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Africa – COVID-19 Surveillance Update: 6 April 2020 5:00 p.m

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Total number positive cases in #Africa 9,457

51 countries

442 deaths

848 recovery cases by Region

African Union Member States (51) reporting COVID-19 cases (9,457), deaths (442), and recoveries (848) by region: 

Central (917 cases; 33 deaths; 30 recoveries):  Burundi (3; 0; 0), Cameroon (650; 9; 17), Central African Republic (9; 0; 3), Chad (9; 0; 1), Congo (45; 5; 2), DRC (161; 18; 5), Equatorial Guinea (16; 0; 1), Gabon (24; 1; 1)

Eastern (841; 18; 38): Djibouti (90; 0; 9), Eritrea (29; 0; 0), Ethiopia (44; 2; 4), Kenya (158; 6; 4), Madagascar (82; 0; 2), Mauritius (227; 7; 7), Rwanda (104; 0; 4), Seychelles (11; 0; 0), Somalia (7; 0; 1), South Sudan (1; 0; 0), Sudan (12; 2; 3), Tanzania (24; 1; 3), Uganda (52; 0; 0)

Northern (4,204; 321; 420): Algeria (1,320; 130; 90), Egypt (1,173; 78; 247), Libya (18; 1; 0), Mauritania (6; 1; 2), Morocco (1,113; 71; 76), Tunisia (574; 18; 5)

Southern (1,757; 16; 55): Angola (8; 2; 0), Botswana (6; 1; 0), Eswatini (9; 0; 1), Malawi (5; 0; 0), Mozambique (10; 0; 1), Namibia (16; 0; 3), South Africa (1,655; 11; 45), Zambia (39; 1; 5), Zimbabwe (9; 1; 0)

Western (1,741; 54; 306): Benin (22; 1; 5), Burkina Faso (345; 17; 90), Cape Verde (6; 1; 0), Côte d'Ivoire (261; 3; 37), Gambia (4; 1; 2), Ghana (214; 5; 3), Guinea (111; 0; 5), Guinea-Bissau (18; 0; 0), Liberia (13; 3; 3), Mali (47; 3; 1), Niger (184; 10; 13), Nigeria (232; 5; 33), Senegal (226; 2; 92), Sierra Leone (6; 0; 0), Togo (52 3; 22)

Olawale Olukoga: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

S. Africa registers record-high daily toll from COVID-19

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South Africa on Monday recorded 52 more deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily increase since the outbreak in early March, raising the national death toll to 481.

The country also reported 1,032 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, brining the total cases to 23,615, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in his daily update.

The total number of recoveries nationwide stood at 11,917 as of Monday, Mkhize said, adding that a total of 596,777 tests have been conducted, with 12,992 tests done in the last past 24-hour testing cycle.

The Western Cape province remains the epicenter of the pandemic with 15,396 cases, followed by Gauteng with 2,993 cases, the Eastern Cape with 2,748 cases and KwaZulu-Natal with 1,882 cases.

Despite the rapid spread of the pandemic, the country is preparing to ease the lockdown from level four to level three, starting from June 1.

Level three will allow 8 million people to return to work with the opening up of the economy and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the decision to further ease the lockdown was based on wide consultations with various stakeholders across the country and guided by advice from the World Health Organization and the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

(XINHUA)

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Nigerian president says peace a prerequisite for Africa’s development

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said peace, along with security, unity, and harmony, is a prerequisite for sustainable development in Africa.

In a message to African leaders to mark the “Africa Day 2020” launched by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Buhari said Africa has given the world new hope by choosing the theme “Silencing the Guns in the Context of the COVID-19” for this year’s celebration.

For African leaders to ensure that every effort is made to guarantee the success of silencing the guns on the continent, the Nigerian president said, there was the need to emphasize sensitizing Africans to the inseparable connection between peace and development.

“Peace, security, unity, and harmony are prerequisites for development in Africa,” Buhari said while calling on African citizens to innovate on how “silencing the guns” can be used to achieve peace and grow African economies.

He also urged regional economic groups, civil society organizations and the private sector in Africa to take full ownership of the theme of this year’s celebration to strengthen collaborative efforts among member countries of the African Union.

