Coronavirus Africa summary: cases, deaths and news - 25 May

Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news - 25 May

Africa

Africa Covid-19 update: 01:30 WAT on Tuesday 26 May (02:30 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 5,490,954 cases have been detected worldwide, with 345,962 deaths and 2,228,915 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 8,069 cases / 233 deaths
South Africa: 23,615 cases / 481 deaths
Ghana: 6,808 cases / 32 deaths
Uganda: 222 cases / 0 deaths (no data currently available)

An update on African countries with the highest counts of coronavirus.

Africa Covid-19 update: 01:30 WAT on Tuesday 26 May (02:30 CEST)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 5,490,954 cases have been detected worldwide, with 345,962 deaths and 2,228,915 people now recovered.

Nigeria: 8,069 cases / 233 deaths
South Africa: 23,615 cases / 481 deaths
Ghana: 6,808 cases / 32 deaths
Uganda: 222 cases / 0 deaths (no data currently available)

South Africa smoking ban upsets smokers

The South African government banned smoking as part of its coronavirus restrictions - based on the World Health Organisations' indication that smokers would likely be more at risk from Covid-19 - and says it will continue with the ban even when other elements of the lockdown regime are relaxed on 1 June, including a ban on the sale of alcohol. The smoking ban will remain in place however. 

For nine million smokers in South Africa the ban is proving to be tough, with few having prepared for the lack of smokes.

President Ramaphosa has said that the "government is making every effort to act in a way that advances the rights to life and dignity of all our people" and the cigarette ban is part of that. 

The exact impact on coronavirus infection for smokers  is not yet clear, but, Covid-19 aside, for almost all smokers the one single best thing they can do for their health is give up. 

Botswana border delays

Up to five days to cross...

WHO update for Nigeria

Africa cases update

A look at the total number of cases reported across the continent on 25 May. 

WHO fears 'silent' virus epidemic unless Africa prioritises testing

(Reuters) Africa has so far been spared the worst impact of the coronavirus, but the World Health Organization is worried the continent could face a "silent epidemic" if its leaders do not prioritise testing for it, a WHO envoy said on Monday.

"My first point for Africa, my first concern, is that a lack of testing is leading to a silent epidemic in Africa. So we must continue to push leaders to prioritise testing," special envoy Samba Sow told a news conference.

The WHO's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Africa was the region with the fewest diagnosed coronavirus cases, accounting for less than 1.5% of the global total and just 0.1% of deaths.

Africa CDC updates

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its daily overview of cases across the continent. 

WHO warns of 'second peak' in areas where COVID-19 declining

(Reuters) Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an "immediate second peak" if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan told an online briefing, noting that while cases are declining in many countries they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa.

Ryan said epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. There was also a chance that infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.

"When we speak about a second wave classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months' time," Ryan said. 

Locusts

A man chases away locusts that were roosting in trees overnight, in the morning on May 21, 2020 in Samburu County, Kenya. Giant swarms of locusts are spreading across parts of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, following an earlier infestation in February. Pastoralist communities like the Samburu in northern Kenya fear the locusts will devastate the rangeland on which their livestock are dependent. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd/Getty Images)

NCDC confirms 313 new coronavirus cases

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Sunday, recorded 313 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, taking the toll of active cases to 5350.

"Millions of jobs at risk"

Rwanda introduces "anti-epidemic robots"

Elba to host fundraising concert

Actor Idris Elba is to host a concert featuring a number of Africa stars tonight, to raise money to feed children on the continent who are not getting the reliable daily meal they are usually provided with at school. 

SA

South Africa Muslims skip Eid celebrations to hand out food

Children wait for food during a food handout in Johannesburg, South Africa, on day 59 of the national lockdown as a result of the coronavirus. The local Muslim community spent the time they would have shared with family celebrating Eid al-Fitr by feeding hundreds who are facing food insecurity due to the economic effects of the lockdown - one of the main issues facing the country since the start of lockdown. (Photo by: EFE/EPA/KIM LUDBROOK)

WHO releases latest figures: just under 111,000 cases in Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its latest country-by-country breakdown of the total confirmed cases and deaths in Africa:

Gym closures force Kenyan sports champion to train by roadside

Kenya taekwondo champion Vincent Ochieng usually trains in school sports halls in Kisumu, but now he is working out with hundreds of other people on the gritty surface of the western city's biggest highway flyover.

The government closed sports facilities in March as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, leaving athletes like Ochieng, who was looking forward to representing Kenya at the World Taekwondo Championships in China in October, with nowhere to train.

"We are planning to represent the country in October ... in China Taekwondo World Cup, but unfortunately this Covid-19 is with us and we don’t know when it’s going to end. We just hope it ends before the tournament time," Ochieng told Reuters as he trained with other sportsmen and women.

Ochieng, a six-times national champion who trains with his daughter, has represented Kenya in tournaments in South Korea, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Sudan.

(Text: Reuters)

Zambia minister self-isolating after positive test

Dora Siliya, Zambia’s information minister, this weekend revealed that she has gone into self-isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus. “Even after taking all precautions ... yesterday I did test positive for Covid-19,” Siliya said on Saturday.

Alcohol ban to be lifted in South Africa

The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that a ban on alcohol sales will be lifted when the country moves from level four to level three of its five-phase coronavirus lockdown.

Sudan government "exposed" by coronavirus

Writing for the BBC, the journalist Zeinab Mohammed Salih says the new Sudanese government has "failed to provide leadership" during the coronavirus pandemic, with cases now over the 2,000 mark in the country - the highest in East Africa.

The fall-out from the coronavirus could have a bigger impact on people's lives than the actual virus itself with Africa in a particularly vulnerable position.

Nigeria's coronavirus cases broken down by state.

A look at how Sudan's new leaders have been exposed due to coronavirus by the BBC. Sudanese migrants returning to the country were put in quarantine but left early and might have been the reason for the spread. Inflation has reached 100% and neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister for Finance has appeared publicly to calm nerves or sympathise with millions of struggling families.

South African president says lockdown to ease from June 1

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday a further easing of South Africa's coronavirus lockdown from June 1, allowing the vast majority of the economy to return to full capacity.

Africa's most industrialised economy has been largely shut down since late March, when the government enforced severe restrictions to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus which has so far infected 22,583 people and killed 429.

Ramaphosa, who has been under pressure from rival political parties and a variety of industries to ease the restrictions, said following broad consultations the cabinet had decided to move the country to "level three" of its five-level lockdown system.

"This will result in the opening up of the economy and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people while significantly expanding... our public health interventions," he said in a televised address.

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.

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