Coronavirus Africa news summary: cases and deaths - 22 May

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Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news - Friday 22 May


Africa Covid-19 update: 02:00 WAT on Saturday 23 May (03:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University5,205,900 cases have been detected worldwide, with 337,572 deaths and 2,054,125 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 7,261 cases / 221 deaths
South Africa: 20,125 cases / 397 deaths
Ghana: 6,486 cases / 31 deaths
Uganda: 160 cases / 0 deaths (no data currently available)

"For now Covid-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

There have been 100,000+ cases in Africa and every country on the continent has been affected.

During a briefing on Friday, Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of Health Emergencies Programme, said: "On the one hand, good news -- the disease hasn't taken off in a very fast trajectory, but (there's) a concern some countries are accelerating in the number of cases."

'Let's party, coronavirus has ended'

A senior political figure from Tanzania has sparked outrage by saying the coronavirus pandemic is over. Paul Makonda, regional commissioner of country's biggest city, said there would be sales in shops so people could celebrate in the streets with new clothes on.

Total cases in Africa now tops 100,000. Experts warn that could explode in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus in Africa reaches new milestone as cases exceed 100,000

Africa’s low mortality rate associated with COVID-19 may be caused in part by 60% of the continents' population is under the age of 25, according to early analysis by the WHO. Adults over 65 are at a higher risk of dying or being hospitalized due to the coronavirus, per the CDC.

UK makes African Union pledge

The United Kingdom (UK) has pledged £20 million to support the African Union (AU) in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the funding, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK’s international development secretary, said it is part of the Africa anti-COVID-19 fund to tackle the disease and save lives.

Burundi police detain more than 200 opposition election observers

Burundian police detained more than 200 opposition electoral observers during this week's election, the spokesman for the main opposition National Freedom Council (CNL) told Reuters on Friday, alleging voting irregularities.

Wednesday's election, the first competitive presidential election since civil war erupted in 1993, is meant to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in 58 years of independence.

There was widespread international criticism of the last election in 2015, which the opposition boycotted, when President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term.

There were few international election monitors on Wednesday after the government said they would have to spend 14 days in quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The ruling CNDD-FDD party’s candidate, retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, ran against opposition leader Agathon Rwasa and five others.

East Africa 'triple threat'

Countries across East Africa and the Horn of Africa are witnessing a “triple threat” from overlapping disasters as the coronavirus, locusts and flooding inundate communities across the region.

The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) said that widespread flooding across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda has led to the displacement of more than 500,000 and killed nearly 300 people.

African deaths still low as South America becomes new COVID 'epicentre' - WHO

South America has become a new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic with Brazil hardest-hit, while cases are rising in some African countries that so far have a relatively low death toll, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

"In a sense South America has become a new epicentre for the disease," Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergencies expert, told a news conference, adding Brazil is "clearly the most affected".

Ryan noted Brazilian authorities have approved broad use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19. He reiterated that current clinical evidence does not support the unproven drug's widespread use against the new disease, given its risks.

African music legend Mory Kante dies aged 70 in Guinea

Musician Mory Kante, who helped win African music a global following, has died in the capital of his homeland Guinea at the age of 70, his agent said on Friday.

Kante's long-running career saw him progress from regional acclaim as a player of the traditional West African kora instrument to international stardom in the 1980s with his chart-topping hit 'Yeke Yeke'.

"Mory passed away last night in his sleep in Conakry," his manager Juan Yriart told Reuters by phone. "The cause is unknown."

Blair: Patchy data means Africa could use antibody tests to track Covid-19

African nations should use antibody tests to find out whether the slower spread and lower mortality rate of coronavirus on the continent is due to patchy data or a more resilient population, former British prime minister Tony Blair said on Friday.

“The biggest risk Africa has is the cure turns out to be worse than the disease,” Blair told Reuters.

Africa as a whole has cumulatively reported nearly 100,000 Covid-19 cases so far and just over 3,000 deaths - far fewer than in many European nations. But low rates of testing and patchy reporting of deaths mean outbreaks of the virus may be undetected in many countries.