The Africa Day is observed annually on May 25, to commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union, which was created on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

(XINHUA)

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More African countries should heed UN call for global ceasefire: Guterres

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More African countries should heed the UN call for a global ceasefire to push back deadly COVID-19, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.

Marking Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963, the UN chief said in his message that the COVID-19 pandemic “threatens to derail progress” which would enable countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development targets set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

The AU has established a task force to develop a continent-wide strategy and appointed special envoys to mobilize international support, said the UN chief. Its Peace and Security Council has also taken steps to counter the negative impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of critical peace agreements and reconciliation efforts.

He noted that the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established a response fund, while African member states have undertaken “robust measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the socio-economic impacts.”

Guterres welcomed the AU’s support for his global ceasefire call, an imperative that also reflects the AU’s 2020 theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”

“Armed groups in Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan have responded to the call and declared unilateral ceasefires. I implore other armed movements and governments in Africa to do likewise. I also welcome the support of African countries for my call for peace in the home, and an end to all forms of violence, including against women and girls,” he added.

Some 20 African countries are scheduled to hold elections this year, some of which are likely to be postponed due to the pandemic, with potential consequences for stability and peace, noted the secretary-general.

“I urge African political actors to engage in inclusive and sustained political dialogue to ease tensions around elections and uphold democratic practices.”

Last week, the UN issued a policy brief outlining the impacts of the pandemic on the continent. “We are calling for debt relief and action to maintain food supplies, protect jobs and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings. African countries, like everyone, everywhere, should also have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment.”

An opportunity now exists, for African governments to “use this moment” to shape new policies that bolster health systems, improve social protection and pursue climate-friendly pathways, he said.

Targeting measures to those employed in the informal sector, the vast majority of whom are women, will be an important step to recovery, said Guterres, as will empowering women to ensure their full participation and leadership.

“The inclusion and leadership of young people will also be crucial every step of the way,” said Guterres.

(XINHUA)

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China to continue to stand firmly with African brothers, sisters, says envoy on Africa Day

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A Chinese envoy said Monday that China will continue to stand firmly with African brothers and sisters.

China will continue to stand firmly with African brothers and sisters. I believe that with the joint efforts of China and Africa, we will eventually triumph over this pandemic (of COVID-19),” Zhang Jun, China‘s permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963.

On the day, Zhang sent letters to the permanent observer of the AU to the United Nations, permanent representative of South Africa (chair of the AU) to the United Nations, and permanent representatives of other African countries to the United Nations.

“Since 1963, under the guidance of the Organization of African Unity and the African Union, African countries have made historic achievements in seeking strength through unity, gaining independence and freedom from colonial imperialists and exploring paths of development in light of their own national conditions. Africa has made significant contributions to the world peace and development,” he said.

China is truly proud of the progress made by Africa and deeply grateful for the valuable support provided by African friends,” said the envoy.

Zhang said that the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented challenge to all countries in the world. China appreciates the sympathy, solicitude and support from African countries.

China is also doing its utmost to assist Africa in tiding over the pandemic. China has sent medical expert teams to Africa’s five sub-regions and their neighboring countries, provided large quantities of medical supplies, and organized video conferences with African medical workers to share experience,” he noted.

China and Africa have shared weal and woe. China is willing to enhance coordination and cooperation with Africa under the UN and other multilateral frameworks to jointly safeguard the common interests of developing countries, pursue common development, and build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future,” said the ambassador.

(XINHUA)

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Africa Day 2020: Buhari advocates for peace, security to achieve sustainable development

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President Muhammadu Buhari says Peace, security, unity and harmony are prerequisites for development in Africa

Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said President Buhari stated this in a message to African leaders to mark the ”Africa Day 2020”.

The event was commemorated by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Nigerian leader, therefore, called for peace on the continent as a prerequisite for sustainable development.

According to him, Africa has given the world a new hope by choosing the theme ”Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID-19” for this year’s Africa Day.

He stressed the need for African leaders to ensure that every effort is made to ensure the success of silencing the guns on the continent.

He also emphasized the need to sensitize Africans about the inseparable connection between peace and development.

President Buhari urged citizens all over the continent to innovate on how ”Silencing the Guns” could be used to achieve peace and grow African economies.

