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Coronavirus Africa summary: cases, deaths and news - 20 May

A mine worker wearing a face masks boards a bus ahead of his shift, amid a nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown at the Sibanye Stillwater in Carletonville, South Africa, May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Coronavirus live Africa updates: cases, deaths and news - 20 May


Africa Covid-19 update: 02:00 WAT on Thursday 21 May (03:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University4,992,487 cases have been detected worldwide, with 328,079 deaths and 1,897,533 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 6,677cases / 200 deaths
South Africa: 18,003 cases / 339 deaths
Ghana: 6,269 cases / 31 deaths
Uganda: 264 cases / 0 deaths (no data currently available)

Newspaper industry hit hard in Uganda

The coronavirus crisis has slammed the newspaper industry in Uganda. A horrendous combination of a massive decline in ad revenue, circulation problems due to lockdown and consumers saving money to spend on other necessities. Journalists have seen salaries slashed or put on forced leave. All at a time when the public need access to good information more than ever.

Many are reading online rather in print now, hastening the move away from paper copies. 

The hope is the industry rebounds sharply when the pandemic is over, even if more readers are digital...

Prepare for a long battle against Covid-19

Good report from the BBC's Andrew Harding. As he notes: "Governments across the continent are already hard-wired to respond to new public health challenges like Ebola or Covid-19." So they didn't dither... but there are still plenty of challenges ahead...

Apple and Google release API for contact tracing

Now to see which countries use it and, more importantly, how many users sign up. 

South Africa records first neonatal coronavirus death, toll jumps to 339

(Reuters) South Africa recorded its first neonatal coronavirus death on Wednesday, as the death toll jumped by 27 to 339, the health ministry said. 

The two-day old baby was born prematurely and had lung difficulties which required ventilation support immediately after birth, Health minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.

"The mother had tested positive for Covid-19 and the child subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 as well. It is important to appreciate the complexities of the underlying condition of prematurity," he said.

South Africa, which has the highest coronavirus infections in Africa, reported 803 new cases in a 24-hour cycle, taking the total to 18,003 while 8,950 people have recovered.

Africa coronavirus response a success story

However, as Howard W. French argues in World Politics Review, the worst predictions have not come to pass on the continent and praise is due for the way the crisis has been handled. 

Africa cases reach 90,000

According to the WHO, Covid-19 cases in Africa reached the 90,000-mark on Wednesday.  


Residents stand in line queueing for a distribution of hampers, masks, soap and sanitiser organised by different charities at the Iterileng informal settlement near Laudium, Pretoria, on May 20, 2020. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

South Africa facing huge rise in cases, deaths - experts

A group of academics and health experts advising the government.has warned that the country could face between 40,000 and 45,000 fatalities from Covid-19 under the current plan to lift lockdown restrictions on 1 June. 

Egypt to deduct 1% from salaries due to coronavirus

(Reuters) Egypt will deduct 1% from people's salaries for 12 months beginning on July 1 to offset the economic repercussions of the coronavirus, according to a draft law approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.

The tax will be imposed across all sectors of the economy in both the public and private sectors for net monthly salaries exceeding 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($127), the cabinet said in a statement. A tax of 0.5% will be deducted from state pensions.

The measure comes as Egypt tries to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, which has brought tourism to a standstill, triggered major capital flight, and threatened remittances from Egyptians working overseas.

South Africa Covid-19 updates

South Africa recorded 768 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, with a total of 13,538 tests conducted. 

The relatively low number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa has "raised hopes that African countries may be spared the worst of the pandemic", United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, while praising the continent for responding swiftly to the pandemic.

Nigerian medical union orders strike over alleged police harassment

Nigeria's largest medical union, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), on Wednesday ordered its members in the commercial capital Lagos to launch an indefinite strike over alleged police harassment.

In a statement, the NMA said an indefinite "sit-in" should begin at 18:00 WAT on Wednesday after complaints of harassment from health workers resulting from "conflicting directives" on whether they were exempt from movement restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic.


Covid-19 could send millions in Africa into "extreme poverty", says UN secretary general

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has warned that millions of people in Africa could be left in "extreme poverty" by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The pandemic threatens African progress," Guterres said. "It will aggravate long standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease.  

"Already, demand for Africa’s commodities, tourism and remittances are declining. The opening of the trade zone has been pushed back - and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty."

Covid Live entertains people in Burkina Faso

The music event Covid Live, which is broadcast on Facebook, is seeking to keep locked-down people entertained in Burkina Faso:

China "needs Africa more than ever"

WHO daily dashboard: over 90,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths in Africa


People wearing protective face masks stand in a queue to receive food aid amid the spread of the coronavirus, at the Itireleng informal settlement, near Laudium suburb in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

World Bank agrees $1bn Kenya loan


Elections in Burundi amid coronavirus threat and campaign marked by violence

Voters in Gitega, Burundi, queue to cast their ballots at a polling centre during the Presidential, Legislative and Communal council elections, under simmering political violence and the growing threat of the coronavirus. (Photo: REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana)

"Contained or unrecorded?"

Five reporters for the BBC have offered a summary of the coronavirus situation in DR Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda:

Coronavirus: the complete guide to the Covid-19 pandemic


Coronavirus: the complete guide to the Covid-19 pandemic

Coronavirus: the complete guide to the Covid-19 pandemic

All the information you need to understand the coronavirus and ways to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Coronavirus live Africa updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, Africa-focused coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now registered 4.9 million cases worldwide.

Join us for the latest news and numbers as they emerge throughout the day.