Coronavirus: Africa - summary of news for Sunday 3 May

Coronavirus live: latest global Covid-19 news - 4 May

Africa

Africa Covid-19 update: 07:20 WAT Monday 4 May (08:20 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University3,507,265 cases have been detected worldwide, with 247,491 deaths and 1,127,887 people now recovering.

Nigeria: 2,558 cases / 87 deaths
South Africa: 6,783 cases / 131 deaths
Ghana: 2,169 cases / 18 deaths
Kenya: 465 cases / 24 deaths

Pandemic hitting South Africa

Eritrea president Isaias Afwerki in Ethiopia

Eritrea president Isaias Afwerki is in Ethiopia for a two-day summit with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to discuss three specific topics: bilateral ties, the locust infestation and of course the fight against Covid-19. 

After a thawing in relations between the two countries in 2018 there have been several high profile meetings between the two countries. With the coronavirus crisis, the two countries are facing the challenge in different ways: Ethiopia has been leading calls for international debt relief and championing virus aid efforts while Eritrea has been seeking to raise funds – home and abroad – from nationals to combat the pandemic.

So far the two countries have relatively low confirmed infection rates (Ethiopia 133 confirmed cases and 3 deaths; Eritrea 39 confirmed cases and zero deaths), however there are fears that these figures may soon begin to climb. 

 

Tanzania want Madagascar's 'cure'

Tanzanian president promises to import Madagascar's 'cure' but there is no medical proof that it works. "I am communicating with Madagascar, and they have already written a letter saying they have discovered some medicine. We will despatch a flight to bring the medicine so that Tanzanians can also benefit. So as the government we are working day and night," he said.

South African Airways could shed staff from May 12 -rescue specialists

South African Airways could start shedding its 5,000 staff from May 12 if unions and workers do not accept a proposed severance deal, administrators trying to rescue the airline said on Sunday.

SAA entered a local form of bankruptcy protection in December in a last ditch effort to either save or liquidate the national carrier, which has not turned a profit since 2011.

The airline has been on state life support that has cost the South African Treasury more than 20 billion rand ($1.06 billion) over the past three years.

Rescue specialists Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana last month proposed severance packages for all staff, after the government said SAA would receive no more cash.

But the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association, went to a labour court to try to block the cuts.

"In the event that labour do not accept the agreement, the BRPs (business rescue practitioners) reserve their rights to offer (it) ... to all employees, regardless whether they belong to a union or not, for individual acceptance," between May 8 and May 11, the letter to staff reviewed by Reuters said.

"Where agreements have not been reached, ... those employees' employment may be terminated for operational reasons on or after 12 May," it added.

South African union wins case on COVID-19 safety for miners

South Africa's mining union said on Sunday it had won a court case against the government that will force authorities to impose strict guidelines on mining companies to protect workers against COVID-19.

The union said in a statement on Facebook that it was "truly elated" with the court's ruling on Friday.

"Now the lives and livelihoods of mineworkers can be protected," South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa said.

South Africa, the world's largest platinum, manganese and chrome ore producer which has recorded 6,336 cases of the coronavirus, of whom 123 have died, is letting its mines run at half-capacity during a national lockdown.

But AMCU filed the court action to demand national safety standards for mines, including sanitisation procedures and minimum level of protective gear, before they go back to work.

The miners fear being infected because social distancing is near impossible inside deep mine shafts.

Workers in deep mines in Peru have also pushed back against returning to work without adequate protective gear and proper information about cases at sites.

Such resistance could also spread to Chile, Burkina Faso, the United States and other countries, where mine workers are making similar demands.

South Africa getting innovative with almost 7,000 cases in the country.

A brief statement from the presidency on Sunday provided no additional details about Gon Coulibaly's health status.

Africa coronavirus

The BBC has taken a look at African coronavirus testing and how the different countries compare to each other.

Ghana mourns death of actor Bishop Bernard Nyarko

Much of Ghana is still a state of shock on hearing that Kumasi-based actor Bishop Bernard Nyarko passed away yesterday, Hitz FM presenter, Andy Dosty confirmed on his radio show. It is believed that the Kumawood actor died following a short illness.

 

Ighalo

Ighalo admits it was tough deciding to quit international football

Odion Ighalo has spoken about his decision to retire from Nigeria's national team and confessed that he spent a long time mulling over the move before calling it day after last year's CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament. His subsequent move to Shanghai Shenhua in February 2019 made it complicated to continue with the Super Eagles. 

“I needed to stop because it is too long from China to Nigeria for national team duties. I’m not getting younger and we have a lot of young exciting players coming up, Victor Osimhen doing so well, Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze are there. I thought about it, ‘this is the right time for me to leave’,” he explained in declarations picked up by Today.