Buhari to observe Eid prayers at home with family

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari will observe his ‘Eid’ prayers with his family at home. “With the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations around the corner and the month-long Ramadan fast coming to an end, President Muhammadu Buhari will be conducting his Eid prayers with his family at home," Senior Special Assistant to the President Garba Shehu announced. 

10 members of the same family test positive for Covid-19 in Kaduna

Out of the 18 new cases of ovid-19 confirmed in Kaduna, 10 were members of the same family, Governor Nasir El-Rufai confirmed today. 

Tony Blair says data limitations mean Africa should use antibody tests

African nations should use antibody tests to find out whether the slower spread and lower mortality rate of the new coronavirus on the continent is due to patchy data or a more resilient population, former British prime minister Tony Blair has said.

That information would guide leaders in deciding whether to extend lockdowns or other restrictions that are damaging economies, exacerbating hunger and slowing the fight against other deadly diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, he said.

Africa has cumulatively reported nearly 100,000 Covid-19 cases so far and just over 3,000 deaths - far fewer than in many European nations. But low rates of testing and patchy reporting of deaths mean outbreaks of the virus may be undetected in many countries. Africa also has a much younger population than Europe and most Covid-19 fatalities are among the elderly. 

UK court ends Nigerian oil corruption case

An English court threw out a $1.1 billion case Nigeria had brought against Royal Dutch Shell and Eni related to a dispute over the OPL 245 oilfield, a court document showed on Friday, while a related trial in Italy continues.

The Nigerian government filed the case in 2018 at a commercial court in London alleging payments made by the companies to get the OPL 245 oilfield licence in 2011 were used for kickbacks and bribes. Justice Butcher said in his ruling seen by Reuters that the High Court 'must decline jurisdiction over the action against' Shell and the other defendants.

Eni, which has said it did nothing wrong, had no immediate comment.

Uganda on wildlife protection

Sam Mwandha, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority said a ban on legal wildlife trade would need to be based on a thorough research, considering its implications.

“It is too early to make that decision. We need to do a proper analysis to see what is workable, rather than having a blanket ban,” he explained.

Nigeria being 'milked'

The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, accuses other countries of taking advantage of the current crisis.

Ghana dissected

A deeper look into the numbers and trends across the West African country.


Burundians wait in a line to vote during the presidential and general elections at a polling station at the Bubu Primary school in Giheta, central Burundi.

The United States says it hopes for better ties with Burundi after its latest election, which it praised as an improvement from its violent 2015 vote. 'It's no secret, our relations with Burundi have not been what I would call cordial at all,' said Tibor Nagy, the assistant secretary of state for Africa. (Photo AFP)

Vaccine hope reminder

There is no certainty that a Covid-19 vaccine will be found, so other measures must be developed.

Football returns...with goals!

The first African action in the coronavirus era involving Burundi's Musongati FC and Athletico Olympic ended in a high-scoring 3-3 draw.

It's complicated

African countries are facing multiple dilemmas during the coronavirus pandemic, including whether to allow voting and whether to continue restraining economies, all while battling stigma surrounding the virus. 

Segregation memories in SA

South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown has brought a unique kind of discomfort to a country where memories of physical separation are yet to fade. Stand there. Step back. Don’t touch.

Virtual football reality

As the beautiful game begins to return, could ideas like this become part of the new fan experience?

Covid-19 and Africa's future

'In Nigeria, like a number of countries in Africa, many people were sceptical about the virus, suspecting governments were exaggerating the threat. Myths circulated in Nigeria that the disease only affected rich people or would be killed by hot weather.'

Coronavirus has been slow to spread across Africa, but Ms Osowobi's experience shows some of the challenges the continent could face when COVID-19 takes hold.  Read her story in full.

Africa Covid-19 update: 08:00 WAT on Friday 21 May (09:00 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University5,106,155 cases have been detected worldwide, with 332,978 deaths and 1,950,518 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 7,016 cases / 211 deaths
South Africa: 19,137 cases / 369 deaths
Ghana: 6,486 cases / 31 deaths
Uganda: 160 cases / 0 deaths (no data currently available)

Coronavirus live Africa updates: welcome

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

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