He also urged regional economic groups, civil society organisations and the private sector in Africa to take full ownership of the theme of this year’s celebration to strengthen collaborative efforts among member-countries of the African Union.

Africa Day is observed annually on May 25, to commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union, which was created on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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WHO fear ‘silent’ virus epidemic unless Africa prioritises testing

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Africa has so far been spared the worst impact of the coronavirus, but World Health Organisation (WHO) is worried the continent could face a “silent epidemic” if its leaders fail to prioritise testing for it.

“My first point for Africa, my first concern, is that a lack of testing is leading to a silent epidemic in Africa.

“So, we must continue to push leaders to prioritise testing,” WHO Special Envoy Samba Sow, told a news conference in Geneva on Monday.

The WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Africa was the region with the fewest diagnosed coronavirus cases, accounting for less than 1.5 per cent of the global total and just 0.1per cent of deaths.

The WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said some countries had taken measures to curb the disease at a high economic cost.

Those measures meant the pandemic was having a milder impact so far than some models had predicted, Moeti said.

Tedros credited the continent’s experience dealing with other epidemics as helping it scale up its response to the coronavirus and be spared the impact seen elsewhere so far.

All African countries had preparedness plans in place, he said, although there were still “gaps and vulnerabilities”.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Africa Day: APRA urges African leaders to look inwards for solutions

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The African Public Relations Association (APRA) has urged African leaders to look inwards for homegrown solutions rather than seeking foreign aids to combat COVID-19.

Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, APRA President, gave the advice in a statement on Monday.

He noted that since inception, the need for Africa to stand together could not be over emphasized than now when the continent faced a global pandemic that left every part of the world struggling for its own survival.

Badejo-Okusanya said that rather than brood over the present  situation, this was an opportunity for Africa to look inwards by developing its own homegrown solutions in terms of  medical equipment and innovation to cures.

“African leaders working together offers the opportunity to break away from the preconceived notions and mindsets that have held us bound for too long.

“This year’s theme for Africa Day ‘Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic’ is  quite apt.

“In the words of the founding father of African Unity, the late Dr Kwame Osageyefo Nkrumah, we must unite now or perish.

“We must recognise that our economic independence resides in our African Union and requires the same concentration upon the political achievement, “he said.

Badejo-Okusanya said that “if we must silence the guns and create conducive conditions for the development of Africa by jointly fighting this pandemic, communication was  key.

He noted that APRA would continue to create a positive narrative for the continent and its people.

“We will create synergies with other professions, governments and organisations to achieve this goal,” he said.

Badejo-Okusanya noted that APRA had set up a post COVID-19 advisory team made up of respected professional colleagues from across the continent to advise the association.

He said that the team was charged with the responsibility of giving Africa and APRA a voice on issues of governance, leadership and development.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

 

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Africa Day: Putin congratulates Africa, hails Russia-African close relationship

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Russian President Vladmir Putin has congratulated African Countries and leaders on the occasion of the Africa Day celebration, hailing the close relationship between the Continent and Russia.

In a message signed by Putin and obtained from the Russian Embassy in Abuja on Monday, Putin said that the day symbolizes the aspiration of the countries of Africa to freedom, peace and prosperity.

He added that the celebration was significant to both Russia and Africa as it reaffirms the relationship of the duo which dates back to the colonial era.

“This holiday assumes special significance in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and people celebrated this year.

“Decades ago, when many African Peoples were just embarking on the path of sovereign development, our country provided them with active political support, extensive assistance in the social and economic sphere, and training of civilian and military personnel.

“Today, African Countries are Russia’s significant and promising partners, who enjoy well-deserved authority on the global arena and play an active role in addressing topical international issues,” he said.

Putin noted that the Russia-Africa Summit which held in 2019 in Sochi, turned out to be an exclusively important milestone in the development of Russian-African relations.

According to him, the dialogue between our Countries has been brought to a qualitatively new level.

“The Russia-Africa Partnership Forum established during the Summit will undoubtedly contribute to building up mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and coordinating efforts to counter the threats and challenges of our time.

”Including the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a serious test for our Countries and Peoples.

