- All Across Africa newsflash archives -
>> African Union buys 270 million vaccine doses for continent
“The African Union announced Wednesday that it has purchased a total of 270 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for the continent from Pfizer, AstraZeneca through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson,” Associated Press wrote. “At least 50 million of the doses will be available in the months of April to June and the rest of will be delivered before the end of 2021, said the African Union chairman, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.”
>> COVID Vaccines Open Door for Cancer Treatments, Others
VOANEWS reports that “the new tools scientists are deploying to fight the COVID-19 pandemic may soon go to work against cancer, autoimmune diseases and other illnesses.” “The vaccines from drug companies Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech use a new way to train the body's immune system to respond to infection.” “They are testing the same techniques to recruit the immune system to attack tumors. And when immune system attacks go wrong, as in multiple sclerosis or other autoimmune diseases, the same tools may be able to call them off.”
>> As COVID-19 rages, S.Africa delays new school year until mid-Feb
“South Africa on Friday delayed the start to its new school year by two weeks to Feb. 15, in order to prevent schools becoming transmission centres for COVID-19, as new cases have hovered around 20,000 a day for the past week,” Reuters said. “School was out for about a third of last year, when South Africa was in the grip of its first wave of coronavirus infections. The closures widened an already stark educational divide between elite schools that easily shifted classes online and the rest with little or no capacity for digital learning.”
>> Seychelles begins COVID immunisation campaign
“The Seychelles on Sunday began its vaccination campaign against the new coronavirus,” Africanews wrote. “Health Minister Peggy Vidot made the announcement which makes Seychelles one of the first African countries to launch such an operation.” “The vaccine used will be the Chinese vaccine developed by the public laboratory Sinopharm with its subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG).” “Seychelles received 50,000 doses, donated by the United Arab Emirates.”
>> South Africa is going to get a third wave of coronavirus, even a fourth
“According to The Guardian, “South Africa is struggling to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections, fuelled by a virulent new local variant of the virus, Covid fatigue and a series of super-spreader events.” ”On Thursday health officials announced 844 deaths and 21,832 new cases in a 24-hour period, the worst toll yet. Experts believe the second wave has yet to reach its peak in the country of 60 million, and fear healthcare services in the country’s main economic and cultural hub may struggle to cope with the influx of patients.”
>> Botswana government adjusts national lockdown regulations
“The Botswana government has adjusted its national lockdown regulations and extended both the times and the duration of the curfew. The announcement was made on Botswana television by the country’s Minister of Health,” SABCNEWS said. “President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, has approved the extension of the travel restrictions, imposed under the emergency powers regulation from the fourth of January, to the 31st of January 2021.” “Meanwhile, the government has notified the public that the new strain of the COVID-19 virus, known as 501V2 variant, has been detected in Botswana.”
>> Increased testing needed as Africa sees rise in virus cases
According to ASSOCIATED PRESS, “the distribution of the tests, however, is very uneven. Just 10 countries — South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Cameroon — are carrying out more than 70% of the continent’s testing. To make the testing more widespread, 2.7 million additional tests have been procured by member states, the Africa CDC said some weeks ago.” “Increased testing is needed to help Africa locate where cases are rising and where additional medical responses are needed. And, when they become available to Africa, where vaccines should go.”
>> Covid-19: Egypt approves Sinopharm vaccine for general use
“Egypt has approved the use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm, the health minister said.” “The first batch of the vaccine was delivered in December, with further doses expected this month,” Africanews said. “Each batch of the vaccine consists of 50,000 doses, and the first group to receive it will be medical workers. Egypt plans to purchase 40 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.”
>> Guinea tests Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik
“Guinea is testing the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik despite the scepticism of a large part of the general population. The first person to take the vaccine was the minister for defence Mohamed Diane,” RFI wrote. “Dr Sakoba Keita, head of the national agency for health security in Guinea has assured Guineans that the vaccine is safe and all possible measures to ensure that it is administered correctly have been put in place.” “Guinea did not just put the vaccines into use on a whim but waited until the World Health Organization approved it, he said. ”
>> Africa CDC: New virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria
"Another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s top public health official said Thursday, but he added that further investigation was needed," ASSOCIATED PRESS wrote. " The discovery could add to new alarm in the pandemic after similar variants were announced in Britain and South Africa, leading to the swift return of international travel restrictions and other measures during a major holiday season.
