Coronavirus Africa news summary: cases and deaths - 29 April

Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news on 29 April


Africa Covid-19 update: 19:30 WAT Wednesday 29 April (20:30 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,170,335 cases have been detected worldwide, with 224,708 deaths and 957,568 people now recovering.

Nigeria: 1,532 cases / 44 deaths
South Africa: 4,996 cases / 93 deaths
Ghana: 1,671 cases / 16 deaths
Kenya: 384 cases / 14 deaths

One of the latest blogs from the World Bank highlights how expanding digital financial services, in area in which Sub-Saharan Africa is a world leader, "can help developing economies cope with crisis now and boost growth later"....

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi on Wednesday attended the virtual mini-summit held by the African Union (AU) to discuss joint efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic in the continent. 

"The president stressed the necessity of continued communication between African states to coordinate efforts and promote joint continental work for combating the novel coronavirus,” Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.


South Africa records biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases

South Africa reported another 354 cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the most new cases recorded in one day and bringing the total in the country to 5,350, the health department said in a tweet.

"This is the highest number of cases in a 24 hour cycle recorded to date and represents a 73% increase on the day before," it said, adding in a separate tweet that the number of deaths had risen by 10 to 103. (reporting by Reuters)

(Photo by AFP: An elderly man (L), a resident of Sophia Town, Johannesburg, opens his mouth to receive a testing swab for COVID-19 coronavirus at a screening and testing drive in a tent in the courtyard of Sophia Town Clinic, on April 28, 2020.)

The arrival of Cuban doctors in South Africa to help fight the coronavirus has not gone down well with local unemployed medics, according to a BBC report...

Coronavirus cases in Africa surpass 34,000

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has conformed that the number of reported coronavirus cases in Africa has increased from 33,000 to over 34,000 in the past 24 hours. There have been 1,517 deaths while 11,180 people have recovered, according to the WHO. 

Presidential communication

Ghana's test and trace success

A rigorous programme of testing for coronavirus and tracing the contacts of those found positive has helped Ghana avoid an explosion in cases that could have overwhelmed its health system, President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Wednesday.

The West African nation has reported 1,671 cases with 18 deaths since March 13. Akufo-Addo said around 110,000 people had been tested, in a population of some 31 million, and the share of positive tests has remained consistent at around 1.5%.

"We are not seeing this relatively large explosion that was feared for our country at the beginning, and therefore the ability to manage those who are identified is much more within our means," Akufo-Addo told a conference about Africa's response to the crisis, via video from Accra.

"The emphasis has been to go out and look for those who are infected and deal with it."

Nigeria's six-week easing

Nigeria will ease new coronavirus lockdowns in three key states over a six-week period from 4 May, the head of the country's task force on the disease said on Wednesday.

The easing of lockdowns in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun will be split into two-week phases, said Boss Mustapha, the chairman of Nigeria's presidential task force for Covid-19.

WHO updates

Prison riot after Covid-19 case

“There are casualties, but these are early days. When the dust settles we will be able to give you a more comprehensive account,” Information Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, told reporters in a video streamed online.

President Bashir asks for prison move

Bashir, who’s 76 and being held in the same jail, is also in danger from the virus and his legal representatives are appealing for his detention to be turned into a form of house arrest, al-Amin said by phone.

Full story

AFCON 2021 cancelled?

WIth talk over current seasons ending now, the knock-on effects next year could also be substantial.


Tunisia says food and construction sectors to reopen next week

Tunisia will start relaxing its lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus next week, government ministers said on Wednesday, with the first sectors to be relaxed including the food industry, construction and half the public service.

Other sectors will be relaxed from May 11, the health minister and the minister in charge of major projects told a news conference, including clothing shops and malls, while some public transport will also resume.

Zimbabwe reopens tobacco auctions after coronavirus delay

Zimbabwe farmers started selling their tobacco crop on Wednesday after the coronavirus outbreak delayed the opening of auctions, which provide vital foreign currency inflows, by more than a month.