“I whole-heartedly wish you good health, prosperity and every success in your state activities, and peace and prosperity to all your compatriots,” Putin said.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Africa javelin champ Yego looks to clinch gold in final Olympics

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Africa javelin champion Julius Yego hopes to use the Diamond League campaign to improve his throws ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

Yego, 31, won silver with one throw at the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, before a groin and ankle injury slowed his progress.

However, after three years of rehabilitation, false starts and bruised egos, Yego is ready to pick up the gauntlet and stake his claim to the javelin gold at the delayed Tokyo Games next year.

Yego is eyeing the Diamond League to showcase his blossoming talent and reclaim his status on the world stage.

“I started my training early enough knowing that for the first time, I had no niggling injuries. I can say, I was doing very well in training and looked forward to start of the season,” Yego said in Nairobi on Monday.

His target will be to improve his personal best time. At the continental level in Rabat, Morocco last year, Yego threw a season’s best 87.73 meters to clinch the Africa title, just five meters off his personal best, which he set in Beijing in 2015 when he hurled the javelin 92.72m to win the world title.

“I feel this was to be my year. I had it all planned, but I have to go back and plan hoping to emerge stronger when the lockdown is lifted. It is important to remain fit and active so as to take little time to return to competition,” he added.

World Athletics has confirmed that the Diamond League will start in August.

“In Rio, I got silver because of injury. I was sure to win gold in 2020, but here we are, the Games are postponed. I still hope that I will achieve my dream of getting an Olympic gold next year because I believe it will be my last appearance at the Games,” said Yego.

The lockdown and closure of training camps in Kenya has not stopped Yego from training.

“I maintain a strict routine to keep fit through running and other small exercises,” added Yego. “I hope to regain my form, which I had in 2015. Time will tell.”

(XINHUA)

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Mozambican president says conflicts go against Africa’s common development goal

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President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi said Monday that conflicts continue to be an obstacle to the progress of African continent, and goals will not be achieved if guns are not silenced.

The Mozambican head-of-state was addressing the nation in Maputo as part of the celebration of the Africa Day, which marks the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of African Union.

“This year’s theme: ‘silencing weapons to create favorable conditions for the development of Africa’ was set in recognition of the need to promote peace and conditions for sustainable and inclusive development, which will never materialize if there are conflicts,” said the president.

He highlighted the terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique as an example that those threats make it impossible to realize the common dream of prosperity.

The president promised his country will contribute to peace promotion, economic and social integration of the region and continent, as Mozambique is expected to assume the rotating presidency of the Southern African Development Community later this year.

Nyusi also said that African countries should come together and coordinate approaches to fight COVID-19, for an effective response that will allow economic recovery and sustainable growth.

(XINHUA)

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Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 110,000: Africa CDC

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 111,348 as the death toll from the ongoing pandemic surged to 3,348 as of Monday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC, in its latest continental situation update report issued on Monday, showed that some 44,630 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Monday afternoon.

Figures from the Africa CDC also showed that amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa with 22,583 confirmed cases, Egypt with 17,265 confirmed cases, Algeria with 8,306 confirmed cases, and Nigeria with 7,839 confirmed cases.

The Africa CDC said that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

The continental disease control and prevention agency added that the COVID-19 pandemic had spread across all 54 African countries.

(XINHUA)

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AU commission chief urges Africans to drive toward self-sufficiency

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Marking Africa Day, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Monday underlined the need for Africans to chart their own course that seeks own solutions for problems of varied natures.

“In a world in which multilateralism is sorely tested, Africa must stop expecting solutions from others,” said the chairperson.

Reiterating that the African continent is endowed with enormous resources, the chairperson called for inward-looking and self-reliance approach, which will be a catalyst for the renaissance of African nations.

Mahamat said Africa mobilized itself from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, recalling that a continental response strategy was developed and implemented promptly.

“We should however redouble efforts, determination and perseverance in strictly implementing the pillars of the strategy. We should go beyond the present situation, by preparing for postpandemic conditions in the world.”

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now AU, on May 25, 1963.

(XINHUA)

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Africa Day commemorated to build better Africa: PAP

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Pan-African Parliament (PAP) situated in South Africa believed that Africa Day should be used to reflect on how to build a better Africa and a better world.

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963.

The Acting PAP President Bouras Djamel told Xinhua that Africa Day is a reminder of the commitment made by AU members to address challenges facing the continent, to build inclusive and sustainable development.

