Coronavirus Africa summary: cases, deaths and news - 24 July

Coronavirus live Africa: latest news - 25 July

Africa

Africa Covid-19 update: 02:00 WAT on Saturday 25 July (03:00 CEST) 

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University15,665,350 cases have been detected worldwide, with 638,169 deaths and 8,982,020 people recovered.

South Africa: 421,996 cases / 6,343 deaths

Egypt: 91,072 cases / 4,518

Nigeria: 38,948 cases / 833 deaths

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Cape Town

Police use a water cannon to disperse restaurant workers protesting against coronavirus lockdown regulations in Cape Town, South Africa. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Senegal strengthens coronavirus testing for travellers

(Reuters) Senegal is strengthening its coronavirus testing capacity to enable travellers to get tested before leaving the country, and testing those arriving in the West African state.

Senegal, which depends on tourism for around 4% of GDP, has reported 9,422 cases since the outbreak, with 182 deaths. It lifted a ban on international flights from July 15 but said it will apply the principle of reciprocity to travellers from countries that do not allow citizens from Senegal.

Around 1.7 million people holidayed in Senegal in 2019.

WHO says Africa cases have increased by almost 25 percent

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said coronavirus cases in Africa have increased by 23 percent in the space of a week. 

The WHO published the figures in its weekly situation update for WHO Africa Region. 

Record single-day rise in cases in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has registered its biggest single-day rise in coronavirus cases, after reporting 760 new infections on Friday. In total, the country has now confirmed 12,693 cases since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The Ethiopian health ministry also said there had been three new fatalities, taking the country’s death toll to 200.

Tracking the evolution of case numbers in the globe's worst-hit countries

This animated chart shows how Covid-19 case numbers have progressed in the world's worst-hit countries since mid-April:

SA

A restaurant worker in Cape Town, South Africa, holds a placard during a protest against the restrictions in place in the country in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The South African hospitality industry has been left in dire straits by the financial impact of lockdown restrictions.

(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings)

WHO reports record daily surge in coronavirus cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Friday, with the total rising by 284,196 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. Deaths rose by 9,753, the biggest one-day increase since a record high of 9,797 deaths on 30 April.

The previous WHO record for new cases was 259,848 on 18 July. Deaths have been averaging 5,000 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June. (Reuters)

Kenyan government spokesperson tests positive

Government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna has revealed that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is undergoing treatment in an isolation facility.

Full story:

Thousands of contacts yet be traced in Kenya

Citing health ministry data, the Daily Nation has reported that around 13,000 people in Kenya who came into contact with people who later tested positive for the coronavirus are yet to be traced. 

The report quotes Patrick Amoth, Kenya’s acting health director-general, as saying that effective contact tracing is a very difficult task for the country's healthcare authorities, in part due to a lack of resources.

"Listing and contact tracing is very expensive and since community transmission is deeply rooted, this activity might yield little," he said.

Sub-Saharan Africa GDP to contract 3.1% this year

Fifteen Zambian lawmakers, 11 parliamentary staff contract COVID-19

Fifteen lawmakers and 11 members of staff at the Zambian parliament have tested positive for COVID-19, the health minister said on Friday, days after the assembly suspended sittings because a lawmaker had died of the respiratory disease.

Zambia's coronavirus cases have surged to 3,856 from 1,632 at the beginning of July, with deaths rising to 136 from 30 over the same period, minister Chitalu Chilufya told reporters. The heavily indebted southern African country, the No. 2 copper producer on the continent, is bracing for an economic contraction of over 4% this year because of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reporting by Reuters)

10,000 health workers infected in Africa

The WHO has confirmed that some 10,000 health workers in 40 countries across Africa have been infected with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The growth we are seeing in Covid-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them, and there is no more sobering example of this than the rising number of health worker infections.”

PTF lists challenges of fighting Covid-19 in Nigeria

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha has said that failure by many Nigerians to believe in the existence of coronavirus posts a great challenge to the fight against the pandemic by the Presidential Task Force [PTF] on Covid-19. 

Mustapha, who expressed dismay over the low level of compliance with the rules of engagement put in place by the government to tackle the pandemic, noted that many Nigerians had continued to flout the directives to observe social distancing, wear face masks, use hand sanitizers and subject themselves to temperature testing “while some even say the pandemic is a hoax.”

African Development Bank provides coronavirus aid to Sahel

The African Development Bank said Thursday it would provide $285 million in aid to Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid was being provided within the framework of a $10-billion Covid-19 response facility unveiled by the AfDB in April. Niger would receive support of $108.8 million, Burkina Faso $54.6 million and Mali $48.9 million in both loans and grants, a statement said. Chad would receive $61.2 million and Mauritania $10.2 million in the form of grants.

“The board of directors of the AfDB has approved budgetary support of $284.8 million to help the efforts of the Sahel countries — Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad — in implementing their response plans to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recovery,” the pan-African bank said.

WHO scientist sees regulators cooperating to speed Covid-19 vaccine approval

Regulators that normally work within their own countries or regions will likely harmonize efforts on potential Covid-19 vaccines to speed up their approvals once they become available, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday, via Reuters.