Tobacco is the second biggest earner of foreign exchange after gold, and last year generated $747 million in exports mainly to China and Europe, according to central bank data.

Industry regulator Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said production was expected around 230 million kilogrammes after rain cut the area planted by 12% and fewer growers planted the crop compared to last year.

Farmers, who produced an all time high of 259 million kgs of tobacco last year, sell their crop to tobacco merchants, who process the crop for export.


Uganda restricts truckers on busy trade route to curb coronavirus

Uganda has stepped up restrictions on trucks passing through its territory - limiting them to one driver and banning them from stopping over in hotels - in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The landlocked country sits on some of east Africa's busiest road cargo routes that funnel goods from ports in Kenya and  Tanzania further inland to Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Drivers have already been complaining about long queues building up on the Uganda-Kenya border as officials from both countries carry out health checks, according to reports on NTV and other local media

"One driver is enough," Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said as he announced the new restrictions late on Tuesday.

Trucks were previously allowed three crew.

"He (the driver) must not stay in hotels, he must not stay in lodges. He must not stay in homes, he should park his vehicle in designated places ... to rest a bit and continue," Museveni added.

International Dance Day

A fine Tweet from FIFA featuring the Senegal team warming up ahead of a Russia 2018 match to coincide with #InternationalDanceDay

Kenya's GDP growth to plunge to 1.5% in 2020 due to coronavirus 

Kenya’s economic growth is expected to drop to 1.5% this year, and contract 1% in the worst-case scenario under the impact of the coronavirus outbreak that has hit tourism, agricultural exports and remittances, the World Bank said on Wednesday. 

Malawi launches $40 monthly cash transfers to combat coronavirus impact

Malawi will launch an emergency cash transfer programme targeting about 1 million people and small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, President Arthur Peter Mutharika said on Tuesday.

Eligible households will receive a 35,000 Malawi kwacha ($40) monthly payment, matching the country's minimum wage, through mobile cash transfer starting in May, Mutharika said.

"This will strengthen livelihoods," Mutharika said in a nightly national address on state television, without specifying how long the programme would last.

The low-income country, which so far seen has 36 positive cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, has suffered from economic stagnation in recent years, leading to increasing unrest over falling living standards.

The World Bank said last week it had approved a $37 million funding package to help Malawi respond to the coronavirus.

But the opposition and human rights bodies had already criticized Mutharika's handling of the outbreak, accusing him of putting partisan interests first.

Malawi's high court temporarily halted the government's 21-day coronavirus lockdown pending a judicial review last week.

More consultation was needed to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable of society, the court said.

Oscars to permit streamed films

The eligibility rules for the Oscars have been changed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and movies will no longer be required to do a minimum of a one-week theatrical run in the Los Angeles area in order to qualify for the 2021 Academy Awards - meaning direct to streaming movies will qualify.

The Academy's Board of Governors approved the new rules: 

Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions:

-The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release;

-The film must meet all other eligibility requirements.

Coronavirus pandemic inspires global graffiti artists

The pandemic inspires global graffiti and street artists with a selection of their output

Serum Institute to make millions of potential coronavirus vaccine doses

The Serum Institute of India said on Tuesday it plans this year to produce up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine that is under clinical trial in Britain.


Africa Covid-19 update: 09:00 WAT Wednesday 29 April (10:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,117,204 cases have been detected worldwide, with 217,193 deaths and 928,970 people now recovering.

Nigeria: 1,532 cases / 44 deaths
South Africa: 4,996 cases / 93 deaths
Ghana: 1,671 cases / 16 deaths
Kenya: 374 cases / 14 deaths

Welcome to our live updates and breaking news live feed from Africa. Today is Wednesday 29 April and we will bring you news, comment, opinion and statistics throughout the day as things continue to develop during the coronavirus epidemic.