“Commemoration of Africa Day is an opportunity for Africans to reflect on the journey, renew strength and motivation to realize the liberation and absolute freedom from foreign domination,” Djamel said.

PAP called for a deeper reflection on the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment and to come up with solutions for the continent in the areas including development, health, digitalization, sustainability, jobs for young people.

Djamel stated that African made strides in empowering women, improving gender equality and boosting economies.

On this day, PAP takes this opportunity to commend all members for their courage and cooperation in the bid to save the lives of the African people from the rage of COVID-19, he said.

He called on members to reinforce political commitment and accountability to front-load investments to strengthen national health systems and provide long-term domestic resources needed to achieve health goals, grounded in principles of inclusivity, transparency and accountability.

(XINHUA)

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Economist warns S. Africa’s economy may take years to recover

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With most economic sectors set to reopen next week, an economist on Monday said South Africa’s economy might take a number of years to recover from COVID-19 lockdown devastation.

“The South African economy will likely remain in a recession for a prolonged time. The lost production in the past two months will be lost for many years,” chief economist with Efficient Group Dawie Roodt told Xinhua on Monday.

He was reacting to the president’s Sunday announcement that the majority of the economy would be opened on June 1 as lockdown measures were eased.

Roodt believed hardship would be on the rise.

“The economy was in a technical recession before, so this has worsened everything…hardship and poverty for a number of citizens would increase due to this,” he said.

The Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago last week said macroeconomic policies to deal with the lockdown problems should be implemented. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will deliver a new budget that would respond to COVID -19 challenges in June.

Labor federation Cosatu said the budget to be tabled must be “decisive and bold” to deal with the “economic depression”. It said it must be aimed at kick-starting the economy and retaining jobs.

(XINHUA)

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S. Africa to start human trial for COVID-19 rapid breath test in June

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South African researchers, in cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, will start a ground-breaking human trial for COVID-19 rapid breath test in June.

The South Africa-based Ezintsha research group at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and U.S.-based Canary Health Technologies will collaborate on the trial, the researchers said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The trial will determine whether a highly accurate, non-invasive, disposable breath test that could detect virus before symptom onset could be on global market before the end of 2020.

The rapid breath test, if successful, can deliver results on site in less than five minutes, thus quickly detecting persons at risk to reduce transmission.

Using exhaled Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) found in human breath as biomarkers of the virus, this diagnostic test (COVID-19 RT BAP) could potentially identify those who are acutely infected with COVID-19 as well as those who have not yet developed clinical symptoms, according to the statement.

The initial phase of the trial will see the collection of breath samples from 150 people – both COVID-19 positive patients and those who do not have the virus. They will be asked to breathe for three minutes into the device. The device will then translate their breath biomarkers into electronic signals which will be transmitted to a centralized “lab in the cloud” for analysis.

The human trial is due to start in South Africa by the end of June, with preliminary results expected by the end of July. Similar trials are also planned in the UK and the U.S.

“We are very excited to partner with Canary on this game-changing technology. The holy grail is a real time, point of care device which can capture Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC as biomarkers,” said Prof. Francois Venter, an infectious diseases expert and Head of Ezintsha.

This could revolutionize testing for COVID-19, to then build a base to detect many other diseases, he said, adding that a non-invasive and accurate test that healthcare workers can carry in their pockets is a win-win for all.

Raj Reddy, CEO of Canary Health Technologies, said his institution is thrilled to collaborate with Ezintsha which is a world-class research unit focused on health innovations.

“We are confident that our highly responsive sensors and proprietary software can detect COVID-19 in less than five minutes without the need of a lab,” he said.

This handheld device with disposable sensors is ideal for use in doctors’ offices, nursing homes, airports and should be available before the end of the year, according to Reddy.

“We aim to set the gold standard in COVID-19 detection,” he said.

If this initial phase of the human trial is successful, Canary Health Technologies will seek to move quickly into a pivotal trial with a larger sample size for expedited regulatory approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other markets, for global use, the statement said.

(XINHUA)

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Sport

Elgar eyes South Africa test captaincy

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Dean Elgar would be willing to become South Africa’s next test captain as speculation about who will replace Faf du Plessis gathers momentum.

