of partially locked down counties with 9, 8 and 1 case respectively. Kajiado, Kitui, Nakuru, Siaya, Kakamega, Uasin Gishu and Homabay complete the list of infected counties. Meanwhile the weatherman is cautioning that rains will intensify in parts of the country. The rains and attendant flooding are an added headache to humanitarian efforts bedeviling the country. A locust invasion is the other. A weather alert said the rains and attendant flood risk was going to impact the wider East, Horn of Africa region: Exceptionally high rainfall from 21-26 April is expected in Djibouti, southeastern Ethiopia, Kenya, southern Somalia, northwestern Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. All risk mitigation measures need to be activated, the alert noted. Kenya has reported 17 new coronavirus cases, 12 are from Mombasa while five from Nairobi. #CoronavirusUpdates pic.twitter.com/wY3hKFHNMw— TheStarKenya (@TheStarKenya) April 23, 2020 April 22: Mandera locked down, cases reach 303 Mandera County has been placed on lockdown by Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i citing escalation of community based infections and classification of the county as an infected area. The measure includes: cessation of movement by air and road in and out of the country for an initial 21 days starting 7pm (local time) April 22, 2020. “Further, His Excellency the President has directed the National Command Center on the Coronavirus Pandemic to immediately review the enforcement of public health measures rolled out to stem the growing rate of infection in the counties of Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi with a view to introducing more stringent measures to enhance the enforcement of the same.” The results of that review is expected in the next 48-hours, a statement signed by Matiang’i added. The case count has meanwhile passed 300 reaching 304 today after seven nationals tested positive in the last 24-hours. 2. His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the National Command Centre on the Coronavirus Pandemic to immediately review the enforcement of public health measures in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi. The results of this review will be announced in the next 48 hours.— Dr. Fred Matiang’i (@FredMatiangi) April 22, 2020 Hunt for quarantine escapees, MPs applaud medics President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed on Wednesday morning that dozens of people who escaped from a quarantine facility in Nairobi will be arrested and returned to the facility. Videos broadcast on TV and postd on social media showed people scaling the wall of the facility and running off. Uhuru spoke just hours after the video was shared online. Local media puts the escapee list at 50 but no official tallies have been released as yet. The president said the identities of all those who had escaped was known to relevant authorities. On Tuesday evening, the health ministry had said that police were investigating the escape. The Citizen TV station said the breakout took place during a meal when it started raining and guards took cover from the rain. Taking a leaf from media and the Air Force, members of parliament today applauded medics for their role in the fight against COVID-19. All work in the National Assembly halted at midday as all persons within the premises stood up and clapped for a minute to appreciate the efforts of health workers. The day’s briefing is yet to be held by the Ministry of Health. Covid-19: Members of the National Assembly join Kenyans in applauding frontline health workers. #Saa6 pic.twitter.com/vGtiI5I8tM— Daily Nation (@dailynation) April 22, 2020 April 21: Kenya case count hits 296, medics appreciated Kenya on Tuesday confirmed an increase of fifteen cases bringing the national tally to 296. Five new recoveries meant the tally in that area had reached 74. The death toll still stands at 14. Today’s briefing was by Dr. Mercy Mwangangi, CAS, Ministry of Health. “Some of our young people deliberately break curfew regulations on false belief that they cannot catch COVID19. We remind them that, we are in a war situation, against an enemy that is not a respecter of age, status, gender, race or religion; Dr. Mwangangi stressed. We acknowledge efforts made supermarkets & also banks in providing sanitizers to shoppers, & ensuring they wear face masks. Our concern is on handling of goods by cashiers at paying counters & we are advising them to devise innovative ways to address this matter. She also acknowledged a “Thank You” campaign by the Kenyan Air Force, media and other groupings. The Air force earlier in the day deployed two aircrafts flying banners with the message to ‘stay at home’ and to thank healthcare workers for their effort in the COVID-19 combat. Thank you KenyaEditors together with KenyaMedics_KMA & the Association of Nurses for initiating a campaign dubbed ‘Saa Sita,” to stop & clap for health workers at midday every Wednesday. ntvkenya #KomeshaCorona pic.twitter.com/DFs21Sj4PR— Ministry of Health (MOH_Kenya) April 21, 2020 ✔️5 new recoveries ✔️74 people have fully recovered and been discharged ✔️2,851 monitored ✔️2,121 released ✔️730 under follow up ✔️14,704 total samples tested#KomeshaCorona update pic.twitter.com/pG2H2nhDmn— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) April 21, 2020 April 20: Case count at 281, curfew defiers netted Kenya’s case tally as of April 20 hit 281 with the addition of 11 new cases Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe confirmed in the daily briefing for COVID-19. Seven of the new cases are from Mombasa County with the remaining from Nairobi county. He also disclosed that 455 people had been quarantined for defying curfew directives. Kenya has East and Horn of Africa’s third highest tally as of today only behind runaway leaders Djibouti and Mauritius with 846 and 328 cases respectively. Meanwhile, US ambassador Kyle McCarter came under fire for a coronavirus containment tweet when he tweeted about the low usage of face masks and observance of social distancing. His tweet read: “Only a fraction of the wananchi [Swahili for citizens] are wearing masks and social distancing. None of us know the magnitude of this Wuhan flu but we must take basic known wise precautions.” But tweeps questioned the ambassador on whether his country had donated masks to poor Kenyans who can’t afford them. In one response ambassador McCarter wrote: “You would not be able to test in Kenya if not for USA.” cases hit 246, KQ refits planes, ‘stubborn’ priest held The national tally stands at 246 as at midday local time according to the Standard Digital portal, the number is 12 more that the last official figure that stood at 246 as at close of day April 16. Speaking in an address yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said whiles progress had been made, there was more needed to be done. “We have lost 11 people to this disease and nearly one thousand are still in quarantine, and 156 in isolation facilities. “Coronavirus is not a respecter of age, of status, of ethnicity or race: we have even seen leaders of countries get infected and had to seek serious medical attention. “We applaud the students at Kenyatta University for developing a prototype of an inexpensive ventilator for use in our local hospitals,” he added. KQ refits planes for cargo purposes Kenya Airways (KQ) has converted four of its passenger aircraft into cargo carriers as part of its measures to lessen the impact of Covid-19 on its business. “Kenya Airways this morning dispatched a cargo flight operated by our Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger aircraft from Nairobi to London loaded with 40,000kgs of fresh produce,” said the national carrier in a statement. “This is part of the innovative initiatives we have embarked on by converting four wide-body passenger aircraft to fit our cargo operations in order to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on operations.” Analysts say the move is beneficial for the airline as well as for the horticulture sector in the East African country. the industry has suffered losses due to a lack of access to its key