"It was a difficult decision because I love playing for my country, it’s a country that gave me everything I have today. So, anytime I was called upon to play for my country it was a joy to play. That decision was difficult but I have to do it for my health, for me to play longer in my club, so I had to stop travelling long distance".

Salient tips from LaLiga

Serie A edges closes to return

Clubs in Serie A can return to training following a ruling by the Italian government, with players set to work individually.

Kenya Airways repatriation flights confirmed

Kenya Airways has announced plans to repatriate citizens from three global cities. The national carrier announced the special repatriation flights via social media handles.

The first is from London (May 4th), Mumbai (May 7th) and finally from Guangzhou (May 8th). “Only Kenyan Citizens with COVID-19 test results will board,” KQ clarified. 

According to a statement posted on their website, passengers will pay a one-way nonrefundable fare. All passengers must arrange their own COVID-19 tests and present proof of a negative result as part of formalities.

Pope

Pope says coronavirus vaccine must be shared worldwide

Pope Francis called on Sunday for international scientific cooperation to discover a vaccine for the coronavirus and said any successful vaccine should be made available around the world.

Francis, who has been delivering his Sunday address from the papal library instead of St. Peter's Square because of the lockdown in Italy, thanked all those around the world who were providing essential services.

He encouraged international cooperation to deal with the crisis and combat the virus, which has infected nearly 3.5 million people and killed more than 240,000 people worldwide.

"In fact, it is important to unite scientific capabilities, in a transparent and impartial way to find vaccines and treatments," he said.

California

Video: The world winces as hundreds take to the streets in California protest

Despite over 1,200 deaths and 50,000 cases in California, these Huntington beach protesters saw no need for social distancing. 

Watch the video here:

Ivory Coast PM evacuated to France for medical checks

Ivory Coast's Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who is the ruling party’s candidate in October’s presidential election, was evacuated on Saturday to France for medical checks, the presidency said.

The brief statement from the presidency on Sunday provided no additional details about Gon Coulibaly’s health status. Gon Coulibaly, 61, self-isolated in late March because of possible exposure to the coronavirus but did not test positive.

Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko, who recovered from the coronavirus last month, will serve as interim prime minister in Gon Coulibaly’s absence, the statement said. 

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara designated Gon Coulibaly in March as the ruling RHDP party’s candidate for the presidential election after ruling out seeking a third term himself.

Ivory Coast has recorded more than 1,300 cases of the coronavirus, one of the highest totals in West Africa, and 15 deaths.

New York becomes Ground Zero again

A highly recommended article on the impact of the coronavirus on the Big Apple from NY BBC correspondent Nick Bryant.

 

Zimbabwe asks for International aid to clear debt 

Zimbabwe has pleaded for international help to clear billions of dollars in debt to avoid economic collapse and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Financial Times reported, citing a letter from Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions.

Zimbabwe has outstanding debt arrears and has been excluded from emergency loans from international institutions, the newspaper said. It is about $2 billion behind on payments to lenders, including the World Bank and African Development Bank. The country though has paid off to IMF, the FT said.

Fine gesture from Wolves keeper

The Wolves and Nigeria keeper is raffling a 'Super Eagles' shirt with all money raised going to Nigeria coronavirus relief aid.

AS Roma to resume training as Serie A clubs eye return

AS Roma followed in the footsteps of Serie A rivals Sassuolo, announcing a return to training next week.

Ghana update

A Twitter post from Dr. Aboagye, Director General of The Ghana Health Service with the latest Covid-19 figures for Ghana.

Africa updates from Nigerian government office

Philip Obin, New Media officer at the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria offered some new cases relating to major African nations.

 

Rolling Stones announce Extra Licks #StayAtHome specials

The Rolling Stones have announced their Extra Licks weekly livestream series, featuring bonus footage from six concert films from throughout the band’s career.

The series — released as part of YouTube’s #StayHome campaign — will kick off May 3rd at 1500 ET/2100 CEST/2000 WAT with extra footage from the band’s 2016 concert film Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. 

Nigeria The Nation Sunday front cover

NCDC claims that normality won't return to Nigeria until 2021

Coronavirus: Can I be fired if I stay home sick?

The law protects employees against 'imminent dangers' but most offices in the United States do not fall into this extreme where employees can refuse to work.

Covid-19 plasma trial begins in UK

Thousands of coronavirus survivors across the UK have signed up to donate blood plasma as part of a nation-wide clinical trial.

Hello and welcome to our Covid-19 live updates and breaking news live feed from Africa. Today is Sunday 3 May and we will bring you news, comment, opinion and statistics throughout the day as things continue to develop during the coronavirus pandemic.

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