Elgar, who turns 33 next month, put his hand up in an interview with Cricket South Africa (CSA), released on Monday, and joins Aiden Markram on the list of players who have expressed interest in the job.

Quinton de Kock was expected to take over from Du Plessis, having succeeded him as captain of South Africa’s limited-overs teams, but CSA said it did not want to overburden the wicketkeeper-batsman and ruled him out of the test captaincy.

With CSA still trying to find a solution to playing their scheduled three-test series against the West Indies in July, the appointment of a captain has become more pressing.

“It’s definitely not an easy journey being a test captain but I think leadership is something that comes extremely naturally to me,” Elgar said.

“I’ve captained teams in the past, right up from school level to provincial level and at franchise level.

“I enjoyed it extremely and if I was asked to take on the captaincy, it’s definitely something I would think long and hard about because it would mean a lot to me.”

Du Plessis quit as captain after South Africa lost their home series to England at the start of the year.

Elgar twice deputised for Du Plessis as captain, losing the 2017 Lords test to England by 211 runs and overseeing a 107-run victory over Pakistan in early 2019.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/ (NAN)

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AU plans to raise 1 mln USD for COVID-19 response fund on Africa Day

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The African Union (AU) said it is to raise one million U.S. dollars on Monday for its COVID-19 response fund, as the 55-member pan-African bloc marks the Africa Day.

Established by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat in March, the AU COVID-19 Response Fund aims to strengthen the continental response to COVID-19 and mitigate its socio-economic and humanitarian impact on African populations.

“This Africa Day, May 25, all Africans, people of African descent and friends of Africa are encouraged to give a little to the fund,” said the AU statement, reiterating that a target of one million dollars has been set for the day.

Stating that contributions can be made in any currency and this will be automatically converted into U.S. dollars, which is the original currency of the Fund account, the Union has also announced a website, where donation can be made.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose to 107,412 as of Sunday morning, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

The African countries are mobilizing resources and taking measures to fight against COVID-19.

Some countries on the continent have imposed night curfew and suspended international flights so as to curb the spread of the virus. Wearing face masks is mandatory at public places in many countries.

They also have the support from international organizations, and countries including China.

(XINHUA)

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Zimbabwe president castigates West for continued interference in affairs of African states

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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated the West for meddling in the internal affairs of African countries and called on Africans to deepen the culture of democracy and good governance as taught by the continent’s founding fathers.

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union, Mnangagwa said former colonial powers had no authority to lecture Africa on democracy as the continent had fought to achieve the democracy being enjoyed to this day.

Africans should not be shy to express the rich cultural heritage, languages and identities, he added.

He said Zimbabwe continued to suffer from unwarranted interference and endure illegal sanctions imposed as punishment for reclaiming land.

“However, we are buoyed by the fact that we have re-united with our land, which is now irreversibly reposed into our hands, we its true owners,” he said.

“As we commemorate and celebrate the unity of our continent, we in Zimbabwe deeply thank our SADC region and the whole continent of Africa for standing with us. Africa has rejected and denounced the sanctions against Zimbabwe and the Sudan, urging those responsible for these illegal, heinous measures to immediately lift them without conditionalities.

“They are illegal, unjust, spiteful and undeserved. Above all, they go against the grain and spirit of civilized international relations as espoused in the United Nations Charter. We reiterate that sanctions have no place in modern international relations.”

He said Zimbabwe also continued to pursue robust cooperation with its neighbours and the continent as a whole; subscribing to a fully integrated continent of Africa.

“We must now urgently consolidate the implementation of cross-border projects, to improve our road networks, water, energy and ICT infrastructure, among others. This will inevitably accelerate multi-faceted sustainable development in the region and on the continent,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Zimbabwe leader challenges Africa to emulate founding fathers’ vision as continent celebrates Africa Day

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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday challenged Africa to pursue the vision of the founding fathers and promote economic integration and sustainable development for the continent.

In his address to the nation marking the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization for African Unity, now the African Union, on May 25, 1963, Mnangagwa commended Africans for defending the continent’s independence, state media reported.

“As we celebrate Africa Day, we are jubilant that the vision of our founding fathers has been by and large realized, kept and is jealously defended.

