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Coronavirus now in Tanzania, Somalia as East Africa starts closures
A worker checks the temperature of travellers at the border post with Kenya in Namanga, northern Tanzania, on March 16, 2020, on the day Tanzania confirmed the first case of the covid-19. Tanzania and Somalia on March 16 became the latest East African countries to confirm their first cases of coronavirus, as neighbouring countries shuttered borders and schools as fears of contagion rose. A 46-year-old Tanzanian woman tested positive for the illness after returning from Belgium on March 15, where she had been staying with a relative sick with coronavirus.
AFP/Filbert Rweyemaru

Coronavirus now in Tanzania, Somalia as East Africa starts closures

(Agence France-Presse) - March 17, 2020 - 9:45am

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Tanzania and Somalia on Monday became the latest East Africa countries to confirm their first cases of coronavirus, as neighbouring countries shuttered borders and schools as fears of contagion rose.

As the global pandemic takes root in Africa, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma announced he was donating 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits to each of the continent's 54 countries.

"We take precautions and get prepared ahead of time, as Africa can benefit from the experience and lessons of other countries that were earlier hit hard by the virus," he said in a statement on Twitter.

In a little over a week, 21 new African countries have reported cases, bringing the total affected to 30.

In West Africa, Liberia and Benin also recorded their first cases Monday.

A 46-year-old Tanzanian woman tested positive for the illness after returning from Belgium on March 15, where she had been staying with a relative sick with coronavirus.

Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the woman, who was recovering in hospital in Arusha, was not detected by temperature scanners but reported herself for testing.

"All in all, this is an imported case, and the woman is improving and continues with treatment," she said.

Somalia, meanwhile, also confirmed its first case of coronavirus and announced a ban on international flights in and out of the country, starting from Wednesday.

The government had quarantined four Somalis as a precaution after they arrived from country's with coronavirus outbreaks, and one had subsequently tested positive.

"None of the quarantined individuals had shown symptoms so far, and look healthy, but the virus is present in the body of this individual," health minister Fowzia Abikar Nur said in a televised address.

The travel ban will extend to cargo flights but exclude humanitarian ones, transport minister Mohamed Abdulahi Omar said.

Regional clampdown

The announcements from Tanzania and Somalia came as Rwanda confirmed two more cases of the virus, bringing its total to 7.

Rwanda has shut schools and churches for two weeks and banned concerts and large gatherings. Its national airline RwandAir has cancelled flights to India, Israel and China, however insists tourists are still welcome.

In an additional measure taken Monday, the government announced it had fixed food prices to avoid hikes.

Ethiopia introduced its own raft of fresh restrictions Monday, closing schools and suspending large gatherings like sporting events. The country, the most populous in the region with 100 million people, has five confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Mauritius, meanwhile, a smattering of islands in the Indian Ocean dependent on tourism, announced it would deny entry to anyone who had visited the EU, Switzerland or UK in the past 14 days.

Previously, the restriction only applied to those who had visited China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong.

It has not recorded any positive cases so far.

"Our country is a tourist destination. Thousands of foreigners come to and transit through Mauritius. We are very exposed," said Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.

There are now 19 confirmed cases across six countries in East Africa.

Kenya, which has three cases, on Sunday announced strict measures including blocking entry to foreigners who do not have a valid resident permit and are coming from a country with a confirmed case.

EAST AFRICA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS SOMALIA TANZANIA
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 10, 2021 - 3:26pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

May 10, 2021 - 3:26pm

Britain on Monday was set to announce a further easing of its coronavirus lockdown, joining several European nations in gradually reopening their economies, but India remained in the grip of a devastating outbreak.

Rapid vaccination programs have allowed a number of wealthy nations to start taking steps towards normality, but the virus is still surging in many countries and concerns are growing about global vaccine inequality.

The pandemic has claimed close to 3.3 million lives worldwide and Britain has the highest death toll in Europe, but its successful vaccination programme has allowed the authorities to start relaxing curbs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to announce the latest measures —  effective May 17 — in a press conference on Monday, including the reopening of indoor seating in pubs and restaurants. — AFP

May 9, 2021 - 9:17am

New Covid-19 deaths surged past 4,000 for the first time in India on Saturday in one of the world's worst outbreaks, as EU pressure mounted on Washington to end vaccine export limits and offer a concrete plan to lift patents.

"I call very clearly on the United States to put an end to export bans not only on vaccines but on vaccine ingredients, which prevent production," Macron told reporters at an EU summit in Porto. He was referring to a de facto US ban on the export of vaccine raw materials.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU had exported much of its own production and the United States should follow suit. — AFP

May 8, 2021 - 1:00pm

The government says India recorded more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time.

The 4,187 new deaths took India's overall toll to 238,270 since the pandemic started. It added another 401,078 new cases in 24 hours taking its caseload to nearly 21.9 million.

Experts, who have expressed doubts about the official death toll, say India may not hit a peak in its current surge until the end of May. — AFP

May 7, 2021 - 5:17pm

Germany seems to have halted a surge of coronavirus infections driven by the British variant, Health Minister Jens Spahn says, cautioning however against lifting restrictions precipitously.

"The third wave appears to have broken," Spahn tells a press conference in Berlin.

"The infection figures are dropping again, but we are still at a high level. They are not yet falling everywhere at the same rate, but they are falling," he says. — AFP

May 6, 2021 - 12:42pm

Official data show India saw almost 4,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 412,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, both new records.

Health ministry numbers show 3,980 deaths, taking the total to 230,168, and 412,262 new cases, bringing India's caseload since the pandemic began to 21.1 million. — AFP

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