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Covid-19 in Africa

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has announced a night-time curfew in all 10 of the country’s provincial capitals for 21 days to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The curfew starts at midnight on Tuesday, the 10:00 to 04:00 curfew will no longer be exclusive to the Greater Maputo metropolitan region.

President Nyusi urged Mozambicans to adhere to the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus so that life can return to normalcy soon. While adding that the country must protect health professionals more and ease the impact of the third wave of the pandemic, which has been more severe in other countries.

He also mentioned that the second wave of the pandemic had five times more cases, six times more hospitalizations, and seven times more deaths. This was attributed to the new Covid variant.

The South Sudan authorities have postponed the launch of its Covid-19 vaccination campaign but did not offer a specific reason for the delay.

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Recall that the vaccination program was supposed to start on Monday in the capital of Juba according to the health ministry last week.

Government official John Romunu stated that the vaccination exercise was postponed for simple logistical reasons. Adding that they are yet to receive information on when the vaccinations will take place.

South Sudan received its first batch of 132,000 doses of the vaccine on 26 March.

A number of other African countries have received their first batches of the coronavirus vaccines under the global Covax program.

Kenya received more than a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday, making it the third East African country to benefit from the UN-backed distribution initiative. Frontline health workers, teachers, police officers and the elderly will be first to be inoculated.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Health Minister Eteni Longondo was at the airport on Tuesday night to receive 1.7 million doses out of the 6.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be delivered from now up till the end of May 2021.

Angola received 624,000 doses of the vaccine, while The Gambia received 36,000 doses on Wednesday as well.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced during a televised broadcast that restrictions put in place to control the spread of coronavirus will be lowered to alert level one, from level three.

He stated that restrictions put in place over the holiday period had succeeded in reducing infection levels; from 90,000 a week at the end of December, to 10,000 new infections last week.

This means that most remaining restrictions on economic activity will be lifted.

President Ramaphosa explained that all energy and effort must now go into growing the economy, whilst exercising extreme caution to prevent further spread of the virus. While adding that the threat of a third wave is constantly present, as is the threat of new variants emerging.

He also said social distancing, avoiding crowds, and wearing masks, are more important than ever.

A Presidential aide has confirmed that twenty-seven members of South Sudan’s president’s staff have contracted Covid-19.

It was gathered that those affected are mainly junior staff and members of the presidential security team.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny, however, confirmed that President Salva Kiir has not contracted the virus. 

“It is true, more than 20 staff have tested positive, particularly the close protection and junior staff within the office of the President. I am one of the two senior staff who tested positive; me and the policy analysts – the total number is 27,” Mr Ateny told the BBC.

He added that all staff at the State House in the capital, Juba, will undergo a second round of testing as a precaution. Two cabinet ministers and a presidential adviser will also have a second test.

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.