“Above all, that vision continues to be elaborated upon, notably through Agenda 2063 which envisions an economically integrated continent of Africa which will be a global powerhouse by 2063.”

He stressed on Africa’s desire to achieve sustainable development, through concrete manifestations of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity.

With the African Continental Free Trade Area that seeks to create a prosperous future now in force, integration and cooperation at all levels should be scaled up, Mnangagwa said.

Cooperation is imperative in the continent’s quest to achieve food security and to mitigate the impact of climate change and threats posed by disease outbreaks, he said.

“Conscious of Agenda 2063, we must continue to explore and exploit our vast natural resources. The value addition and beneficiation of our various resource endowments must be harnessed to modernize and industrialize Africa’s economies.

“In this ‘Decade of Action,’ let us give impetus to innovation. We must drive all facets of socio-economic development, leveraging on science, technologies as well as our rich heritage, history and cultures,” he said.

The promotion of human development and the economic empowerment of youth and women must result in an Africa that produces goods and services for itself through its own innovations and initiatives, Mnangagwa said.

“The realization of sustainable development and the great vision of an improved standard of living for our people must remain a top priority,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Solutions to Africa’s problems reside within Africa itself: Ramaphosa

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as African Union (AU) chairperson, on Monday stressed the role of African countries in resolving African problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement marking the Africa Day, Ramaphosa said this event reminds Africans once again that “the solutions to Africa’s problems, be they overcoming disease or eradicating poverty and underdevelopment, reside within Africa itself.”

“Although the coronavirus pandemic is not an African problem alone, we have shown ourselves capable of agility and ingenuity,” Ramaphosa said.

This year’s Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the AU, was overshadowed by the wide spread of COVID-19 across the African continent.

It has been a little over three months since the first case of coronavirus on the continent was confirmed.

“This pandemic has been a stark reminder that regardless of whether we are born into wealth or indigence, we are all mortal, and can succumb to disease,” Ramaphosa said.

As countries around the world battle to turn the tide against the pandemic, Africa has taken firm control of its destiny, by developing a clear strategy and raising financial resources from its member states, he said.

The African response to the coronavirus pandemic has received widespread praise. Despite the multitude of resource challenges they face, African countries have come together in remarkable ways, united by a common purpose, Ramaphosa said.

The countries of the Global South are more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 because of low levels of development, insufficient resources and weak health systems, he said.

Although many African countries are ranking low on human development indices thus less capable to manage the fallout of a global health emergency of this kind on their own, “yet at the same time, some of the very health challenges African countries have wrestled with for decades have given us a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and how to do it,” said Ramaphosa.

African countries have been able to use their experience in managing outbreaks of malaria, cholera, HIV, tuberculosis and hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola and Lassa.

“Our understanding of communicable diseases and how to manage them has put us in good stead when it comes to coronavirus,” Ramaphosa said.

African governments have been swift and proactive in implementing measures to flatten the coronavirus curve, he said.

By early May, 43 African countries had full border closures, 53 had closed institutions of learning, 54 had limited public gatherings, 26 had instituted the compulsory use of face masks, 32 had instituted night-time curfews and 18 had imposed nation-wide lockdowns.

The AU has developed a comprehensive Joint Continental Strategy to guide cooperation among member states and set up a COVID-19 Response Fund.

A number of countries, including South Africa, have rolled out massive food relief and social assistance measures to support the vulnerable during this time.

African countries have scaled up their respective capacities for screening, testing and isolating. In April, the AU and the African Centers for Disease Control launched the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing to strengthen testing capacity in vulnerable countries, with the aim of testing 10 million people over the next six months.

Through this partnership, warehousing and distribution hubs are being set up across the continent to distribute medical supplies with the aim of pooling the procurement of diagnostics and other medical commodities.

Although there have been severe shortcomings and constraints, such as the shortage of personal protective equipment, testing kits and ventilators, there have also been stories of excellence and intercontinental collaboration, Ramaphosa said.

“Although it is clear we will continue to rely on the support of the international community and international financial institutions to bolster the existing continental effort and build economic resilience, African countries are holding their own,” Ramaphosa said.

The work being done to defeat the coronavirus is evidence of a continent determined to leverage its strengths and capabilities to resolve its own challenges, he said.

(XINHUA)

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