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Coronavirus Africa: Live Updates

With over 1,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus and severe prevention and containment measures being enacted by governments across the continent, the COVID-19 pandemic is now a part of African life.

Here are a few of the major coronavirus stories happening across Africa this week.

North Africa

Tunisia’s has announced 59 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the country's total number to 173. The latest cases were identified during 229 new tests, health Abdellatif Mekki said on Wednesday.

A 3% interest rate cut by the Central Bank of Egypt and a financial lifeline worth 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.27 billion) have lifted Egypt’s equities over the past week. However, the positive effects may be short-lived if the COVID-19 crisis persists.

Corona-free: South Sudan

East Africa

President Uhuru Kenyatta has also ordered a curfew, pay cuts and tax reliefs in a range of measures to combat coronavirus. In a televised address, President Kenyatta described the full recovery of the patient as encouraging news. However, Kenya’s confirmed cases also rose by three to 28 on the same day.

More than 4,000 prisoners will be released in Ethiopia as the government continues to take measures to control the spread of coronavirus. The country’s attorney general said on Wednesday that prisoners convicted of minor offences and women with babies were among those who would be freed.

Corona-free: Burundi, Comoros

Central Africa

The third person to die of Covid-19 complications in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a respected human rights lawyer and an aide of President Félix Tshisekedi. Jean-Joseph Mukendi wa Mulumba was the acting head of President Tshisekedi’s legal advisory council.

Beyond the testing capacity, a quarantine site has been identified and established, and a task force of healthcare workers trained. The site, once completed, will have the capacity to receive between 250 and 300 patients, according to Jose Nyamusore, the Division Manager of Epidemic Surveillance and Response at Rwanda Biomedical Center.

Corona-free: None

Southern Africa

South Africa has announced a 21-day lockdown starting at midnight on March 26, 2020.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is necessary to "avoid a human catastrophe" and has instructed the army to enforce the restrictions. More than 400 people in South Africa have been infected with the coronavirus.

At a time when other countries are beefing up their fight against the coronavirus, Zimbabwe’s doctors, nurses and customs officials have downed tools over the government's failure to provide protective equipment to guard them against the virus. The virus has killed one person out of the three cases confirmed by Zimbabwe's health ministry.

Corona-free: Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana

West Africa

Authorities in Sierra Leone on Tuesday declared a 12-month state of emergency to help deal with the spread of the coronavirus. The West African country, which was ravaged during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, has yet to record a confirmed case of Covid-19, but President Julius Maada Bio said Sierra Leone needed to take "effective measures". 

West African countries are using community health systems set up after the Ebola outbreak to detect and prevent the spread of coronavirus in remote areas, health experts said on Wednesday. After Ebola swept through the region from 2014 to 2016, countries like Senegal trained community workers to proactively check for symptoms and share health information in places where people lack access to the internet or government services.

Corona-free: Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe

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