Coronavirus Africa: news summary for Friday 28 August

Coronavirus live updates: Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana... cases, deaths and news

Coronavirus live Africa: latest Covid-19 news - 28 August

Africa

Africa Covid-19 update: 00:00 WAT on Saturday 29 August (01:00 CEST)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 24,573,933
Deaths: 833,943
Recoveries: 16,056,815

South Africa

Cases: 620,132
Deaths: 13,743

Egypt 

Cases: 98,062
Deaths: 5,342

Nigeria

Cases: 53,317
Deaths: 1,011

Cairo concerned about second Covid-19 wave

Two days after an official warning from the Egyptian prime minister of a second wave, cases of coronavirus have risen significantly in number in Egypt.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health said late on Thursday that it had recorded 237 new cases of coronavirus, and 25 deaths, compared to 206 cases and 19 deaths the previous day.

Kenyan study reviewed

In this coastal Kenya setting, HCoV-NL63 exhibited low prevalence in hospital pediatric pneumonia admissions.

Clade persistence with low genetic diversity suggest limited immune selection, and absence of detectable clade switching in reinfections indicates initial exposure was insufficient to elicit a protective immune response.

Zuma accused of graft, hits out at successor

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma, facing trial for graft, lashed out at his successor Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, accusing him of betraying the ruling African National Congress (ANC) with his stance against corruption.

In an unprecedented attack, Zuma, whose decade in power was marked by multiple corruption scandals that are still being investigated, accused Ramaphosa of bringing the party into disrepute - a sign of growing divisions within the ANC ahead of its national executive committee conference this weekend. Zuma himself faces multiple investigations for corruption, including a trial relating to a $2 billion arms deal before he took office in 2009, but he retains considerable support from a powerful faction within the ANC. He denies all charges.

Ramaphosa has ordered investigations into reports of corruption in the government's Covid-19 response, including the diversion of funds meant for protective equipment for Covid-19 medics, as well as food handouts. Many scandals have involved junior ANC members conspiring with family-owned businesses to defraud Covid-19 funds. This week Ramaphosa wrote a letter to ANC members saying its 'leaders stand accused of corruption' and that the ANC 'does stand as accused number one.'

Zuma, who has so far desisted from making explicit public attacks on his successor, said in response: 'You are the first president of the ANC to stand in public and accuse the ANC of criminality .... This is a devastating statement ... I view your letter as a diversion by which you accuse the entire ANC in order to save your own skin.'

Divisions within the ANC could make it harder for Ramaphosa - whose presidency has been dogged by opposition from factions in the party since he took office 2-1/2 years ago - to push through economic reforms needed to revive South Africa's struggling economy. Since taking power after winning its struggle against white minority rule in 1994, the ANC has been a broad coalition of groups whose disagreements often make it impossible to push through policies.

WHO knows about 'herd immunity'?!

The WHO's Chief Scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan explains herd immunity. Read the interview at the link below or just watch the video.

Wicker

A child sits on a cane woven chair on display at Nigeria's largest cane 'village' under the bridge at Mende in the Maryland District of Lagos. Cane craft in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country is thriving amidst an economic downturn, a fallout of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected small scale businesses and people's earnings.

At the village, dozens of people including family members, the unemployed and students waiting for reopening of schools and needing to make ends meet are engaged in weaving different household items; tables, baskets, baby cots, wine carriers, flower vases, flower pots with cane wood sourced largely from the restive and swampy Niger delta region. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The World Bank is supporting the Africa CDC's long-term vision for continental, regional and national pandemic preparedness with approval of a new project in December 2019, just before the global Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Read more: 

Africa Covid-19 cases latest

There have been over 1.2 million cnofirmed cases now in Africa but recovery rates remain high with more than 945,000 people getting over the virus. The death toll stands at almost 30,000 with just over 238,000 active cases. 

Gambia president extends state of emergency as Covid-19 cases surge

(Reuters) Gambia's President Adama Barrow has extended by 21 days a state of emergency in mainland Africa's smallest nation as coronavirus cases surged, a government statement said on Thursday.

Gambia, with a population of just over 2 million, has reported 2,743 cases since the outbreak in March, and 93 deaths. The daily reported cases were relatively low until mid-July.

Cases have increased exponentially in the country, which is mostly surrounded by Senegal, in the last couple of weeks, prompting the government to reimpose restrictive measures.

Neighbouring Senegal has reported 13,294 cases with 277 deaths.

Public gatherings in Gambia have been banned, dusk-to-dawn curfew declared, and schools remain closed. Places of worship may remain open with restrictive safety measures in place, the statement said.

South Africa’s Covid relief fund dogged by delays and corruption

The South African government is investigating reports of large-scale “looting” of its $26 billion coronavirus rescue package, launched to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic on struggling households.

Amid rising public anger, the ruling ANC party has called a meeting of its National Executive Committee to begin on Friday to probe corruption within its ranks – from the theft of food parcels meant for the poor through to tenders for personal protective equipment. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa took the unprecedented step this week of publishing the names of all companies that had won coronavirus-related contracts – a response to a tide of reports of tenders being farmed out to the families and friends of the well connected.

Nigeria might fall into recession as virus takes toll

(Reuters) Nigeria might fall into recession in the third quarter, the head of the country's budget office said on Thursday, citing the impact of low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic on Africa's largest economy.

The continent's top oil producer faces its worst economic crisis in four decades in the wake of an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the start of the year, and the pandemic, which hurt demand for its main export commodity which provides 90% of foreign exchange earnings.

Ben Akabueze, director general of the budget office, told reporters it was expected that growth in the third quarter would be negative and the country might fall into recession.

It would be the second quarter of negative growth after the economy contracted by 6% in the second quarter of the year. Nigeria's economy was last in recession in 2016, its first in 25 years, since when growth has been sluggish. The International Monetary Fund has said it sees Nigeria’s GDP falling 5.4% this year, and the government has said the economy may shrink by as much as 8.9%.

Good morning

Hello and welcome to AS' live coverage of the coronavirus in Africa. We'll be bringing you breaking news, reaction and the latest figures from the continent throughout the day, as well as the biggest coronavirus news from across the globe.

.