markets after the pandemic almost grounded global travel. Like all African airlines, KQ has been hit hard by the cancellation of international flights, with most of its passenger planes grounded. The airline said it would now strive to meet the growing demand for freight aircraft. Africa’s biggest cargo operator remains Ethiopian Airlines Catholic priest held over quarantine flouting – Reuters report A Catholic priest was charged in Kenyan court on Thursday with spreading the novel coronavirus, the second person to face such charges in Kenya. Kenya, which has 234 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 11 deaths, has banned all public gatherings, limited the number of mourners at funerals, imposed a daily curfew and restricted movement in and out of four regions most affected. Catholic priest Richard Onyango Oduor was charged with having “negligently spread an infectious disease” after authorities said he failed to adhere to coronavirus quarantine rules following a visit to Italy. He denied the charges in a Nairobi court, and was freed on a 150,000 Kenyan shilling ($1,415) bond. He was ordered to spend another 14 days in quarantine and reappear in court on May 2. Archbishop Anthony Muheria, in charge of the Catholic dioceses of Nyeri and Kitui, told Reuters he could not comment on the case, and it was up to the authorities to determine whether the priest was at fault. April 15: Sonko’s alcoholic leak, cases rise to 225 Kenya stats: As of April 15, COVID-19 cases rise to 225 as 9 more Kenyans test positive; five cases reported in Nairobi and 4 in Mombasa, Health Minister Muhati Kagwe confirms in daily briefing. Twelve more people have been discharged raising the number of recoveries to 53; number of deaths rises to 10, an addition of one. Meanwhile, embattled governor of Nairobi, has become the butt of social media mockery after he sparked controversy about plans to distribute alcohol as part of food packs for poor families who are missing work because of coronavirus pandemic. Governor Mike Sonko made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday and has been trending on social media for saying he had “small bottles of Hennessy in the food packs that we will be giving to our people.” “From the research which has been conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) and various health organisations it has been revealed that alcohol plays a very major role in killing the coronavirus or any sort of virus,” he added. A fact check on Sonko’s claims by a BBC journalist returned a false verdict about alcohol protecting people from contracting the virus. The process relied largely on WHO material to disprove Sonko’s “WHO claims.” “We will have some small bottles of Hennessy in the food packs that we will be giving to our people…” – Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko Note: WHO warns that drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous pic.twitter.com/vuSuVAb8dy— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 14, 2020 April 14: Tally hits 216, mass testing to start Kenya coronavirus statistics as of April 14 had reached 216 confirmed cases with 41 recoveries and nine deaths according to the Ministry of Health. In the last 24 hours, Kenya tested 694 samples. Out of these samples, 8 tested positive for coronavirus disease, CAS Dr. Mwangangi confirmed. Six cases were picked from mandatory quarantine centers whiles 2 were picked by the Ministry’s surveillance teams. Mass testing is to start soon in the next phase of the COVID-19 combat, Dr Mwangangi further confirmed. “We are rolling out the mass testing exercise in consideration of risk areas i.e quarantine centers, hotels and isolation facilities, hospitals & high population density areas such as Kibra. “The 1st phase of the mass testing will see approximately 12,000 testing kits deployed to the targeted areas. We have deployed 1000 testing kits to the Kenya Ports Authority, Mombasa county, based on the risk of transmission as well as Mandera & Siaya Counties,” she announced. April 12: Siaya infected as tally hits 197, MP nabbed over curfew breach Kenya’s confirmed cases is nearing 200 mark with six new cases bringing the tally as at April 12 to 197. Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe has announced. According to the statement, out of the six, five were patients in mandatory quarantine centres while one was picked by the ministry’s surveillance team. In the last 24 hours, we have tested 766 samples and out of the number, six have tested positive for Covid-19,” he said. Siaya county became the latest to record a case, one of the six cases was recorded in the country, another in Mombabsa with the remaining four from Nairobi. He further disclosed that five of the new cases are Kenyans while one is a foreign national. Kenya has also recorded another recovery bring the total recovery tally to 25. A death was also recorded bringing to eight the total. “We regret to inform you that we have lost one patient in Siaya. This now brings the total number of Coronavirus deaths to eight,” he said, adding that contact tracing is ongoing. 2,160 contacts have been monitored out of which 1,660 have been discharged with 500 contacts being followed. Kenya has so far tested 7,449 since the first case was reported in the country. MP who violated curfew arrested The Standard Digital portal reports that Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Gathiru was on Saturday evening arrested in a pub after breaking the curfew directive. The MP was among others who were arrested at the Royal Tavern Pub in Ruai for flouting the curfew rule. County commander Philip Ndolo confirmed the arrests. Meanwhile, a group of residents from Embakasi’s Nyayo Estate were arrested for attending a birthday party in one of the homes. In South Africa a minister was suspended by the president for breaching lockdown regulations to attend lunch. In Nigeria, a popular entertainment couple were charged for hosting a party in the commercial capital of Lagos. In both instances, it took postings on social media to land them in trouble. April 11: Muted Easter celebrations, the Kibera food stampede Churches and other Christian places of worship have been closed across the capital Nairobi as most Easter services have moved from in-church to online. The usual pomp and celebration that characterizes the period is gone as people observe a stay home order which is at the heart of government’s containment order of the coronavirus pandemic. The few churches that held service did so with strict protocols from social distancing to use of face masks and provision of sanitizers. Hundreds of thousands are having to stay at home and by that cancel plans of travelling to celebrate the annual event with families in other counties. “This is a spiritual attack. Church happens when people gather, and there are people who feel that something is amiss if they do not take sacrament. We have to keep safe and stop gathering, but it is difficult,” says Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit. He stressed that the church was using social media platforms to reach out to the faithful. “I have asked the bishops to use technology to preach on Good Friday and Easter Sunday,” he is quoted to have said. For his part, Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria says at the heart of Easter sermons will be celebrating family love and that Easter sermons will also be streamed online for the faithful. “Easter is a moment of hope and celebration of victory of love over death, and light over darkness. When we have the dark clouds of corona hanging over us, we encourage people to celebrate family love, and offer each other the gift of smiles and service,” says Muheria. Easter season with a difference: With empty churches and parks, it’s Easter like no other The Kibera food distribution stampede Thousands of people surged for food aid in a brief stampede Friday in Kenya’s capital, desperate for help as coronavirus restrictions keep them from making a living. Police fired tear gas and injured several people, witnesses said. Residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slum, spotting