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Covid-19 in Africa

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The Rwandan police on Thursday arrested four people who had escaped from a COVID-19 treatment center in Eastern province.

The Ngoma district police in a statement said that the patients who contracted the disease and were receiving treatment at the center set up at a secondary school in Ngoma district escaped on Wednesday evening after breaking iron window bars.

According to the statement, it took the efforts of Security officers and local leaders to locate their whereabouts and arrest them following a tip-off from people who saw them.

It also stated that Security officers and medics are tracing their likely contacts, including their families, according to the statement.

The police, however, urged those who could have had contact with the quartet to come forward for tests and due treatment to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

NAN reports that Rwanda on Thursday reported 16 new cases and 13 recoveries, bringing the total confirmed cases to 1,210 and total recoveries to 623.

On Monday, Rwanda authorities reported 101 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the single-day record increase of more than 100 cases in the country.

The new cases brought the total number of cases in the country to 1,001.

Seventy-two new cases were from a cluster in a detention center in Ngoma district in eastern Rwanda, 22 cases were reported in the capital city Kigali, three in the district of Rusizi, and two in Rubavu.

The Kayonza and Kirehe districts in the east each had one case.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has announced that the country is preparing a 40,000-bed field hospital at Namboole Stadium in the capital, Kampala, for coronavirus patients.

President Museveni disclosed that the Ministry of Health initially planned for a 9,000-bed facility but he had instructed that the capacity be increased.

Uganda has so far recorded 657 cases of Coronavirus with no deaths.

The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the extension of a nationwide overnight curfew by another 30 days after he warned that ending it risked tens of thousands of additional coronavirus deaths.

However, the nightly curfew will be three hours shorter which will now run from 21:00 to 04:00 local time, and several areas that had been under lockdown will now reopen.

Kenya has recorded 2,600 confirmed cases of the virus, and 83 deaths

South Sudan’s First Vice-President Riek Machar and his wife, Defence Minister Angelina Teny, have recovered from Covid-19.

Local media has quoted a statement from Mr Machar’s office as saying that the Vice President had been discharged on Saturday having fully recovered.

Recall that the two tested positive two weeks ago.

The statement further said the two government officials have been discharged after the second coronavirus confirmation tests carried out on them returned negative.

“The two leaders are therefore expected to resume their daily active public office duties anytime soon, hopefully by Monday, 8 June, 2020,” part of the statement read.

Uganda’s prime minister on Friday announced via Twitter that he had gone into self-isolation after some of his contacts tested positive for COVID-19.

“I have gone into self isolation after some of my contacts tested positive for COVID-19. My own test result is negative, however, I have taken this decision as a health recommended measure,” Ruhakana Rugunda said in a tweet.

Rugunda also doubles as the head of Uganda’s COVID-19 national task force.

Uganda has so far confirmed 557 coronavirus cases, with no death and 82 recoveries.

Ethiopia Health Minister, Lia Tadesse, announced that the supply of 131 million face masks is needed in healthcare facilities across the country in the next four months.

However, the country’s industrial parks have suggested some weeks back that it was diversifying the production of masks. Wearing of masks is compulsory in the capital and other parts of the country.

The country has so far confirmed 1,344 cases after recording 87 new coronavirus cases. The death toll is up to 14 from 12. Over 160,000 tests have been conducted while active cases crossed the 1,000 mark, standing at 1,097.

The East African Country has recorded its first death and 11 new cases of the novel coronavirus infection on the 31st of May.

The Health minister disclosed this while speaking with the state broadcaster. He added that the country will have to reverse a June 1 plan to further ease coronavirus infection, a move that is linked to the country’s first recorded death from the virus.

The victim was a 65-year-old Rwandan lorry driver who became sick while in Benako in Tanzania. He returned to Rwanda on 28 May in a critical condition, according to local media.

However, Intra-province travel, including in and out of capital Kigali, was supposed to resume on June 1 after over two months’ disruption. Reports say motorcycle taxi operators, estimated to number about 50,000, were also set to return to the roads.

After reassessment, transportation between provinces and the City of Kigali, as well as passenger motor services, will remain closed until further notice in the interest of public health.

Further Covid-19 measures will be announced by Cabinet on Tuesday 2 June,” a tweet from the Rwandan Prime Minister’s office read.

Rwanda was among the first countries on the continent to impose a strict lockdown in the early days of the virus’ arrival. So far it has 370 confirmed cases, with 256 recoveries and one death, according to tallies from the John Hopkins University COVID-19 portal.

Local media has reported that Senegal president’s brother, Aliou Sall has announced that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Sall who is the mayor for Guédiawaye, said he was being treated at Dalal Diam hospital in the capital, Dakar. His wife was also tested positive for the virus and was being treated at the same hospital.

Senegal has so far recorded 3,161 cases of coronavirus.

Health Minister, Mutahi Kagwe has disclosed that Kenya has recorded a staggering number of new cases of coronavirus.

He mentioned that the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus has risen from 123 to 1,471.

It is said to be the largest single jump in positive cases. The minister noted that some of the new cases had come from the slum areas of the capital, Nairobi which has a raging number of infections in the area.

