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

April 15, 2021 - 6:34pm

India's daily coronavirus caseload doubles in 10 days, with a record 200,000 new infections logged Thursday as authorities grapple with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds.

Having let its guard down with mass religious festivals, political rallies and crowds at cricket matches, India is experiencing a vicious second wave, recording almost two million fresh infections this month alone.

This week, it overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of cases worldwide, after the United States. — AFP

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The English variant of the novel coronavirus does not increase the severity of COVIDompared to other strains, according to research published Tuesday that also confirmed its increased transmissibility. 

The variant, known as B117, is now the dominant viral strain across much of Europe, and previous studies had shown it was linked to a higher likelihood of death than normal variants. — AFP

April 7, 2021 - 6:09pm

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat becomes the latest to tighten coronavirus curbs as India's infections surge to a record of almost 116,000 new cases in 24 hours.

Experts blame the country's fresh wave on people ignoring guidelines and attending huge religious and political events, as well as weddings and cricket matches in recent months.

India has now recorded 12.8 million cases, the third-highest behind the United States and Brazil, although those nations have much smaller populations. More than 166,000 Indians have died. — AFP

April 7, 2021 - 9:24am

Brazil registers more than 4,000 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours for the first time Tuesday, the health ministry says, as the country reeled from a surge of infections that has made it the current epicenter of the pandemic.

The coronavirus claimed 4,195 lives in the deadliest day of the pandemic yet for the hard-hit country, whose total reported death toll is now nearly 337,000, second only to the United States.

Brazil's health system is buckling under the strain of the latest virus wave, which has forced doctors into agonizing decisions over which patients to give life-saving care and led cemeteries to hold nighttime burials to deal with the crush of coffins. —  AFP

April 4, 2021 - 9:17am

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, who has been vaccinated against Covid-19, announced late Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

"At the end of today, after presenting a fever of 37.3 (99 Fahrenheit) and a slight headache, I performed an antigen test, which was positive," he tweeted.

A PCR test later confirmed the diagnosis.

The president, who turned 62 on Friday, was in isolation as a precaution but said he was "physically well."

"Although I would have liked to end my birthday without this news, I am also in good spirits," he said. — AFP

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