a food distribution, tried to force their way through a gate outside a district office for their chance at supplies to keep their families fed for another day. The scene in Kenya’s largest slum reflected the fears of millions across Africa as nearly 20 countries have imposed full lockdowns and others have shut down cities or imposed curfews. A vast population of informal workers, with little or no savings, worries about the next meal as no one knows when the measures will end. Already, Rwanda and South Africa have extended their lockdowns by two weeks. In the Nairobi chaos, men with sticks beat people back as they fought over packages of food, some with face masks dangling off their chins. Some people fell and were trampled. Dust rose. Women shrieked. Injured people were carried to safety and placed on the ground to recover, gasping for breath. “The people who have been injured here are very many, even we cannot count,” said one resident, Evelyn Kemunto. “Both women and children have been injured. There was a woman with twins, she has been injured, and even now she is looking for her twins. … It is food we were coming for since we are dying of hunger.” The crowd had heard that popular opposition leader Raila Odinga had donated the food, said witness Richard Agutu Kongo, a 43-year-old who operates a motorcycle taxi. But in fact the distribution was from another well-wisher who had given selected families cards to turn in and receive aid, he said. April 10: Cases reach 189, government gazettes regulations Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe announced today that 5 more Kenyans have tested positive after analysis of 504 samples; Kenya’s number of cases now 189. He added that 10 more people to be discharged from Mbagathi hospital after testing negative: number of recoveries now 22. Meanwhile, government has gazetted COVID-19 related regulations which include hefty penalties for persons caught flouting directives issued in line with the Public Health Act. The penalties range from a fine of Sh20,000 or a six months’ imprisonment or both. A Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 41 signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe indicated that some of the offences to be tracked are: failure to wear a mask while using public or private transport and failure to maintain social distance. “Users of public or private transport and public transport operators shall wear a proper mask that must cover the person’s mouth and nose and also maintain a physical distance of not less than one metre.” As per the new rules, organisations, business entities, traders whether in a market or enclosed premises are required to provide at their business location or entrance to their premises, a handwashing station with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser which is approved for use by the Kenya Bureau of Standards. COVID-19: HEALTH CS Mutahi Kagwe says 5 more Kenyans have tested positive after analysis of 504 samples; Kenya’s number of cases now 189. #covid_19Ke pic.twitter.com/JnBDQaJbVL— NationBreakingNews (@NationBreaking) April 10, 2020 April 9: MPs infection report disputed, Ruto urges obedience of COVID-19 rules The government today responded to claims that some 17 lawmakers had tested positive for COVID-19. The Chief Administrator of the Health Ministry, Mercy Mwangangi, had earlier on Wednesday dismissed the report carried by some top newspapers. “It is important to ensure that labs follow protocols (in revealing results), as it stands, we have no formal reports of (confirmed positive cases in private labs),” she is quoted to have said. Meanwhile, head of Lancet laboratories, a private-firm which carried out the tests on some MPs, said: “The information circulating in the media about COVID-19 confirmed cases at Parliament is completely incorrect, misleading and should be disregarded.’ Ahmed Kalebi added: “In particular the information circulating both in terms of purported numbers and names of people who have allegedly tested positive for the COVID-19 is entirely false.” On Wednesday, a number of lawmakers posted their results on social media to prove that the reports were untrue. Meanwhile, the newspapers in question have come under censure on Thursday morning across social media. Their common headline of “We Stand With Kenyans,” have been rubbished by Twitter users. “We know your sales are down and therefore being SENSATIONAL or just outright malicious! Sorry to also rain on the parade of all those celebrating our supposed infections, it is lies, fake news! Anyone can get infected but in this case this is just malice by The Star on MPs,” Senator Susan Kihika, a Majority Chief Whip tweeted. Deputy president William Ruto has also made his first coronavirus address tasking citizens to respect all rules and regulations imposed by government to contain the spread of a disease he described as a paradox. he touched on a range of issues including government intervention and the need for all hands to be on deck in the fight. “Coronavirus can’t move, it needs our bodies to transfer from one place to another, curtailing our movement will hugely prevent the movement of this virus…” “Every Kenyan should go an extra mile and ensure their family and friends adhere to the safety measures… let us be our brother’s keeper…” “Our first key task is to assemble and provide a body of accurate and verifiable information to the public and to work with all partners including the media so as to empower citizens to take the right choices…” “Corona virus can’t move, it needs our bodies to transfer from one place to another, curtailing our movement will hugely prevent the movement of this virus…” – William Ruto, Deputy President pic.twitter.com/t3w6SLiSSb— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 9, 2020 April 8: Seven new cases Uhuru rules out total lockdown Confirmed cases in Kenya has reached 179 with seven new cases recorded from the last round of tests, a top official of the Health Ministry noted on Wednesday. “In the last 24 hours, we have tested a total of 305 samples, out of which seven people have tested positive for the Coronavirus disease. All the seven are Kenyans, the Ministry noted. Four of them have travel history. Five of them are from Nairobi county. In terms of contact tracing, authorities have a total of 2,004 persons under monitoring, out of which 1,426 have been discharged and 578 are currently on follow up. To date, authorities have managed to test 5,278 samples from individuals. Meanwhile a recall of parliament scheduled for today was cancelled due to travel ban on movement into and out of the capital Nairobi. A measure ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier this week. Lower house Speaker Justin Muturi confirmed the decision to local media late Tuesday. Nairobi and three countries in the coastal region have been identified as coronavirus hot spots. A key motivation for the restriction is to prevent the spread of the virus into other regions ahead of the Easter weekend. Two widely-circulated newspapers Daily Nation and The Star have also reported that some lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19. Already some MPs were under a mandatory quarantine after returning from international trips in early March. #Top5At5 Here are the stories making headlines this evening. pic.twitter.com/E8D4wSsiLm— TheStarKenya (@TheStarKenya) April 8, 2020 April 7: Uhuru rules out total lockdown Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta explained further why he had not locked down the entire country averring that it was in the interest of the greater public good. According to him, doing so will mean depriving a sizeable number of the population from feeding. He stresses that it would be the last resort if current containment measures fail to achieve the needed objective. Barely 24-hours prior, he had imposed restrictions on exiting and entering the capital Nairobi and three other coastal counties where cases were being recorded. President Kenyatta’s latest responses were in a radio interview on Tuesday morning, where he reiterated the need for citizens to obey all instructions in