Only Six African Nations Yet To Record Any Case Of COVID-19

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP.

 

 

Six of Africa’s 54 nations are among the last in the world yet to report cases of the new coronavirus.

The global pandemic has been confirmed in almost every country, but for a handful of far-flung tiny island states, war-torn Yemen and isolated North Korea.

In Africa, authorities claim they are spared by god, or simply saved by low air traffic to their countries, however, some fear it is lack of testing that is hiding the true impact.

– South Sudan –

The East African nation is barely emerging from six years of civil war and with high levels of hunger, illness and little infrastructure, observers fear the virus could wreak havoc.

Doctor Angok Gordon Kuol, one of those charged with overseeing the fight against the virus, said the country had only carried out 12 tests, none of which were positive.

He said the reason the virus has yet to reach South Sudan could be explained by the low volume of air traffic and travel to the country.

“Very few airlines come to South Sudan and most of the countries affected today they are affected by… people coming from abroad.”

He said the main concern was foreigners working for the large NGO and humanitarian community, or people crossing land borders from neighbouring countries.

READ ALSO: Global Lockdown Tightens As Coronavirus Deaths Mount

South Sudan has shut schools, banned gatherings such as weddings, funerals and sporting events and blocked flights from worst-affected countries. Non-essential businesses have been shuttered and movement restricted.

The country can currently test around 500 people and has one isolation centre with 24 beds.

– Burundi –

In Burundi, which is gearing up for general elections in May, authorities thank divine intervention for the lack of cases.

“The government thanks all-powerful God who has protected Burundi,” government spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye said on national television last week.

At the same time, he criticised those “spreading rumours” that Burundi is not capable of testing for the virus, or that it is spreading unnoticed.

Some measures have been taken, such as the suspension of international flights and placing handwashing stations at the entrances to banks and restaurants in Bujumbura.

However, several doctors have expressed their concerns.

“There are zero cases in Burundi because there have been zero tests,” a Burundian doctor said on condition of anonymity.

– Sao Tome and Principe –

Sao Tome and Principe — a tiny nation of small islands covered in the lush rainforest — has reported zero cases because it is unable to test, according to World Health Organisation representative Anne Ancia.

However “we are continuing preparations,” with around 100 people in quarantine after returning from highly-affected countries, and the WHO keeping an eye on cases of pneumonia.

With only four ICU beds for a population of 200,000 people, the country is desperate to not let the virus take hold and has already shut its borders despite the importance of tourism to the local economy.

– Malawi –

Malawi’s health ministry spokesman Joshua Malango brushed aside fears that Malawi might not have registered any COVID-19 cases due to a lack of testing kits:

“We have the testing kits in Malawi and we are testing.”

Dr Bridget Malewezi from the Society of Medical Doctors told AFP that while “we may not be 100 percent ready”, government was gearing up for the arrival of the virus.

She suggested it may only be a matter of time before the pandemic hits Malawi.

“It’s only been in the past few weeks that it has been rampantly spreading across Africa so most people feel it will get here at some point…,” she said.

Malawi has asked people coming from hard-hit countries to self-quarantine, which Malawezi said had helped “safeguard the country from any possible spread of the virus”.

– Lesotho –

Tiny Lesotho, a kingdom encircled by South Africa with only two million inhabitants, went into national lockdown on Monday despite registering zero cases.

Until last week the country had no tests or testing centres and received its first kits thanks to a donation by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

Authorities had reported eight suspected cases that they had not been able to test and the first results are expected soon.

– Comoros –

The Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros, situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, has yet to detect a single case of the virus, according to the health ministry.

One doctor in the capital Moroni, Dr Abdou Ada, wonders if it may not be because of the wide use of the drug Artemisinin to treat malaria.

“I believe that the mass anti-malarial treatment explains the fact that Comoros is, at least for now, spared from COVID-19. it is a personal belief that needs to be confirmed scientifically.”

AFP

Nigeria, Sao Tome And Principe To Review Joint Development Authority

Patrice-Emery-Trovoada-and-Muhammadu-BuhariThe Nigerian President has said that his country and Sao Tome and Principe must sit down soon to review the activities of their Joint Development Authority with a view to making it more efficient and productive.

President Muhammadu Buhari stressed the need for the review on Wednesday in Abuja at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Patrice Emery Trovoada.

