Coronavirus Africa news summary: 12 June
Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news - 12 June
This live blog is now closed. For the latest developments and breaking news relating to the Cover-19 pandemic in Africa, please follow the live feed for Saturday 13 June here.
Popular blood pressure meds don't put patients at greater Covid-19 risk - new study
New research offers reassuring evidence to hundreds of millions of people with high blood pressure that popular anti-hypertension drugs do not put them at greater risk from Covid-19 as some experts had feared, Reuters report.
Two blood pressure-lowering drug classes, called ACE inhibitors and ARBs, came under scrutiny after the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported in April that 72% of hospitalised Covid-19 patients 65 or older had hypertension. ACE inhibitors and ARBs are thought to trigger activity along the same biological pathways used by the Covid-19 novel coronavirus to attack the lungs.
Researchers at Oxford University had recommended some patients stop the drugs until the risks were better known, while others argued patients should stay on the medications. An expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness in Baltimore described the debate as “one of the most important clinical questions.”
Covid-19 and African safari
With borders closed and airlines grounded due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa’s multi-billion-dollar safari industry is unravelling and Khimbini Hlongwane can no longer afford the payments on the new 21-seater, which sits collecting dust in the parking lot of his small safari tour company.
Cocoa regulatory challenges
Lockdown restrictions at destination ports have weighed on cocoa shipments from the world’s second-biggest producer in recent months, Ghana Cocoa Board spokesman Fiifi Boafo said by phone on Friday.
The arrears have mounted to about 1.2 billion cedis ($208 million), according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not allowed to speak publicly about the matter.
Somalia's Islamist group al Shabaab says sets up Covid-19 treatment centre
Somalia's Islamist group al Shabaab said on Friday they had set up a Covid-19 treatment centre in the country, and said the disease posed a grave threat, citing international health authorities.
"Al Shabaab's corona(virus) prevention and treatment committee has opened a Covid-19 centre," the group said in a broadcast on their radio Andalus, adding the centre had been set up in Jilib, about 380 kilometres (236 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.
"International health organisations said Covid-19 is terribly spreading in countries of Africa continent."
For more than a decade the group has been fighting to topple the Horn of Africa's Western-backed central government and establish its own government based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
WHO confirms breastfeeding positive
The UN agency encouraged mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding and not be separated from their infants, “unless the mother is too unwell”.
Ugandan testing push
“We urge those who can afford testing themselves for Covid-19 to do it and know their status.
"Government is extending testing centres to upcountry districts so that if you can afford testing yourself you do it there to assist government to know those that are with the virus, and those who need assistance,” State Minister of Finance for Planning, David Bahati has said.
The testing problem across Africa
South Africa in March unveiled plans to test 30,000 people a day, only weeks after the first infection was diagnosed. Today, with more than 940,000 tests completed and 12 million people screened, its program is by far the most comprehensive on the continent.
But some 80,000 tests haven’t been processed and results can take between five to 14 days, making it impossible to isolate those who are infected and trace their contacts.
A man walks between flooded shacks in the Masiphumelele informal settlement in Cape Town, South Africa, 11 June 2020. Cape Town is the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic in South Africa. Cold winter weather with high winds and heavy rain are concerns in the densely populated impoverished areas further contributing to the rise in infection rate. South Africa is on level 3 lockdown on a 5 phase risk adjusted lockdown system to contain the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the Covid-19 disease. (South Africa) EFE/EPA/NIC BOTHMA
Indian cricket tour to Zimbabwe cancelled over coronavirus concerns
India will not travel to Zimbabwe for a one-day international series in August due to the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah said on Friday.
The move follows the BCCI's decision on Thursday to postpone India's limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka, which was originally scheduled for later this month.
India, who last visited Zimbabwe for a bilateral series in 2016, were due to play a three-match ODI series. The BCCI has not confirmed rescheduled dates for either of the tours.
"The BCCI is determined to take steps towards the resumption of international and domestic cricket," Shah said in a statement.
"But it will not rush into any decision that will jeopardise the efforts put in by the Central and State governments and several other respective agencies in containing the spread of the coronavirus."
The BCCI said it will conduct a camp for its centrally contracted Indian cricketers only when it is completely safe to train outdoors. (Reuters)
WHO warns pandemic accelerating in Africa
(AFP via Inquirer) The speed the new coronavirus jumped from 100,000 to 200,000 confirmed cases in Africa shows just how quickly the pandemic is accelerating on the continent, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
“It took 98 days to reach the first 100,000 cases, and only 18 days to move to 200,000 cases,” Doctor Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, told a video briefing hosted by the UN press association in Geneva.
“Even though these cases in Africa account for less than three percent of the global total, it’s clear that the pandemic is accelerating.”
Air Namibia faces liquidation
Air Namibia grounded all international flights not already wiped out by the coronavirus after the country’s president, Hage Geingob, said the state carrier should be liquidated, Bloomberg reported.
The southwest African nation’s carrier has received about 8.3 billion Namibian dollars ($485 million) in government funding over the past two decades and Geingob said earlier this month the country “cannot afford to keep rescuing a loss-making airline.”
A woman walks along a flooded road amidst a storm in the Masiphumelele informal settlement in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic in South Africa. Cold winter weather with high winds and heavy rain are concerns in the densely populated impoverished areas further contributing to the rise in infection rate. South Africa is on level 3 lockdown on a 5 phase risk adjusted lockdown system to contain the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the Covid-19 disease. (Sudáfrica) EFE/EPA/NIC BOTHMA
Africa coronavirus latest
The 54 African Union Member States have registered 216,446 cases, 5,756 fatalities and 97,068 recoveries as of 09:00 on 12 June.
City of Tshwane Health officials are seen during a testing drive for the Covid-19 coronavirus at the Bloed Street Mall in Pretoria Central Business District. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)
South Africa death toll up to 1,284
South Africa's Health Ministry confirmed the figures on Thursday night as the country continues to gradually ease out of lockdown.
Africa cases up by 31 percent
According to a WHO report, there has been a 31% increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the African Region in past week. Cases in Mauritania, Ethiopia, CAR, South Sudan and Zimbabwe grew the fastest.
Coronavirus could see number of extreme poor rise to 1.1b worldwide
(Reuters) The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge an extra 395 million people into extreme poverty and swell the total number of those living on less than $1.90 a day worldwide to more than 1 billion, researchers said in a report on Friday.
The report - published by UNU-WIDER, part of the United Nations University - played through a number of scenarios, taking into account the World Bank’s various poverty lines - from extreme poverty, defined as living on $1.90 a day or less, to higher poverty lines of living on less than $5.50 a day.
Under the worst scenario - a 20% contraction in per capita income or consumption - the number of those living in extreme poverty could rise to 1.12 billion. The same contraction applied to the $5.50 threshold among upper-middle income countries could see more than 3.7 billion people - or just over half the world's population - live below this poverty line.
Ten countries seeing 80% of cases
The big question across Africa, just like in every other part of the globe, is how many infected people is testing actually picking up?
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 Africa live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live Africa-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now registered over 7.5 million cases worldwide, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
We'll endeavour to keep you abreast of the latest developments and statistics as they emerge throughout Friday.