the interest of public safety. Th president also disclosed that he had ordered the arrest of deputy governor who had flouted medical advice over quarantine thus endangering the lives of members of the public. “I am the one who said that the Kilifi Deputy Governor should be arrested… I am praying that he gets 10 years,” he said. April 6: Kenya cases rise to 158, transport regulations being enforced President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed that the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country stood at 158 as of April 6, an increase of 16 new cases. The president was delivering an address on Monday on measures that government continued to take in combating the virus that has claimed six lives so far. Kenya has also recorded four recoveries. The president declared the cessation of movement in Nairobi, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa Counties for 21 days. He disclosed that 82% of COVID-19 have been in Nairobi and 14 per cent have been in the other coastal counties. The Nairobi directive starts today (Monday) at 7 pm while that of the other counties will begin from Wednesday.Some quotes from the president’s address: A majority of those who have contracted the disease are from Nairobi metropolitan area, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties This coronavirus does not care about religion, tribe or size of your wallet. Defeating it will require us to put aside our differences and stand together. Make no mistake, we are at war and we must be together to win this war We must heed and comply with govt directives. We must take extra care not to expose those over 50 years I will go to any lawful length to respond to covid-19…There is a choice we have to make: do we live as normal or fundamentally change the way we live? Our greatness will show in the sacrifices we make to protect one another. Wearing your mask and washing hands does indeed save lives President Uhuru Kenyatta: We will do everything in our power to ensure our nation does not suffer as a result of the coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/UZCKHjQdcI— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 6, 2020 Kenya has started enforcing a set of rules for transport operators in the wake of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Transport Minister James Macharia said on Sunday that flouters will face the law. “From Monday April 6, 2020, any public transport vehicle found not observing the set directives, will have their Sacco licenses suspended and the vehicle bonded.” The set rules in question are a cut down on the number of passengers that a vehicle can carry as part of social distancing measures. Kenya is also stressing the need for people to wear their masks as frequently as possible. Top official of the health ministry as of yesterday confirmed that local production of the masks was advanced adding that disbursements were to be done at the county level by organized groups. April 4: Raila urges social discipline and respect for directives Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged citizens to remain disciplined and look out for loved ones amid the coronavirus outbreak that has forced government to impose a night-time curfew across the country. According to the Orange Democratic Movement leader, the time to fight the pandemic was now and it rested on every individual and on all Kenyans. His views were contained in a statement issued on Saturday, April 4. It read in part: “If we don’t take personal control now, there will be no control to take later. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. I am calling on every Kenyan to use his or her existing personal social connections and ask them daily to protect themselves from the coronavirus.” Odinga also underlined the need for citizens to check on one another during these times reiterating his call a week ago that there was the need to respect all regulations put in place by authorities to help defeat the pandemic. “Do not focus on strangers. Focus on people you have a personal relationship with,” Raila stressed the critical role young people had to play with resources at their disposal. He tasked the youth to be Kenya’s new soldiers and saviours. “Use the advantages of technology and social media to encourage your friends to stay safe and to keep them company from a social distance,” he added. Letter to my fellow Kenyans. pic.twitter.com/LYcBsMNJ73— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) April 4, 2020 In a report released by technology giant Google, social spots across Kenya have increasingly been abandoned in the wake of social distancing measures put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic. “This type of data is used to show how crowded certain types of places are,” Google explained in a statement. The report noted that shopping malls, restaurants and recreational spots recorded considerably lower visits between a three week period in March (March 8 – March 29). Some findings over the period were as follows: Customer traffic to restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, libraries and movie theatres dropped by 45%. Traffic to bus and train stations similarly went down by 39%. Open-air markets, food warehouses, drug stores and pharmacies recorded a 33% drop. Residential estates marked the only rise in traffic, recording 17% more movement. Places of work on the other hand recorded a 22% drop. The report uses anonymised data from users on Google Maps relying on the location data to create an accurate pattern of real-time social movement across the country. Explaining the reason for releasing the report at this time, the tech giant said: “Google has heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymised data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat Covid-19.” READ MORE: Cafes, malls big losers in war against pandemic April 3: Kilifi deputy governor arrested, pastors want churches to be made “essential” Deputy governor of Kilifi County has been arrested by authorities for failing to self-isolate. Gideon Saburi was declared virus-free yesterday after undergoing treatment. On Friday, he was handcuffed after his release and taken away by security operatives from the Coast General Hospital where he was treated. He is one of four recovered patients in the country where records indicate that 2,201 tests have been conducted with the case toll at 122 and death toll at 4. Kenya recored a boom in cases with over 40 cases in two days. BREAKING: A six year old child dies in Kenya due to complications from #coronavirus, authorities say. The child had other ailments according to NationBreaking. Kenya also reports 12 new positive Corona Virus cases, bringing the total cases to 122, per local media.— Harun Maruf (HarunMaruf) April 3, 2020 Meanwhile a group of pastors are appealing for churches to be added to “essential services” allowed to operate during the pandemic. Government is currently enforcing a night time curfew along with strict social interaction rules. The bloc from Kenya’s eastern Makueni insist that faith is the “best way to fight the unseen enemy.” Per their request, they want to be allowed to hold Sunday services in open grounds, while adhering to the proposed one-metre distance between people to prevent infection. “It is sad that in the current situation, the church has been left out, closed (and) we feel that as a country, we may be involved in a futile exercise. The church even though a spiritual institution has a reference point on the altar. “To us, the church is the last place of hope and resilience, indeed a safe haven to the downtrodden and the stricken by any form of calamity… we feel that the church was left out and excluded, we feel that we were unfairly locked out of solution providers to the predicament affecting our people,” spokesperson of the pastors, Nicholas Kyule, said. Another, Titus Uswii, was quoted in the Star Newspaper as saying that the country “may be involved in a futile exercise” as long as churches remain closed. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Kilifi Deputy Governor Saburi arrested at Coast General Hospital. He is to face charges for refusing to self-isolate. #COVID19KE pic.twitter.com/zht5UOl43M— The Standard Digital (@StandardKenya) April 3, 2020 April 2: Confirmed cases rise to 110 Some new developments announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health include: Kenya records two deaths, bringing total deaths to three Deputy Governor of Kilifi County has fully recovered and shall face the law in due course Members of the public advised to put on masks when getting into a matatu (commercial buses) Local production of masks and PPEs has began People in high traffic areas are advised to put on masks as a precautionary measure Government shall be hiring 5000 health workers across the counties to begin immediately Kenya #coronavirus tally hits 110 The second 20+ increase Yesterday an increase of 22 Today an increase of 29 Most impacted mainland East African country Mauritius has 161 cases Only South Sudan is uninfected in region https://t.co/phiUzzVsA5— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) April 2, 2020 April 2: Kenya to receive $50m World Bank loan Kenya’s request to the World Bank for $50m to fund containment efforts of the coronavirus pandemic has been approved according to Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe. Minister Kagwe confirms that the funds will largely go into boosting capacity of frontline staff – i.e. buying protective gear for health workers, hand sanitizers, increasing bed capacity in hospitals is another area government will focus on. Kenya’s health workers are on recorded to have protested the lack of protective gear in hospitals, multiple local media outlets have reported. Out of 81 confirmed cases (as of April 1) in the country, one health worker has tested positive – with local media reporting it had happened after the person came into contact with an infected patient. Meanwhile, the Ministry says tracing of close contacts of the 81 confirmed cases is on-going. 1675 close contacts have been monitored, 706 have been discharged after completing the 14 days follow up period. Currently, the ministry is monitoring 969 close contacts of confirmed cases. Those of us who have recovered from COVID-19, please be our ambassadors to the rest of the country. Pass a message of hope, while also instilling a sense of caution to the rest of the country. Wash hands. Sanitize. Keep social distance. Stay at home. #KomeshaCorona— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) April 2, 2020 April 1: Cases at 81, Kenya okays chloroquine for category of treatment Kenya has toppled Rwanda to become the most impacted mainland East African country with 81 cases as against Rwanda’s 75. Government is struggling to enforce an evening curfew that started late last week. The country confirmed its biggest tally hike for a day with 22 new cases out of a number of people on quarantine. Out of the figures, 18 were nationals with two Cameroonians and Pakistanis. So far three people have recovered whiles one death was recorded days back. A Senegalese medic recently defended the use of the drug saying its benefits outweighed the risks many people feared. As a measure of treatment, the Kenyan government has approved the use of chloroquine, one of the oldest anti-malarial drugs, to treat the coronavirus, according to a local news outlet Citizen TV. The drug will however be administered strictly to critical patients, Health Director General Patrick Amoth is quoted as saying. Dr Amoth said at the moment there were no critical cases to warrant such an intervention. Most cases are mild and the authorities are treating the symptoms for now, he is quoted as saying Last month, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board banned the sale of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine over the counter at pharmacies. The ban was a move to prevent people from stocking or using the drug as a preventive measure for the virus. Nigeria’s Lagos recorded spike in cases of chloroquine overdose after US President Donald Trump hyped the medicine as treatment for coronavirus. Medical authorities in the US denied that it had been approved for treatment. Medical experts say chloroquine requires further clinical study and might not be the cure of Covid-19. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 29: Enforcement of coronavirus lockdown turns violent in parts of Africa Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons. Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage, resembles the arc seen in Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 late Saturday. Abuses of the new measures by authorities are an immediate concern. Minutes after South Africa’s three-week lockdown began Friday, police screamed at homeless people in downtown Johannesburg and went after some with batons. Some citizens reported the police use of rubber bullets. Fifty-five people across the country were arrested. The country leads Africa with more than 1,000 cases. In an apparent show of force on Saturday, South Africa’s military raided a large workers’ hostel in the Alexandra township where some residents had defied the lockdown. In Rwanda, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, police have denied that two civilians shot dead Monday were killed for defying the new measures, saying the men attacked an officer after being stopped. And Zimbabwe, where police are widely criticized by human rights groups for deadly crackdowns, is set to enter a three-week lockdown on Monday. The country’s handful of virus cases already threatens to overwhelm one of the world’s most fragile health systems. In Kenya, outrage over the the actions of police was swift. “We were horrified by excessive use of police force” ahead of the curfew that began Friday night, Amnesty International Kenya and 19 other human rights groups said in a statement issued Saturday. “We continue to receive testimonies from victims, eyewitnesses and video footage showing police gleefully assaulting members of the public in other parts of the country.” The tear gas caused hundreds of people trying to reach a ferry in the port city of Mombasa ahead of the overnight curfew to touch their faces as they vomited, spat and wiped away tears, increasing the chance of the virus’ spread, the rights groups said. Even some health workers reported being intimidated as they tried to provide services after the 7 p.m. curfew. The police actions were unacceptable and “brutal,” the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission said in a separate statement. “I am appealing to our people to make it very unnecessary for them to engage with police by staying at home,” Kenya’s Cabinet secretary for health, Mutahi Kagwe, said. “I am also urging the police that people must be treated humanely.” The country has 38 virus cases. Kenya’s interior ministry on Saturday replied to criticism in a statement saying the curfew “is meant to guard against an apparent threat to public health. Breaking it is not only irresponsible but also puts others in harm’s way.” Kenya’s government has not said how many people have been arrested. Because courts are also affected by virus prevention measures, all but serious cases will now be dealt with at police stations, the government has said. That means anyone detained for violating curfew faces time in crowded cells. The Law Society of Kenya will go to court to challenge the curfew on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and has been abused by police, president Nelson Havi said in a statement. The penalty for breaking a curfew is not corporal punishment, he added. “It is evident that COVID-19 will be spread more by actions of police than of those claimed to have contravened the curfew,” Havi said. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. If Kenya goes further and imposes a lockdown, “there is bound to be violence,” said James Shikwati, an economist. People in poor neighborhoods of cities like the capital, Nairobi, will need a way to access food, water and sanitation. “It will mean for the first day, maybe, they stay indoors,” he said. “Then the second day, when they are hungry, they will move out.” Credit: AP

