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Coronavirus: South Africa Suspends ‘Lockdown Lunch’ Minister, Somalia Testing Boost

The coronavirus pandemic has been confirmed in over 180 countries globally since it was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic due to its spread. All except three African countries have recorded cases as governments roll out measures to combat the spread.

In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent. Major stats as at April 6:

  • Confirmed cases = 10,145
  • Number of deaths = 491
  • Recoveries = 1,007
  • Infected countries = 52
  • Virus-free countries = 2 (Lesotho, Comoros)

A South African minister has been suspended by the president for breaking lockdown rules after she attended lunch at a former minister’s residence.

A statement from the president read: “President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months – one month of which will be unpaid.

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“As to allegations that the Minister violated the lockdown regulations, the law should take its course. This follows the revelation on social media that the Minister had recently visited the home of a friend who hosted a lunch, contrary to the lockdown regulations.

“The President summoned the Minister yesterday, Tuesday 07 April 2020. The President expressed his disapproval of the Minister’s actions, which undermine the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus.”

In Somalia, the health ministry yesterday (April 7) that the country is now able to test for coronavirus in the capital, Mogadishu. Previously samples were taken to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for testing.

The ministry’s National Public Health Research Laboratory (NPHRL) has now been equipped to carry out the tests. Somalia has eight cases, one of the lowest in the Horn of Africa region. Government also announced that the academic calender has been suspended for the year due to the virus.

In next door Ethiopia, PM Abiy declared a state of emergency after a cabinet meeting today. The declaration is to be tabled before lawmakers for ratification.

Already, the northern Tigray Region had declared a state of emergency at a time they had recorded no cases. The region is also the first to get testing capacity outside of the national facilities in Addis Ababa.

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Written by How Africa

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