Coronavirus updates: Africa - cases, deaths and news summary
Coronavirus live: latest Africa Covid-19 news - 4 May
Africa Covid-19 update: 02:00 WAT Tuesday 5 May (03:00 CEST)
According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,578,301 cases have been detected worldwide, with 251,365 deaths and 1,162,563 people now recovered.
Nigeria: 2,558 cases / 87 deaths
South Africa: 7,220 cases / 138 deaths
Ghana: 2,719 cases / 18 deaths
Kenya: 490 cases / 24 deaths
Global coronavirus deaths exceed quarter of a million
(Reuters) - Global coronavirus deaths reached 250,000 on Monday after recorded infections topped 3.5 million, a Reuters tally of official government data showed, although the rate of fatalities has slowed.
North America and European countries accounted for most of the new deaths and cases reported in recent days, but numbers were rising from smaller bases in Latin America, Africa and Russia.
Globally, there were 3,062 new deaths and 61,923 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking total cases to 3.58 million.
That easily exceeds the estimated 140,000 deaths worldwide in 2018 caused by measles, and compares with around 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness caused annually by seasonal influenza, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
While the current trajectory of COVID-19 falls far short of the 1918 Spanish flu, which infected an estimated 500 million people, killing at least 10% of patients, experts worry the available data is underplaying the true impact of the pandemic.
The concerns come as several countries begin to ease strict lockdowns that have been credited with helping contain the spread of the virus.
"We could easily have a second or a third wave because a lot of places aren't immune," Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital, told Reuters. He noted the world was well short of herd immunity, which requires around 60% of the population to have recovered from the disease.
Good news from Mauritius... but lockdown extended
There were no new Covid-19 cases in Mauritius for the past eight days, according to the National Communication Committee. In total Mauritius has had 332 confirmed cases, with 6 of them still active. 10 people have died, while the remaining 316 have recovered.
The lockdown, put in place on 20 March has been extended until 1 June, with the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, asking for patience from the population to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu addresses the nation
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu spoke today about the gradual and controlled easing of lockdown restrctions in Lagos and Abuja which came into effect today.
Two new cases in Yemen
Yemen has two new confirmed coronavirus infections, raising the country’s total to 12, according to the supreme national committee to combat the coronavirus. Two people have died of the disease so far in the country.
Vodacom launches 5G in South Africa
South African mobile operator Vodacom Group said on Monday it has switched on Africa's first live 5G mobile network in three cities, with further rollouts planned in other parts of the country.
Vodacom was recently assigned temporary additional spectrum by the telecoms regulator for the duration of the national state of disaster, including 1 x 50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band, which has been used to fasttrack its 5G launch, it said in a statement.
In February, Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said Vodacom expects to offer 5G mobile services to its South African customers this year by using a network being built by another African operator, Liquid Telecom.
700 Nigerians to be repatriated by United States next week
Several hundred Nigerians who are stranded in the United States because of the coronavirus crisis will be repatriated starting from next week, the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York confirmed in a statement this morning.
"A one-way flight for the evacuation of stranded Nigerian nationals in the USA to Abuja is being arranged for Sunday 10 May," a statement read. A total of 270 passengers will be flown by to Nigeria on the Ethiopia Airlines flight "at their own expense" - between 1,300 and 1,700 dollars, with reductions for children and infants. The flight will arrive in Abuja at noon on the following day.
In total, around 700 Nigerian nationals have registered to be evacuated from the States with tickets for the first arranged flight available from www.ethiopainairlines.com on a first come, first served basis. More flights will be laid on later this month.
Ghana needs $10bn to build new drainage system
Ghana's Minister for Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea says that the country must invest 10 billion dollars in building a new subterranean drainage system to tackle an ongoing problem with flooding, TV3 reports.
Atta Akyea explained that authorities have been left “without a choice” and said that the price of building a completely new drainage system would be cheaper in the long run than constantly have to shell out to repair the one in current use. The venture, he added, would be funded by going to the capital/bond market to raise about US$10 billion needed.
Lockdown restrictions eased in Lagos and Abuja
Nigeria began easing restrictions on Monday in its capital Abuja and in Lagos, its largest city, marking the reopening of Africa's biggest economy after more than four weeks of lockdown.
Nigeria has recorded 2,558 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 87 deaths since recording its first case at the end of February, a much lower toll than those seen in Covid-19 hotspots in Europe and the United States. The government has said a stay-at-home order in place since 30 March in Abuja and the states of Lagos and Ogun will be lifted gradually over a six-week period.
The regions will now come in line with the rest of the country where the restrictions in force were less strict and include an overnight curfew, mandatory face masks in public and a ban on non-essential interstate travel. "We must do all we can to stop the spread of #COVID19 so we must all take responsibility and do what is necessary to remain safe," said Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a tweet, hours before restrictions were eased.
On Monday morning, the usually frenetic streets of the coastal megacity Lagos, largely empty during the lockdown, were busy with cars, buses and motorised tricycle taxis. Faced with morning rain, people in the city's Iyana Oworo district huddled under a bridge, ignoring social distancing rules, but most people wore masks.
Businesses have been allowed to reopen provided they have decontaminated their offices, can enable social distancing and offer hand sanitizer and hand washing. Schools and places of worship remain closed, restaurants can only operate on a takeaway basis, and all cultural events have been cancelled.
Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Namibia will ease their lockdowns on Monday. On Friday, South Africa relaxed one of the world's strictest Covid-19 lockdowns, and Ghana last month lifted a three-week lockdown in its two main cities.
Experts have not reached a consensus on the reasons for Nigeria's low number of cases, though many point to the low testing rate. The country's centre for disease control said 17,566 samples have been tested in a country of 200 million people.
Coronavirus Africa live: welcome
Hello and welcome our Africa-focused live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now registered over 3.5 million cases worldwide. We'll endeavour to bring you the latest developments and statistics as they emerge throughout the course of today.