Nigeria coronavirus: 3,145 cases, Niger State patients protest

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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. Briefs of major daily developments and our COVID-19 blog on Nigeria has more information 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 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. April 23: Cases near 1,000; Buhari gets ECOWAS task Total confirmed cases inched close to the 1,000 mark with 108 new cases reported by close of day April 23. Total confirmed cases now stand at 981. 78 of the new cases were recorded in Lagos, 14 in FCT, 5 in Ogun, 4 in Gombe, 3 Borno whiles Akwa Ibom, Kwara and Plateau recorded two, one, one respectively. Plateau becomes the latest state to be infected. Discharged tally stands at 197 with deaths at 31. Kano state has had a two day no-case situation after a recent surge took it to number three on the national tally. Head of the presidential Task Force on Thursday disclosed that the NCDC had been instructed to coordinate necessary support for the state. ECOWAS leaders on Thursday held a teleconference to discuss the impact of the virus on the region. Also present in the meeting was the ECOWAS commission chair and United Nations representative for West Africa and the Sahel. April 23: Cases hit 873, governors ban inter-state travel With 91 new cases of COVID-19 as of 11:25 pm 22nd April, Nigeria’s case count hit 873 confirmed cases. A break down of the new cases were as follows: 74 in Lagos, 5 in Katsina, 4 in Ogun. Two each in Delta and Edo states and one each in Kwara, Oyo, FCT and Adamawa. discharged persons were 197 with deaths at 28. Governors have settled on a ban on inter-state movement for a period of two weeks as part of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. They arrived at the decision after a virtual meeting of their umbrella body, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) which held on Wednesday. Ekiti Syaye governor and NGF Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, said the action had been necessitated by the increasing evidence of community transmission of the virus. April 22: El-Rufai tests negative, crisis as Kano testing halted Kaduna State governor Nasir el Rufai was declared free from COVID-19 after two consecutive negative tests. “I am delighted to report today, that after nearly four weeks of observing a strict medical regime, I have now received the all-clear after two consecutive negative test results,” the Kaduna governor Twitter handle disclosed. Affairs of the state government had been in the hands of his deputy over the period he was undergoing treatment. He appeared for a video meeting recently after rumours started spreading that he had been transferred to Lagos due to complications. In neighbouring Kano State which has in five days become the third most impacted state by way of infection, a report that the testing center had been closed due to lack of testing materials raised eyebrows in the country along with a series of mysterious deaths the government is probing. Special coverage of COVID-19 in Nigeria April 22: Cases near 800, Buhari wants prisons decongested 117 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by close of day April 21 according to NCDC tallies. Of the figure, 59 in Lagos, 29 in FCT and 14 in Kano. 6 in Borno, 4 in Katsina, 3 in Ogun and one each in Rivers and Bauchi States. “As at 11:25 pm 21st April there are 782 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria,” NCDC said in a tweet. Discharged tally stood at 197 with 25 deaths. President Buhari has meanwhile written to the chief justice asking that certain categories of cases be expedited to allow for decongestion of prisons in the light of the danger congestion presents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. April 21: Cases at 665, Kano climbing, Abba Kyari funeral gaffe apology As at 11:10 pm 20th April there are 665 confirmed cases were reported with a total of thirty-eight new cases. The tally of which were as follows: 23 in Kano, 5 in Gombe, 3 in Kaduna, 2 each in Borno and Abia and a case each in FCT, Sokoto and Ekiti. Discharged: 188, Deaths: 22. Kano state thus becomes the new “poster boy” of the virus with a tally that stands at 59 behind FCT’s 89 and Lagos’ 376. The state is currently under lockdown as a measure to curtail spread of the virus, one death has so far been registered. A media aide to the state governor bemoaned on Twitter how a section of the population continued to flout stay at home regulations. His post in Hausa indicated that the violators included the rich and poor alike. April 20: Cases at 627, Borno records case, Adeboye’s prophecy As at 11:50 pm 19th April there are 627 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria, the NCDC reported. The figure included eighty-six new cases from the previous figure of 541. The tally of discharged people stood at 170 with deaths at 21. The new cases included 70 in Lagos, 7 in FCT, 3 in Katsina, 3 in Akwa Ibom, 1 in Jigawa, 1 in Bauchi and 1 in Borno. Jigawa and Borno becoming the latest states to record cases. Meanwhile, a renowned preacher general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, says Nigeria will recover from COVID-19 before the rest of the world. Enoch Adeboye, in a broadcast to church members on Sunday, said Nigeria has begun its journey to normalcy. “I believe that I have good news for us. I believe that the journey to normalcy has started,” Adeboye said. April 18: Abba Kyari succumbs to COVID-19 A top aide to Nigerian president has died from COVID-19, the president’s spokesperson confirmed in the early hours of Saturday. “The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020,” a statement from spokesman Garba Shehu read in part. READ MORE – Abba Kyari succumbs to COVID-19 Follow rolling updates on our live blog

