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Coronavirus Africa summary: cases, deaths, news - 27 April

A man, a resident of the sprawling township of Alexandra in Johannesburg, opens his mouth to receive a testing swab for COVID-19 coronavirus at a screening and testing drive in front of the Madala Hostel, on April 27, 2020. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news - Monday 27 April


Africa Covid-19 update: 07:30 WAT Tuesday 28 April (07:30 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,o41,550 cases have been detected worldwide, with 211,159 deaths and 894,073 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 1,273 cases / 40 deaths
South Africa: 4,793 cases / 90 deaths
Ghana: 1,550 cases / 11 deaths
Kenya: 363 cases / 14 deaths

A pause...

We're going to pause our Africa-focused live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic for a few hours, but we'll be back before you know it to bring you the latest developments and statistics as they emerge. Many thanks for reading.

Coronavirus: Real Madrid "the only club who won't come out of pandemic in tatters"


Coronavirus: Real Madrid "the only club who won't come out of pandemic in tatters"

Real Madrid "the only club who won't come out of pandemic in tatters"

Ex-Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello says the LaLiga giants' rivals are likely to be far more affected by the financial impact of Covid-19.

Full story:

Difference between social distancing, quarantine and isolation


Difference between social distancing, quarantine and isolation

Difference between social distancing, quarantine and isolation

New words and terms have entered our lexicon during the coronavirus pandemic but what do they mean and how should we act within the given guidelines?

Full story:

South AFrica

Tension in South Africa: #PutSouthAfricansFirst trending

With South Africa facing severe economic problems and major job losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, residents have started a new movement called #PutSouthAfricansFirst,which is currently the third highest trending topic on Twitter in the country. 

South Africans are calling for foreigners without proper papers to be expelled from the country, with Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema being targeted for his drive to create an inclusive South Africa that is more tolerant to foreign nationals. He said in his Freedom Day speech that interventions implemented by the government must not segregate based on nationality, calling for South Africa's solidarity to go beyond the country's borders. 

Former Johannesburg Mayor and member of opposition party Democratic Alliance Herman Mashaba wrote on Twitter: "Never stop raising this issue, despite the names they will call you. It is not xenophobic to say #PutSouthAfricansfirst, it is necessary. We must not be gagged from discussing important issues in our country that are central to turnaround."

Congo traders concerned

Traders in the Republic of Congo have expressed concerns about the state of emergency and containment being extended for another 20 days from 21 April, with informal workers those expected to be the hardest hit. 

Macosso Lovely, a trader, told AfricaNews “In this time of confinement, business is bad. I don’t even have anything at home. I have three mouths to feed. Out of the 20 days, 3 days of sale in the week is not much for us."

Republic of Congo has 200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 so far, registering 6 deaths. 19 people have recovered from the disease. 

Nigeria easing in parts

Nigeria will begin a "phased and gradual" easing of more than four weeks of lockdowns on May 4, President Muhammadu Buhari said in an address on Monday, via Reuters.

Lagos and Ogun states and the federal capital territory of Abuja entered lockdowns to tame the spread of the new coronavirus on March 30.

Confirmed cases of the new virus have roughly quadrupled since a lockdown extension was announced on April 13, to 1,273 cases and 40 deaths, most concentrated in Lagos and Abuja.

But Buhari said the lockdowns had come at a "very heavy economic cost," stripping many citizens of their livelihoods.

"No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines," Buhari said.

He also announced that face masks are now mandatory in public places, and that the federal government will ban non-essential travel between Nigeria's 36 states, both measures the governors' forum had requested.

Cuban aid

South Africa sees over 200 aid workers arrive from Cuba.

Heartburn drug famotidine in New York hospital trials


Heartburn drug famotidine in New York hospital trials

Heartburn hopes in NYC

As everyone around the globe searches for a vaccine or medicines to treat Covid-19, New York, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, has hospitals studying a common heartburn drug that has shown interesting signs.

Heartburn hopes in NYC

As everyone around the globe searches for a vaccine or medicines to treat Covid-19, New York, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, has hospitals studying a common heartburn drug that has shown interesting signs.

The African surge

UK press are keeping a close eye on what is happening on the African continent and concerns are growing at what lies ahead.

Coronavirus South Africa: how to apply for unemployment grant


Coronavirus South Africa: how to apply for unemployment grant

How to get the R350

South Africa president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced a new coronavirus unemployment grant of R350 a month for the next six months until October.

Football aid

Excel Soccer Academy has made a donation of 100 Kilograms of maize flour to the National Covid-19 Task Force for distribution to vulnerable communities.

Rwanda in talks to delay debt payments as coronavirus hits economy says the president

(Reuters) -- Rwanda's economy will probably only grow by around 3.5% this year, undercut by the effects of the coronavirus, and the government is in talks with lenders to postpone debt repayments, President Paul Kagame said on Monday.

In January, before the pandemic spread globally, the International Monetary Fund had forecast Rwanda's economy would grow 8% this year and estimated it expanded by 8.5% last year.

But the east African country is expected to be hard hit by the coronavirus as it relies heavily on revenues from foreign visitors.

"We are going to see it (growth) come down to... around 3.5%," Kagame said at a news conference, without giving further details.

Rwanda will need about a billion dollars to recover from the economic slowdown caused by virus, he said, adding that his government would source the money through a mix of debt and grants, without elaborating.

The country was also in negotiations with some of its lenders to postpone debt repayments, he said, but did not name the lenders.