He said that the two countries also needed to intensify their collaborative efforts with other countries to curtail piracy and insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

Incalculable Economic Damage

The President stressed that with their shared strategic interest in the security of the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe must work harder with other stakeholders to keep it safe.

In a statement by the spokesman to the Nigerian President, Garba Shehu, Buhari noted that “pirates, who take advantage of the present low level of security in the gulf, were causing incalculable damage to the economies of countries in the region”.

He therefore assured the visiting Prime Minister that Nigeria would do all within its powers to enhance security in the Gulf.

The Prime Minister told President Buhari that his country would welcome a meeting next year to review the management of the Joint Development Authority.

Weekend Continental Battles For Four NPFL Clubs

Kano Pillars, Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Heartland FC will aiming to do Nigeria their fatherland proud this weekend and they march unto continental terrains to do battle on the field of play with fellow African clubs and hopefully sing victory songs at the end of 90 minutes.

Looking to book a place in the next round of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, Kano Pillars whose preparation to host and clamp down Ac Leopards on Saturday is in top gea as a call back has been extended to their main players who were in the Super Eagles camp ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers and they have reported back to the club side to aid the rest of the team against the AC Leopards.

The case is different for Ranger international, The Coach Emordi-led side will be leaving the shores of Nigeria for Burrundi where they will be locking horns with Vital’O for the first leg of the first round in the CAF Champions League on Sunday and the coach is full of so much believe and assurance that Rangers will come home with a wonderful score line in their favour even though Emordi will be making the Burundi trip without some of his key players presently in the Super Eagles camp.

Also Heartland FC will be hosting US Bitam from Gabon in Owerri at Dan Anyiam Stadium on Sunday and particular reference had to be placed on this team US Bitam of Gabon, because it was the Gabon club that actually walloped Sao Tome and Principe club Desportivo de Guadalupe in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup by 17 goals. Heartland FC will definitely be on their guards as they would not want to be carting home so many goals after the Sunday clash.

Lobi Stars will also be taking on Liga Muculmana de Maputo and it has reached out to the players who were in the Super Eagles camp to come join up with their teammates so they can cheer each other to victory come Sunday in Bauchi.

US – Nigeria Bi-national Commission meeting begins in Port Harcourt

A two day meeting of the US – Nigeria Bi-national Commission on the Niger Delta and National Development Working Group today began in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

Expressing sympathy to the people of the Niger Delta region on the flood that have displaced a lot of persons, the leader of the US delegation, Cynthia Akuetteh said the essence of the meeting is to discuss the challenges facing the Niger Delta region and to finding lasting solutions to their problems.

She pointed the areas of discussion to include the acceleration of development through public – private partnership, enhance environmental protection and strengthen maritime security in the region

In her opening remark in a paper titled “Laying A Foundation For Lasting Peace In the Delta” Akuetteh disclosed that, the region faces three complex overarching and overlapping challenges, which if not addressed could lead to renewed insecurity in the region.  Those challenges, she said, are low levels of development, environmental devastation, and maritime criminality.

According to her, onshore and maritime oil theft persists, and environmental degradation caused by oil spills threatens the livelihoods of local communities.

she also disclosed that Nigeria has received almost $42 million in the first two years of Feed the Future which is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative), a portion of which has been used to improve food security and livelihoods in the Niger Delta.

She said since 2006, the United States has provided over $35 million worth of equipment, to include automatic identification system, radars, defender class boats, and very high frequency (vhf) radios to Nigeria as well as to regional partners Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo.

This also includes associated training to those same countries.

Permanet Secretary, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador (Dr) Martin Uhomoihi, in his remarks ,while noting the strategic importance of the region to the nation’s economy and development, expressed hope that “the decision of our country with the US to have a working group solely devoted to the issues of Niger Delta and national development”.

He stated that the federal government has established the Ministry of Niger Delta, established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and currently allocates 13 per cent as derivation revenue to oil producing communities, and has commenced Amnesty Programme for militant youths in the region

The host and governor of Rivers state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, while thanking the organisers for choosing the state to host the conference, welcomed the delegates from both countries, and assured that the state was poised to ensure the meeting achieves its aim.

The commission was inaugurated on the 6th of April 2010 by the US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton and then Nigeria Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed with the aim to strategic dialogue, designated to expand mutual cooperation across the broad range of shared interest.