Africa: Health Workers At Risk in COVID-19 Pandemic

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[DW] A lack of protective gear in Africa is risking the lives of medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Some are downing tools in protest.

South Africa: How to Protect Women From Violence Under Lockdowns? Send Cash

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[African Arguments] Domestic abuse has spiked under COVID-19. Cash transfers are no panacea, but they've been shown to reduce violence and can be adapted.

South Sudan: COVID-19 Brings Abuse and Other Fears to Displaced Women

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[The New Humanitarian] Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso -'I'm scared because I can't manage to fight him back.'

Southern Africa: In Parched Southern Africa, Coronavirus Spurs Action On Water Supply

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[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Johannesburg/Bulawayo -As governments race to drill boreholes and fill up water tankers, residents want solutions that will last long after the pandemic

South Africa: For Pandemics and Policing, Evidence Matters in Times of Crisis

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[ISS] South African police were fighting an epidemic long before the COVID-19 crisis began to ravage the world. Persistently high levels of crime and violence have been a challenge for decades, and like the coronavirus, they have a severe impact on the economy and people's well-being.

Coronavirus in Africa: Over 50,000 cases; 2,000+ deaths; recoveries hit 17K

Africanews  

There are now more than over 42,500 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. The whole of Africa has rising cases with Lesotho the country holding out as of May 1. We shall keep updating this list largely sourced from the John Hopkins University tallies, Africa CDC and from official government data. The classifications are based on where the countries are located especially in the case of countries that belong to two different blocs, like Tanzania in East Africa, despite belonging to EAC and SADC. SUGGESTED READING: Africa’s COVID-19 deaths pass 1,000 mark Major African stats: May 3 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 42,769 Number of deaths = 1,759 Recoveries = 14,129 Infected countries = 53 Virus-free countries = 1 (Lesotho) Countries in alphabetical order Algeria – 4,295 Angola – 35 Benin – 90 Botswana – 23 Burkina Faso – 652 Burundi – 15 Cameroon – 2,077 Cape Verde – 152 Central African Republic – 72 Chad – 117 Comoros – 1 Congo-Brazzaville – 229 DR Congo – 674 Djibouti – 1,112 Egypt – 6,193 Equatorial Guinea – 315 Eritrea – 39 Eswatini – 108 Ethiopia – 133 Gabon – 335 (The) Gambia – 17 Ghana – 2,169 Guinea – 1,586 Guinea-Bissau – 257 Ivory Coast – 1,362 Kenya – 435 Lesotho – 0 Liberia – 154 Libya – 63 Madagascar – 135 Malawi – 38 Mali – 544 Mauritania – 8 Mauritius – 332 Morocco – 4,729 Mozambique – 79 Namibia – 16 Niger – 736 Nigeria- 2,388 Rwanda – 255 Sao Tome and Principe – 16 Senegal – 1,115 Seychelles – 11 Sierra Leone – 155 Somalia – 671 South Africa – 6,336 South Sudan – 45 Sudan – 592 Tanzania – 480 Togo – 123 Tunisia – 1,009 Uganda – 88 Zambia – 119 Zimbabwe – 34 SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa II

Nigeria: Food Crisis Looms As AFAN Battle Agric Minister

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[Daily Trust] Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have warned that if the leadership crisis currently rocking the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) is not resolved as soon as possible, then the wet season farming may be threatened.

Heavy dust cloud sweeps Niger

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A massive wall of dust was suspended in the air above Niger’s capital Niamey, forming a dramatic dust cloud that filled the sky. The vast brown cloud, dwarfed buildings and trees in Niamey, and created dramatic images according to local residents at the scene.

Nigeria: Nigerian Govt Gives Eight Conditions for Spending COVID-19 Funds

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[Premium Times] The federal government has mandated prompt response to Freedom of Information (FOI) request as one of the conditions for spending funds dedicated to fight coronavirus in Nigeria including mitigation of its social and economic effects on Nigerians.