>> WHO discusses new coronavirus strains circulating in U.K., South Africa
" WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the new strain of the virus spreading in the U.K is reported to be more infectious, but there's no evidence it is more deadly," according to CBSNEWS. " He said that containing transmission of the coronavirus is key — the more opportunity the virus has to spread, the more opportunity it has to mutate."
>> Morocco acquires 65 million vaccine doses from China, UK
" Morocco announced it has acquired 65 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China’s Sinopharm and Britain’s AstraZeneca, as the north African kingdom prepares to launch a COVID-19 vaccination program that aims to immunize 80% of the country’s adult population," ASSOCIATED PRESS said. " The government didn’t indicate whether the vaccines were purchased or provided by Covax, the global project to provide vaccines to developing countries, or a combination of both."
>> New strain of COVID-19 is driving South Africa's resurgence
“"South Africa has announced that a new variant of the COVID-19 virus is driving a resurgence of the disease, with higher numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths," according to ABCNEWS. "The new variant, known as 501.V2, is dominant among new confirmed infections in South Africa, according to health officials and scientists leading the country’s virus strategy." "The new strain, different from the one in Britain, appears to be more infectious than the original virus. South African scientists are studying if the vaccines against COVID-19 will also offer protection against the new strain."
>> Mali Goes into Lockdown to Fight the Covid-19 Pandemic
"In light of the daily average of 150 new covid-19 infections overwhelming hospitals this month in Mali, the government has put a coronavirus prevention measure into effect," Africanews wrote. " Harouna Mamadou Toureh, the Minister of Public Service and a government spokesperson addressed the media at a press conference on Friday." "The state of emergency is adopted this Friday, December 18, 2020, and for a duration of 10 days. A decree regarding the state of health emergency covers a period of six months from December 18," he informed.
>> Africa steps up fight against HIV with trial of new combination vaccines
According to The Guardian, "the first trial in Africa to test two new vaccines to protect against HIV got under way in Uganda this week, raising hopes of an end to the epidemic that affects millions of people across the continent." "The African-led PrEPVacc study will test two experimental combination vaccines to see if they can provide any protection against HIV in people most at risk of infection." "More than 1,600 people between the ages of 18 and 40 are expected to participate in clinical trials over the next three years in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. »
>> Poor countries seen missing out as rich nations hoard COVID-19 vaccines
“Nine out of 10 people in dozens of poor nations could miss out on getting vaccinated against COVID-19 next year because rich countries have hoarded far more doses than they need, campaigners said on Wednesday,” Thomson Reuters Foundation wrote. “Rich nations home to 14% of the global population had bought 53% of the total stock of the most-promising vaccines as of last month, said the People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Global Justice Now. ” “They said pharmaceutical companies working on COVID-19 vaccines should openly share their technology and intellectual property through the World Health Organisation (WHO) so more doses can be manufactured. ”
>> Global action on malaria is stalling. In some countries it could be a greater threat than COVID
“Malaria will probably kill more people than COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa this year, according to the World Health Organization, ” according to the World Economic Forum. “In its World Malaria Report 2020, the WHO says unprecedented success in controlling the disease over the past 20 years has stalled, with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to further disrupt life-saving programmes that deliver insecticide-treated mosquito nets, diagnostics and medicines.” “Malaria is a preventable but life-threatening disease transmitted by the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It killed 409,000 people last year and an estimated two-thirds of deaths are among children under the age of five.”
>> South Africa sees sharp rise in virus, part of African wave
“South Africa is seeing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases and bracing for increased hospitalizations and deaths,” Associated Press wrote. “It is important for us to recognize that this now is a second wave,” said the country’s health minister Zweli Mkhize in a statement. “There is going to be exponential growth. This means we must expect faster-rising numbers with a higher peak, possibly, than the first wave.” South Africa’s new wave is likely to spike so quickly that it could overwhelm hospital capacities in some regions, he warned.
