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Ivory Coast’s defence minister, Hamed Bakayoko has revealed the capture of a top jihadist who led an attack against the military earlier this month.

Bakayoko said a large number of other militants had also been arrested in connection with the assault on the border post which claimed the lives of at least 10 soldiers.

Islamist activity were said to have intensified in the Sahel region in recent months, and there are fears it could spread southwards.

On Wednesday, Ivory Coast announced its first case of the novel coronavirus while stressing that all precautionary measures are being taken.

The country’s health ministry said in a statement that the virus was detected in an Ivorian who went to the hospital with complaints of fever and a runny nose after returning from Italy. It also said the patient has been quarantined and is stable.

In addition to the Ivory Coast, on the African continent COVID-19 cases were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia, South Africa, and Morocco. Two out of 114 cases in Africa have resulted in death.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 has been declared as a global pandemic.

Michel Yao, The World Health Organization’s Africa emergency response program manager advised health ministers in the region to activate standard flu screening at airports for passengers coming from mainland China.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda among other countries, is said to have started implementing surveillance and screening at airports, especially for travellers arriving from Wuhan in China where the outbreak began in December.

On  Wednesday Ivory Coast’s health ministry, said the suspected case of coronavirus in the country had tested negative.

It involved a student who had travelled from Beijing to Abidjan over the weekend had shown flu-like symptoms, ‘coughing, sneezing and experienced difficulty breathing’.

In a statement, the Ivorian health ministry said that tests by research institutes in Ivory Coast and France had come back negative for the virus. 

If the results had been positive, this would have been the first confirmed case in Africa.

According to the ministry, the 34-year-old student who was quarantined while tests were carried out is being treated for her symptoms and is recovering well.

Using plastic bricks made from plastic trash. UNICEF in partnership with Conceptos Plasticos, a company that makes plastic brick has built nine new classrooms in Ivory Coast.

In Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast, almost 300 tons of plastic are discarded every day, only 5% are recycled. The city are neighboring towns have critical shortage of classroom. 

The plastic brick company is building a new factory to manufacture its plastic bricks in Yopougon, suburb of Abidjan. When the company is at full capacity, it will produce 9,200 tons of plastic bricks a year which can build over 1,800 classrooms. 

UNICEF has agreed to buy enough bricks from Conceptos Plastico to build over 500 classroom.  

The plastic brick has several advantages over the traditional or concrete bricks. They are much lighter, which makes it easier to transport them to remote locations. They can even be carried by donkeys, horses and even human beings to places that are inaccessible for wheeled vehicles.

Another advantage of the plastic brick is that its cost ⅓ less than bricks or cinder blocks giving the government and NGO that are cash trapped the opportunity to build more classrooms and other structures with the money available. The plastic bricks use no mortar so they don’t need repointing regularly the way concrete blocks do. 

They are a better insulator, this make the classroom more cooler and quiet. They are also non toxic because no PVC is used to make them.

The recycling of plastic trash also have positive benefits for the health of the local residents. The waste plastic are breeding ground for mosquitoes, which transmit diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Sophie Chavanel, Head of communication for UNICEF in the Ivory Coast said “We were looking for a way to fight plastic pollution tha compound disease than can potentially kill children, mainly under 5 years”