Swaminathan, answering questions on social media platforms, also said testing vaccines for safety and efficacy - usually a years-long process - could be accelerated to just six months in the midst of the pandemic, if data satisfied regulators that they have enough information to issue approvals. Still, she said, safety would be paramount. 'Whilst speed is important, it cannot be at the cost of compromising on the safety or the efficacy standards,' she said. 'It's not the case that the first vaccine is going to be rushed through into injecting millions of people without having established the fact whether it's really protecting you and whether it's safe enough for use in large populations.'

There are more than 200 Covid-19 vaccines in development, with two dozen in human trials and a handful now entering late-stage studies in thousands of patients. Swaminathan cited Moderna's experimental mRNA vaccine, another which is a collaboration between Oxford University and AstraZeneca , China's Cansino Biologics candidate, and vaccine development project in Russia.

Inside a South African field hospital coping with Covid-19

CNN's David McKenzie reports from a recreational center in South Africa converted into a field hospital as the country grapples with the worst coronavirus outbreak in Africa.

Kenya's forest communities face eviction from ancestral lands - even during pandemic

Forest-dwelling communities in Kenya are being forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands, as temperatures plummet and coronavirus cases soar, land rights campaigners said on Thursday.

The Community Land Action Now (CLAN), a network of more than 130 indigenous community groups, said the evictions by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) had left hundreds of families in the Rift Valley region homeless and struggling to survive.

About 300 families from the Ogiek community who inhabit the Mau Forest, and 28 families from the Sengwer people in Embobut Forest had seen their homes demolished or burnt down, and their farms destroyed by forest guards, they said.

Kenya hospital gears up for Covid-19 infections surge

But as national figures surge, Machakos is preparing for more infections. Positive cases in Kenya have nearly doubled in the last two weeks to 15,601, mirroring a continental surge. Africa topped 750,000 cases on Wednesday.

“When you see such numbers coming up that fast, you get worried,” said David Mutunga, an official in the Machakos county's department of health emergency services.

“Before those numbers go out of hand, we are racing against time to ensure we have adequate capacity.”

Kenya Covid-19 hospital gears up for surge in new infections

At the Machakos Covid-19 field hospital about an hour's drive from the Kenyan capital, workers struggle to put a giant metal tent frame in place to serve as a new ward. Machakos county, which has 92 active cases of the virus, has already met the required minimum of 300 beds per county for Covid-19 patients, set by the national government.

But as national figures surge, Machakos is preparing for more infections. Positive cases in Kenya have nearly doubled in the last two weeks to 15,601, mirroring a continental surge. Africa topped 750,000 cases on Wednesday. 'When you see such numbers coming up that fast, you get worried,' said David Mutunga, an official in the Machakos county's department of health emergency services. 'Before those numbers go out of hand, we are racing against time to ensure we have adequate capacity.'

The Machakos field hospital, set in a sports stadium whose stands serve as waiting bays for incoming patients before they are screened, features two large white tents on carpeted concrete slabs. The two operational tents are together equipped with 200 beds. 

A look at the situation in Morocco

Bloomberg delve into the lockdowns and restrictions in northern Africa and the effects that they are having on the people and politics.

Around 70% of the residents of "Little Africa" in Guangzhou have left

In a district called "Little Africa" here in the capital of Guangdong Province, north of Hong Kong, more than 10,000 Africans reside in what is China's largest African community. Or at least they used to.

These days the enclave appears mostly deserted. About 70% of its residents left months ago to escape what was then an epidemic that one country seemed to be battling on its own.

China ended up successfully dealing with the novel coronavirus, which is now rampaging across many other parts of the globe. But Guangzhou's African residents have been unable to return.

Tokyo 2020 must be simple and safe, says IOC's Coates

Senior Olympic official John Coates has reiterated that Tokyo must stage a simplified Summer Games next year with the health and safety of athletes the most important consideration in the planning.

Australian Coates heads up the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Games, which have been postponed until 2021 because of the global Covid-19 pandemic. 'The good news is that all 42 Games' venues ... have been resecured. The competition schedule is the same,' the IOC Vice President wrote in Sydney's Daily Telegraph on Friday, a day after the one-year countdown to the opening ceremony.

'But we must reduce the cost impact of postponement as well as simplify the Games to ensure they can be organised efficiently, safely and sustainably, in this new context. 'With one year to go, there is no clear picture of what shape the simplified Games will take. The situation with COVID-19, both domestically and internationally, is constantly changing.' 

South Africa' death rates questioned

The death toll in the worst-hit African country has recently increased by 60%, with the country reporting more than 10,000 new cases every day.

Covid-19 catch-up

Here is a selection of some of the coronavirus-related stories that have been making the headlines over the last 24 hours:

- Lagos State say that the government spends up to N1m daily on each Covid-19 patient in critical condition

- People are relaxing but the virus is still out there , say the WHO

- Lagos Covid-19 cases may be 10 times higher

- South African public schools to close as cases rise over 400,000

- Covid-induced khat shortage adds to health problems in Somalia

- South Africa expands virus loan scheme, may stop lenders blacklisting borrowers

Coronavirus live Africa updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live, Africa-focused coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which has registered just over 15.5 million cases and more than 632,000 deaths worldwide, according to figures by Johns Hopkins University.

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