>> African nations ‘far from ready’ for COVID-19 vaccination drive, says UN health agency
“Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa highlighted the importance of strong planning and preparation for successful inoculations against COVID-19,” UN NEWS wrote. “The largest immunization drive in Africa’s history is right around the corner, and African governments must urgently ramp up readiness. Planning and preparation will make or break this unprecedented endeavour,” she said. “We need active leadership and engagement from the highest levels of government with solid, comprehensive national coordination plans and systems put in place,” added Dr. Moeti.
>> Africa faces wait for mass COVID-19 vaccination - disease control group
“Some European countries expect to start rolling out vaccination campaigns as early as January,’’ according to Reuters. “But health campaigners are worried that Africa will find itself near the back of the queue for COVID-19 vaccines after wealthier nations signed a raft of bilateral vaccine supply deals with pharmaceutical companies.” "We are very concerned as a continent that we will not have access to vaccines in a timely fashion," said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, an African Union agency.
>> Sudanese former PM and opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi dies of Covid-19
“The 84-year-old was the country’s last democratically elected prime minister before he was toppled in 1989 by now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir in an Islamist-backed military coup,” FRANCE24 wrote “The leader of the moderate Islamist National Umma Party was transferred to the United Arab Emirates for treatment three weeks ago after being hospitalised in Sudan and testing positive for Covid-19.”
>> Surge in Africa COVID-19 Cases Due to Large Gatherings, WHO Says
According to VOANEWS, “the World Health Organization (WHO) says the continent of Africa surged past two million total COVID-19 cases this week because of large family gatherings, workplace interactions, and gatherings related to elections occurring in several countries.” “The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the 54-nation continent passed the two million cases mark this week, and, as of Thursday, Africa has 2,013,388 total COVID-19 cases and 48,408 deaths. Its infections and deaths make up less than four percent of the global total.”
>> COVID-19 vaccine: WHO Africa hopes for ‘at least 20% of population’ to be vaccinated
“Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s leader of African response to the coronavirus tells Doha Debates that African countries should get ready to distribute the COVID vaccine,” the South African wrote. “We are telling African countries to get ready now. […] We’ve seen wealthy Western countries entering into advanced purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers to reserve doses. So, from the African perspective, we are very concerned”. “Dr Moeti added that the COVID-19 response team is hoping for at least 20% of populations to be covered [with vaccines] in Africa, starting with the most vulnerable”, as soon as possible.”
>> African continent hits 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases
“Africa has surpassed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases as the continent's top public health official warns that we are inevitably edging toward a second wave of infections,” according to ABCNEWS. “The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 54-nation continent has seen more than 48,000 deaths from COVID-19. Its infections and deaths make up less than 4% of the global total.”
>> As the malaria season begins in southern Africa, COVID-19 complicates the picture
According to The Conversation, both ” World Malaria Day and World Mosquito Day are particularly relevant to Africa. The continent shoulders the greatest burden of malaria globally. Ninety-three percent of the 228 million malaria cases and 94% of the 405,000 malaria-related deaths reported worldwide in 2018 were from Africa.“ “Unfortunately the observation of these days falls outside the peak malaria transmission season in most African countries south of the equator. This dampens the impact of these awareness days.“
>> COVID-19 threatens African countries’ IGR, others
“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has threatened African countries’ internally generated revenues (IGR) to fund essential services in the education, health, and infrastructure sectors of the economy,” The Guardian Nigeria said. “According to the 2019 Human Development Report, Africa will not meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN target to eliminate poverty by 2030.“
>> Football matches to resume in Libya’s premier league
“It has now been several months without any football matches in Libya. Though many blame the Covid 19 pandemic for it, games in Libya’s premier league stopped even before the spread of coronavirus, ” Africanews wrote. “But to some good news now, games are about to begin.“ “Libya’s Youth and Sports Authority announced last week the gradual resumption of sports in the country, including the Libyan Premier League.“