U.N. raises alarm about police brutality in lockdowns

(Reuters) - The U.N. human rights office voiced concern on Monday about more than a dozen countries that have declared states of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic where police have arrested or detained hundreds of thousands of people and killed others.

"Emergency powers should not be a weapon governments can wield to quash dissent, control the population, and even perpetuate their time in power," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that denounced shootings and detentions without being specific.

A top official from her office said about 80 countries have declared emergencies due to the new coronavirus, including 15 where the allegations were deemed most troubling.

They were: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Peru, Honduras, Jordan, Morocco, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Hungary.

However, Georgette Gagnon, director of field operations, added at a virtual briefing in Geneva "there are probably several dozen more we could have highlighted".

"A main concern on exceptional emergency measures is what has been described as a toxic lockdown culture in some countries," Gagnon said. "As the High Commissioner highlighted, police and other security forces are using excessive and sometimes deadly force to enforce lockdowns and curfews."

Some of those countries have arrested and detained tens of thousands of people for violation of confinement measures linked to the pandemic, with the Philippines topping the list with 120,000 apprehended for curfew violations in the past 30 days.

In the case of Kenya, Gagnon said that authorities were investigating 20 cases related to deaths linked to police conduct in implementing curfew measures. The country has reported 14 COVID deaths to the World Health Organization. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has apologised for police violence.

In South Africa, the U.N. has received reports of police using rubber bullets, tear gas, water bombs and whips, to enforce social distancing, especially in poor neighborhoods.

Thirty-nine complaints including murder, rape, use of fire arms and corruption are being investigated, Gagnon said.

Police have described the use of whips as unacceptable. 

In Nigeria, OHCHR has received reports that security forces killed 18 people in relation to COVID enforcement measures.

Nigerian authorities have attributed some deaths to prison violence.

She also raised concerns about police extortion in Africa.

"Those who cannot pay bribes, poor people, are taken to mandatory quarantine centres although there is no indication that they have come into contact with someone testing positive to COVID."

Senegal groups get homeless children off streets amid coronavirus

(Reuters) The boys cheer as they play a ball game in the courtyard of a medical centre in Dakar that has become a refuge for Senegal's street children since the coronavirus further upended their lives.

The capital's 40,000 street children have become even more vulnerable since the government declared a state of emergency over the epidemic in late March.

Restaurants that once offered leftovers have closed, while another lifeline, generous pedestrians, are scarcer.

Social services have increased the number of children they are able to accommodate, helping to protect them from unhygienic living conditions on the street and the disease itself. So far it has infected over 736 people in Senegal and killed 9.

"They need shelter urgently," said Beatrice Mariem Mendy, who helps run the SAMU (Urgent Medical Assistance Service)

Social centre in Dakar's Ouakam neighbourhood. The centre has doubled the number of beds available to 60, but not all are filled because the new police curfew has made it harder to track down those in need.

"We really have to search for them now in order to find them because they hide at night to avoid the authorities," Mendy said.

Some of the homeless children are Talibes, youths from Koranic schools known as daaras who are forced to beg for money.

There are also those who fled such schools. Others come from broken families or have lost their homes because of poverty.

Franco-Senegalese charity Village Pilote is also trying to shelter more children including older teenagers during the epidemic at its facility in the outskirts of Dakar, where they provide regular meals and space for soccer and other games.

"Because of the disease people were avoiding us, we had problems getting (medical) treatment, and also the police kept running after us. Only this centre accepts children and youngsters our age and from the streets," said 19-year-old Issa Faye.

Social distancing from a different angle. 

South Africa defeated apartheid 26 years ago. A different kind of Freedom Day today for South Africans around the world.

There is concern that Africa doesn't have the ability to treat this virus sufficiently if they are hit hard. Recent numbers suggest things could get a lot worse before they get better there.

Coronavirus and the 5G conspiracy theories


Coronavirus and the 5G conspiracy theories

Covid-19 and 5G networks in Africa

There is continued talk about the new technology having a bearing on the spread of the disease. Let's have a look at fact vs fiction...

Africa's triple challenge

The IIED looks at the wider implications of the current pandemic on the continent's future.

EPL return requirements

If you are missing watching the Premier League stars strut their stuff on television, Jason Burt considers who and what is needed to get it back, in some form.

Print media risks

'Some newspapers might consider nonprofit models to save their publications. But philanthropists will be hard to find.'

Ntibinyane Ntibinyane looks at the coronavirus impact for the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

China strategy

There has been growing talk over recent years of the strategic moves being taken by China, and this article focuses on the African expansion.

Why 'Spanish Flu' got its name

Spanish flu

Why 'Spanish Flu' got its name

Spanish flu origins

...in relation to the previous post, the pandemic from the early 20th century has confused many over the years. Why did it get that name when it didn't originate in Spain?

Pandemic lessons

The conversation looks back a hundred years and makes comparisons between the Spanish Flu and the current global crisis, asking 'What can we learn?'

Monday's front pages

Rice confusion and Kano's strange deaths make the front of this morning's Guardian.

African recap

Africa tops 30,000: the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Africa has risen above 30,000, according to data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa to seek $5bn in coronavirus aid: the country is seeking 95 billion rand ($4.99 billion) from multilateral lenders to help it fight the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior Treasury official said on Sunday.

Rwanda’s RwandAir to cut salaries: the airline will reduce their lowest paid employees by 8% and 65% for its top earners as it seeks to survive the coronavirus crisis.


Coronavirus live blog - welcome

Welcome to our live updates and breaking news live feed from Africa. It's Monday 27 April and we will bring you news, comment, opinion and statistics throughout the day as things continue to develop during the coronavirus epidemic.