Africa's coronavirus cases pass 50,000 with over 2,000 deaths

Africanews  

April 18: Cases across Africa pass 200,000 mark Confirmed cases of coronavirus passed the 20,000 mark barely 24-hours after the deaths topped 1,000. This is according to tallies from the John Hopkins University tracker. The figures as of 13:30 GMT stood at 100,075 with 4,600+ recoveries and 1,026 deaths leaving a little over 13,350 active cases. Egypt remained the continent’s most impacted whiles the North African region generally contributed for some of the highest numbers. Egypt with 2,844 cases, Morocco with 2,600+ cases and Algeria with 2,418 confirmed cases. South of the Sahara, South Africa’s 2,700+ cases was the highest with Cameroon in a distant second with 1,017, Ivory Coast’s 732, Djibouti’s 732 and Ghana’s 641 completed the top five slots. Meanwhile the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, has warned that cases could spike across the continent as more testing is rolled out in the coming weeks. Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus this year even under the best-case scenario, according to a new report released Friday that cites modeling from Imperial College London. Under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections, the report by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa said. Even with “intense social distancing.” under the best-case scenario the continent could see more than 122 million infections, the report said. Any of the scenarios would overwhelm Africa’s largely fragile and underfunded health systems, experts have warned. Under the best-case scenario, $44 billion would be needed for testing, personal protective equipment and treatment, the report said, citing UNECA estimates. The worst-case scenario would cost $446 billion. Additional files on UNECA report from AP April 17: Africa’s coronavirus deaths pass 1,000 mark as cases approach 20,000 Africa’s coronavirus deaths have surpassed the 1,000 mark according to tallies by the john Hopkins University. As at 18:30 GMT of April 17, 2020; Africa had recorded 1,002 deaths. Since the virus arrived on the continent on February 14 in Egypt till date, the number of confirmed cases stood at 19,417 whiles recovered cases were 4,546. The country with the highest number of fatalities being Algeria with 364 victims. Egypt despite being the continent’s most impacted in terms of infections have recorded 205 deaths as against Morocco’s 135. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Niger occupied the top 5 death slots with 48, 33, 23, 22 and 15 respectively. Two African countries remain uninfected till date, they are Comoros and Lesotho. The United Nations has sounded a warning that Africa could be the next epicenter of the virus. Meanwhile through the Africa Centers for Disease Control, the continent is seeking to roll out a million test kits to make up for shortfall in testing rates across the continent.

Nigeria: COVID-19 Cases Pass the 3,000 Mark

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[Premium Times] Nigeria's COVID-19 cases, on Wednesday, exceeded 3, 000 as 195 new infections were announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Nigeria: Aviation Industry Loses U.S.$5.7 Million Monthly to COVID-19 - Minister

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[Premium Times] Nigeria's aviation sector has been losing about N21 billion monthly since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, an official has said.

Nigeria: Fuel Price Cut As Petroleum Corporation Announces 17.9% Reduction in Depot Price

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[Premium Times] The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday announced a 17.94 per cent reduction in the 'ex-depot' price of petrol.

Nigeria: 256 Nigerians Evacuated From UAE Arrive in Lagos

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[Premium Times] At least 256 Nigerians evacuated from the United Arab Emirates arrived Lagos Wednesday night.

Nigeria: Filmmaker Premieres Film Directed Via Zoom

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[Premium Times] As coronavirus shuts down film, TV productions, and cinemas around the world, a Nigerian filmmaker, Obi Emelonye, has found a way around the physical distancing restrictions to shoot his latest movie.

Nigeria: Woman Delivers Baby Aboard Dubai Repatriation Flight

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[Premium Times] A Nigerian woman aboard an Emirates Airline flight evacuating Nigerians from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was delivered of a baby boy.

Experts fear covid-19 could set back Tuberculosis fight

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The fight against tuberculosis could be set back by more than five years due to the coronavirus pandemic, risking an additional 1.4 million TB deaths and 6.3 million infections by 2025, report say. The Stop TB Partnership is a Geneva-based international body leading the global fight against the respiratory illness that infects more than 10 million people annually. Data from three countries with high TB prevalence, Kenya, India and Ukraine, was used for the new report. Kenya is among the countries with the highest TB burden in the world with an estimated 558 people in every 100,000 infected. The study says coronavirus lockdowns affecting poor people who cannot practice social distancing in their homes mean higher risk of TB transmission while restricted movements disrupt treatment. The transformation of TB hospitals and services for coronavirus testing and treatment has also taken heavy a toll. In extreme cases where a lockdown last up to three months, the study estimates that it might take up to 10 months to restore TB services to normal levels. Addressing the disease will take far longer. “In fact, it takes several years for the elevated TB burden to come back to pre-lockdown levels. The more severe the lockdown, the more severe the long-term impact,” an associate professor in mathematical epidemiology at Imperial College London, Nimalan Arinaminpathy, said. Other unintended effects of the COVID-19 outbreak include the stigma that TB patients might face, said Cheri Vincent, chief of the TB division at USAID. “Here you have people who have similar symptoms to those of the coronavirus, and some would be even afraid of approaching health facilities because they would face the stigma of being identified as having COVID-19,” she said. She also expressed concern that COVID-19 could have a devastating effect on TB patients as both diseases attack the respiratory system. Researchers behind the study also lamented the sudden capacity given to research and development for a COVID-19 vaccine compared to that for TB over the years. “We are looking with amazement at how COVID-19 has been around some 128 days but already has about 100 candidate vaccines,” said Stop TB executive director Lucica Ditiu. “The new agenda is vaccines and treatment for COVID-19. Nobody is talking about vaccines for HIV, malaria or TB.”

Kenyan plane crash in Somalia kills 6

Africanews  

Somalia’s president has promised his Kenyan counterpart a “thorough investigation” into the deadly crash of a Kenyan plane carrying medical supplies in Somalia, while one Somali official asserts that the aircraft was shot down. Six people on board were killed. The Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority said the twin-engine plane with African Express crashed Monday afternoon on approach to Bardale “under circumstances we are yet to confirm.” A projectile fired from the ground hit the plane as it approached the airstrip in Bay region, Ahmed isaq, a local official with the Southwestern State regional administration, told The Associated Press. The airstrip is a base for the Ethiopian military under the multinational African Union mission, which is combating the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group. The group controls parts of rural southern and central Somalia. There was no immediate comment from Ethiopian authorities. The plane had left Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and stopped in Baidoa before going on toward Bardale, the Kenyan statement said. Kenyan authorities said they were in contact with the Somali Civil Aviation Authority. Somalia’s transport ministry called the crash “a terrible accident” and said the government was investigating. Somali President Abdullahi Mohamed Abdullahi in a phone call with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta offered his support and condolences, Somalia’s foreign ministry said.

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