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Coronavirus Africa news summary: cases and deaths - 5 May

A woman wears a locally made face mask at a food market in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, Nigeria, 04 May 2020.
Africa map

Africa Covid-19 update: 03:00 WAT Wednesday 6 May (04:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,659,759 cases have been detected worldwide, with 257,207 deaths and 1,197,735 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 2,950 cases / 98 deaths
South Africa: 7,572 cases / 148 deaths
Ghana: 2,719 cases / 18 deaths
Kenya: 535 cases / 24 deaths

Africa map

Africa Covid-19 update: 01:45 WAT Wednesday 6 May (02:45 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University3,659,271 cases have been detected worldwide, with 256,928 deaths and 1,197,340 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 2,802 cases / 93 deaths
South Africa: 7,572 cases / 148 deaths
Ghana: 2,719 cases / 18 deaths
Kenya: 535 cases / 24 deaths

Surf protest

Surf's locked down

A surfer protests the lockdown in Cape Town, South Africa. Under current lockdown level 4 regulations beaches remain closed and it is illegal to surf or to run and walk on the beach. 


Ofo-Okenwa passes away, aged 50

Chairman of the Nigeria National League, Chidi Ofo-Okenwa has died, he was 50 years old. The NFF confirmed that Okenwa lost his battle against leukaemia and passed away at a private hospital in Enugu on Tuesday. RIP.

60 patients discharged in Lagos

60 Covid-19 patients, 40 males and 20 females, were discharged from the Yaba, Eti-Osa and Ibeju-Lekki isolation facilities in Lagos today. All tested negative in two separate tests for the virus. In total, 321 patients have been treated and recovered from Covid-19 in Lagos.


Coronavirus and sport: the impact of Covid-19 on sporting events around the world


Coronavirus and sport: the impact of Covid-19 on sporting events around the world

The situation in sport around the world: Football, cricket, rugby, surfing, Olympics, golf, tennis, cycling, athletics, motor sports, swimming, baseball, NFL, NHL, baseball, basketball...

Kenya infections have not yet reached the peak

The rate of positive cases in Kenya has been rising but the curve has not yet started to level out, Dr, Eric Osoro and cases won't vanish completely until a vaccine is found, explained today. "Covid-19 is going to stay with us, it's not going to disappear. So that means more people are going to get infected but we will see some people who are less susceptible as they have some level of immunity". 


Kenya records highest single-day rise in Covid-19 infection cases

Worrying news coming out of Kenya, who registered the biggest single day rise in Covid-19 infections since the outbreak started. In total, 45 positive cases were reported - 30 males and 15 females. Eastleigh, Kawangware in Nairobi and Old Town in Mombasa are the three most affected districts.

Wearing face masks is compulsory in Ghana

Ghana's Minister for Health Kwaku Agyeman Manu has asked citizens to follow the protocol in place to stop the transmission of Covid-19 in the country and declared that wearing a face mask in public in now mandatory.

"If anyone wants to contract this disease, and wants to die, let me tell you - the rest of us don't want to die. We are all in this together, we want t live together and survive the coronavirus together," Kwaku Agyeman Manu said in today's address in Accra.

Expanded Social Package extended in Johannesburg

Johannesburg announced on Tuesday that the Expanded Social Package (ESP) will be extended by a further six months. The ESP offers reductions and rebates on water, electricity, refuse removal and property rates to disadvantaged individuals and households. It provides helps to over 30,000 residents in the city.

One Covid-19 death in Lagos, 14 have recovered

Lagos State Ministry of Health reported another fatality in the state on Tuesday but did not give any more details. In total, Lagos has registered 31 deaths due toCovid-19 while 261 patients have been successfully treated and recovered.

The ministry confirmed that the total number of confirmed cases in Lagos now stands at 1,199.

BCG jab trialled in South Africa

A trial has begun un South Africa to find out whether the BCG vaccine, which is used to immunise people against tuberculosis, can also prove effective against the coronavirus.

Uganda "tames" coronavirus

Uganda has started lifting lockdown restrictions after the government stated it has the Covid-19 pandemic under control.  

Sierra Leone president given coronavirus all-clear

Julius Maada Bio has tested negative for Covid-19 after spending 15 days in isolation, the country's presidency has confirmed. 

Nigerians return to the streets

People in Lagos have been able to go to markets and shop as the Nigerian government starts to ease lockdown restrictions. 

France's early Covid-19 case may hold clues to pandemic's start

(Reuters) A study by French scientists which suggests a man was infected with Covid-19 as early as Dec. 27, nearly a month before France confirmed its first cases, could be important in assessing when and where the new coronavirus emerged, experts said on Tuesday.

French researchers led by Yves Cohen, head of resuscitation at the Avicenne and Jean Verdier hospitals, retested samples from 24 patients treated in December and January who had tested negative for flu before Covid-19 developed into a pandemic.

The results, published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, showed that one patient - a 42-year-old man born in Algeria, who had lived in France for many years and worked as a fishmonger - was infected with Covid-19 "one month before the first reported cases in our country", they said.

The World Health Organization said the results were "not surprising".

"It's also possible there are more early cases to be found," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. He encouraged other countries to check records for cases in late 2019, saying this would give the world a "new and clearer picture" of the outbreak.

Independent experts said the findings needed more investigation.

"It's not impossible that it was an early introduction, but the evidence isn't conclusive by any means," said Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at Britain's University of Nottingham.

Stephen Griffin, an expert at the University of Leeds' Institute of Medical Research, said it was "a potentially important finding" and added: "We must be cautious when interpreting these findings."

Cohen told French television on Monday it was too early to know if the patient, whose last trip to Algeria had been in August 2019, was France's "patient zero".

But "identifying the first infected patient is of great epidemiological interest as it changes dramatically our knowledge regarding SARS-COV-2 (the new coronavirus) and its spreading in the country," he and his co-researchers wrote in the paper detailing their findings.

They said the absence of a link with China and the lack of recent travel "suggest that the disease was already spreading among the French population at the end of December 2019".

Nigeria Covid-19 update

245 new coronavirus cases were recorded on 4 May across Nigeria, according to the NCDC. 

Africa cases reach 45,000

According to data compiled by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of coronavirus cases in Africa has risen to 45,000. 

WHO cautions against untested COVID-19 traditional remedies

(Reuters) The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua, touted as possible treatments for Covid-19, should be tested for efficacy and side effects.

The WHO said it supported scientifically proven traditional medicine, adding that complementary and alternative medicine had many benefits.

The race to find a cure for Covid-19 has sparked renewed interest in plants such as Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood.

Madagascar's president, Andry Rajoelina, is promoting a cure based on the plant. Although the herbal mix has not been scientifically tested yet, the heads of several African countries have announced placing orders, or received consignments of it.

"Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical," the sub-Saharan Africa regional office of the WHO said in the statement.

The WHO said it was working with research institutions to select traditional medicine products that can be investigated for clinical efficacy and safety for treatment of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

It said caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies as efforts were under way to find treatment for COVID-19.

"Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy," it said.

It added that the use of products that have not been robustly investigated could put people in danger, give them a false sense of security and distract from preventive measures.

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.

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.