A night-time curfew has been put in place as well as restricted movement around some parts of the country to help curb the spread of the virus.

Zambia’s Minister of Information, Dora Siliya, after being diagnosed with Covid-19 and announcing her test results via Twitter on Saturday, urged everyone she had come in contact with to cooperate with health officials so as to keep everyone else safe.

Ms Siliya mentioned that she was asymptomatic and was self-isolating with close monitoring by medics at the time being.

Recall that she had been participating in public education on coronavirus prevention before she tested positive.

The minister further stated that she had followed all regulations but still tested positive and has urged the public to adhere to safety measures. Adding that most of her contacts have already been tested.

Zimbabwe’s education ministry recently announced plans to reopen schools starting with final year students in order to allow them to sit for the national examinations slated for June 29th.

Reacting to the development, Teachers in Zimbabwe have opposed the reopening of schools saying safety measures were not yet in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, local media reports.

Sifiso Ndlovu, the teachers’ union chairperson stated that if the government proceeded with the plan, teachers would go on strike.

Learners are not in the right psychological space to write examinations,” the Herald quoted Mr Ndlovu as saying.

Urging the government to consider cancelling the exams like the private Cambridge international examinations body had done.

Mozambique records it’s first coronavirus related death but health authorities say the virus may not have been the actual cause of the death.

Public Health Director Marlene Magaia said the patient at Maputo Central Hospital, who has not been identified, was aged between 60 and 70 and seemed to have died of another illness.

A post-mortem is said to be under way. 146 cases have been recorded in the country so far.

The Zambian Government have closed down a Chinese restaurant in the capital, Lusaka, for allegedly discrimination against locals.

Reports have it that the restaurant denied entry to a Zambian man, then termed him as a foreigner.

The man described the incident as racist.

Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has also accused the restaurant of selling products labelled in Chinese and not English as prescribed by law.

Apartheid finished [ended] a long time ago in Lusaka after Zambia gained independence in 1964,” the mayor told local media.

Tanzania health ministry has stated that foreigners visiting the country will no longer be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Recall the quarantine requirement for foreigners was introduced last month in a bid to help prevent the importation of coronavirus into the country.

Officials on Monday set new guidelines  which require travellers to simply be screened for symptoms at the point of entry.

All travellers are required to truthfully fill out a Traveller’s Surveillance Form available on-board or in any other transport means and submit it to Port Health Authorities upon arrival,” part of the ministry’s statement read.

Although, foreigners and residents are still expected to observe hand hygiene, wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has disclosed in a televised address on Monday, that the government will distribute free masks to all citizens aged above six-years-old before lifting coronavirus containment measures.

The President disclosed that the distribution of masks will be done in 14 days. Each person will be given one mask. Thereafter, shops will be allowed to open, public transport vehicles will be allowed to carry only half their capacity and food market vendors; who have been working and living at their stalls, will be allowed to go home at the end of each day.

However, public transport is still banned in border districts for 21 days.

Uganda has recorded 260 positive cases of Covid-19 so far.

Few hours after Malawi reported its highest in confirmed coronavirus cases. Huge political rallies were held over the weekend that completely defied social distancing and wearing of masks which defies the Covid-19 prevention measures.

Malawi is set to hold a fresh presidential vote after last May’s re-election of President Peter Mutharika was nullified by the country’s Constitutional Court.

It was reported that the opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera, who formed an alliance of nine parties, held a huge campaign rally in the northern city of Mzuzu on Sunday.

President Mutharika’s running mate, Atupele Muluzi, was also reported to have addressed a huge gathering of his own on the same day in Lilongwe, the capital.

The rallies were said to have taken place a day after Health Minister Jappie Mhango confirmed 13 more coronavirus cases, with five of the cases detected among health workers. The country has recorded 57 cases and three deaths so far.

It was also made known that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has advised political parties to seek new ways of campaigning because of the raging pandemic, but neither of the two sides has seemed to heed the call.

On Thursday, the World Health Organisation on Thursday advised governments that the herbal drink touted by Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina as a remedy against coronavirus, should be clinically tested.

The COVID-Organics infusion is derived from artemisia – a plant with proven anti-malarial properties – and other indigenous herbs.

Rajoelina hopes to distribute the infusion across West Africa and beyond, claiming it cures COVID-19 patients within 10 days. Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Niger Republic have already received consignments of the potion. Others such as Tanzania have expressed interest.

But the World Health Organisation has repeatedly warned that there are no published scientific studies of the herbal tea and that its effects have not been tested.

“We would caution and advise countries against adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy,” WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said in a press briefing on Thursday, calling on Madagascar to take the drink “through a clinical trial”.

Moeti said that in 2000, African governments had committed to taking “traditional therapies” through the same clinical trials as other medication.

I can understand the need, the drive to find something that can help,” Moeti said. “But we would very much like to encourage this scientific process in which the governments themselves made a commitment.”

Rajoelina defended his tonic during a coronavirus screening campaign in Madagascar’s eastern city of Toamasina on Thursday.

The WHO has indicated that artemisia could lead to a cure for coronavirus,” the president said, promising to submit the drink to clinical trials.

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