Coronavirus Africa news summary: cases and deaths - 30 April

Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news - Thursday 30 April

Africa Covid-19 update: 00:00 WAT Friday 1 May (01:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,249,667 cases have been detected worldwide, with 232,936 deaths and 986,042 people now recovering.

Nigeria: 1,728 cases / 51 deaths
South Africa: 5,647 cases / 103 deaths
Ghana: 2,074 cases / 17 deaths
Kenya: 396 cases / 17 deaths


Number of coronavirus cases worldwide rises by almost 72,000 in 24 hours

The number of people infected with the Covid-19 virus worldwide rose by almost 72,000 over the past day. The number of fatalities has risen by more than 9,000, which is 4,000 more than the day before, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.

According to WHO data, the United States accounts for the largest number of infected people (1,003,974). It is followed by Spain (212,917), Italy (203,591), United Kingdom (165,225), Germany (159,119), France (127,066), Turkey (117,589), Russia (106,498), Iran (93,657) and China (84,373).

Number of infected health workers almost trebles in seven days

Nigeria's Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire has confirmed that 113 health workers have now been infected with Covid-19, Punch reports. Speaking at Thursday's press briefing in AbujaEhanire, said new cases included workers in the public and private health sectors and urged healthcare workers to take all of the required precautions when treating patients. “Please, do not treat any patient without using the PPE. Frontline health workers must undertake refresher training at intervals. This warning has become necessary due to the number of health workers, who have tested positive for Covid-19”.


Nigeria President Buhari appoints dead man to run government agency

Nigeria’s leader Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a man, who died and was buried back in Feberuary, to a senior government post. The late MP Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru was included as one of 37 appointed members of the Federal Character Commission in a confirmation letter from Mr Buhari which was read to the Senate.

The president's media aide Lauretta Onochie explained that Okwuru was not dead when he was appointed to serve on the board earlier this year. "When he sadly passed away while waiting for the screening by the Senate, that information was not communicated to the Federal Government".


IMF approves $411 million in emergency assistance for Ethiopia

The International Monetary Fund said it approved $411 million in emergency assistance for Ethiopia under its Rapid Financing Instrument program to help the east African country battle the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the IMF said the board also approved Ethiopia's request for a suspension of debt service payments to the Fund, of about $12 million through to 13 October. The suspension could be extended up to 13 April 2022, subject to the availability of resources under the IMF's Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust for poor countries.


12 patients, including Ukrainian, discharged from hospital

Lagos State government has announced that 12 patients including a Ukrainian, who had tested positive for Covid-19, have overcome the virus and have been discharged from isolation facilities in the state.

Six of the patients were discharged from the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba; five from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and one from the Ibeju-Lekki Isolation facility.


Child labour a growing concern during Covid-19 crisis in West Africa

Ivory Coast and Ghana should be on alert for a rise in child labour due to the coronavirus crisis, experts said, with schools closed and monitors unable to access villages in cocoa harvest season.

The two West African countries together produce about 65% of the world's cocoa and child labour has been a longstanding problem in the sector, despite pledges from chocolate companies including Nestle and Hershey to reduce it. Fairtrade Africa said it had received reports of possible cases in Ivory Coast's eastern and western regions in recent weeks and flagged them to the government. Government spokesmen for Ivory Coast and Ghana could not immediately be reached for comment.

"In normal circumstances children are already vulnerable, and now they are not going to school," said Anne-Marie Yao, regional cocoa manager for Fairtrade Africa. "We don't have access to those villages, we don't know exactly what is happening, and we know that this is the mid-season harvesting period," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. They do not have staff on the ground because of the pandemic, and the shelters where rescued children are normally taken have closed, she added.

More than 2 million children work in the cocoa sector in Ghana and Ivory Coast, an increase from 10 years ago, according to a draft of a U.S. government-sponsored report seen by Reuters this month. Some children work for their parents while others are trafficked from abroad, according to activists.

"We have not yet seen any evidence that child labor has increased, but it is still early," said Nick Weatherill, executive director of the International Cocoa Initiative, a Swiss-based foundation working to eliminate child labor. "If the current situation continues an increase in child labor is very likely". Early action such as cash transfers to households could help, Weatherill added, since economic losses due to the pandemic will also be a risk factor forcing children to work.

Teachers are often the first to spot child abuse, said Yao, who suggested the state could instruct them to somehow keep in touch with their students and not all leave the communities. Ivory Coast's national anti-trafficking committee released a statement last week reminding parents that child labor is punishable by law.

"The harvest season and the closing of schools must not be an excuse for violating children's rights," said Ivory Coast's first lady Dominique Ouattara, who heads the committee.

Nigeria's plan to stimulate economic growth

South Africa

South Africa sees jump in positive cases

South Africa reported another 297 positive cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, another big jump after cases climbed by their most in single day on Wednesday, bringing the total in the country to 5,647, the health department said in a statement.

"The total number of tests conducted to date is 207,530 of which 10,403 were done in the last 24 hours," said the Ministry of Health. Deaths still totalled 103. Wednesday's increase of 354 in infections was the highest in a 24-hour cycle. South Africa's five-week strict national lockdown ends on Friday, but with only a clutch of industries being allowed to operate in a bid to keep the economy going while keeping the spread of the virus at bay. The Treasury said today that it predicts South Africa's economy will contract by 5.8% in 2020, with job losses projected between 3 million and 7 million due to productivity lost to the coronavirus.

Covid-19 queuing

Aerial footage showed thousands of people queuing for miles down a dirt road in South Africa for charity food aid meant to relieve hunger caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

The images from the neighbouring slums of Mooiplaas and Spruit, on the outskirts of the capital Pretoria, show the extent of need that South Africa's economic lockdown has generated among many who even before the pandemic were living a hand-to-mouth existence.

Africa's most industrialised nation has recorded 5,350 cases and 103 deaths from the virus. About 90 percent of the inhabitants of these informal settlements are foreigners or undocumented migrants from other southern African nations like Zimbabwe, Yusuf Abramjee, a spokesman for the charity coalition said by telephone.

They do not qualify for food aid from a government busy attending to its own large numbers of impoverished citizens.

WHO concerns

Kenya's hair innovation

Through winces and grins, two girls wearing face masks and surrounded by posters of different hairstyles bowed their heads for their hairdressers. But the spiky look they were getting – "the coronavirus" – was still too new to appear on any poster.

In Kibera, Kenya's largest slum, hairdressers have created a new style, designed to emulate the prickly appearance of the virus under a microscope.

It's the latest example of service industry workers finding ways to appeal as stay-at-home rules and collapsing incomes reduce customer numbers.

Nigeria's tech help

Tech startup founder Ebun Okubanjo watched with dismay as his home city of Lagos entered a coronavirus-containment lockdown, knowing well that millions of Nigerians on the margins could be left with nothing.

So he and his team used their expertise to create a crowdfunding site, "We Are Together", to distribute cash to those in difficulty who apply for help. Others in Nigeria's flourishing tech sector have also put their skills to use to help cushion the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

"The reality is to tell people to stay home, and not work... you have to give them something," Okubanjo told Reuters.

Strong measures in SA

A virus of our own

As you may have noticed if you're one of our many avid readers, AS Towers were hit with few technical problems today. This has restricted what news we've been able to bring you.

We aim to make up for that and bring you right up to date.

Covid-19 live: Africa

Welcome to our live updates and breaking news live feed from Africa. Today is Thursday 30 April and we will bring you news, comment, opinion and statistics throughout the day as things continue to develop during the coronavirus epidemic.