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A million face masks distributed across Africa

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A first delivery of medical supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO) has left a new regional distribution hub in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to be distributed to countries around the continent.

The cargo includes one million masks, goggles, gloves, gowns and other protective gear for health workers, as well as ventilators for patients, says WFP.

It will be distributed to Djibouti, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Tanzania and then on from those hubs to “as many countries as possible”, Reuters news agency quotes WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs as saying.

There’s hope that these supplies have come just in time, according to the Director of the Africa for the Centre for Disease Contol John Nkengasong.

“The medical supplies are timely as the continent still has a window of opportunity to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement.

The cargo was brought in by Ethiopian Airlines, which has suffered from a huge fall in passenger numbers.

Fitsum Abadi, the company’s managing director of cargo and logistics services, is quoted as telling AFP news agency that Ethiopian Airlines plans to play a “major role” in Africa’s fight against coronavirus as the Bole International Airport will be used as a distribution hub until at least the end of May.

But he said this would not make up for the fall in passenger revenue.Article share tools.

Mozambique’s director of public health has warned that the use of gloves to prevent the spread of coronavirus creates a false sense of security which can lead to more infection.

Speaking in Maputo on Monday, the national director of public health, Rosa Marlene, said: “These gloves don’t reduce the risk of infection when users touch contaminated objects and then touch the mouth and/or eyes.

“The use of gloves can create a false sense of security, which can lead to negligence of other hygiene measures such as hand-washing.”

Dr Marlene reiterated that hand washing and social distancing are good ways of preventing coronavirus.

Cases of coronavirus in Mozambique have gone up to 28 – 20 of whom caught the virus locally.

A huge floating island in Lake Victoria triggered a nationwide blackout in Uganda after clogging a turbine in a hydroelectric power station.

“It was at least two acres, almost two football size pitches,” an official, Simon Kasyate, told the BBC.

The outage caused a broadcast by President Yoweri Museveni on the Covid-19 crisis to be delayed by an hour.

Lake Victoria, shared by three East African countries, has for decades been invaded by water hyacinth.

The European Union has donated €50m ($55m; £44m) to Nigeria to boost the fight against coronavirus.

According to a statement from the Nigerian presidency, the funding will greatly help Nigeria in containing the virus and revitalising its healthcare system.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told an EU delegation he was touched and grateful that the EU had the foresight to help its allies around the world despite the fact that its member countries were also struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

He said such support from the EU will save millions of lives in many countries.

EU Ambassador to Nigeria Ketil Karlsen told Mr Buhari the donation to Nigeria was the largest support the EU was providing anywhere outside Europe to fight the pandemic so far.

Nigeria has nearly 350 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 10 fatalities.

Experts have warned that a widespread outbreak of the virus in African countries with weak healthcare systems and extreme poverty could have devastating consequences.

The EU support to Nigeria comes as the International Monetary Fund approved debt service relief for 19 African countries.

The relief is for an initial period of six months to enable them to channel financial resources towards dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The president of Guinea, Alpha Conde, is making the wearing of face masks compulsory in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In a televised address, he said the order would take effect from Saturday.

People who fail to wear masks will be fined around $3 (£2.40).

Mr Conde called on businesses, government departments and others to provide their employees with masks, which he said should be made locally and cost no more than 25 cents.

He described the pace of the spread of coronavirus as worrying.

There have been more than 300 confirmed cases in Guinea.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has extended the nationwide coronavirus controls for 21 days.

In his address to the nation at the end of an initial 14-day lockdown, the president said that all control guidelines previously announced will remain in place.

The measures include closure of national borders, including Entebbe International Airport, to passenger travel, a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and a ban on public transport.

Mr Museveni said that the extension will help health workers study the situation, and monitor about 18,000 people said to have come into the country between 7-22 March.

Air and road cargo transport are still permitted.

Inter-state long-distance truck drivers, whether transiting through or destined for Uganda, will be tested at the border points.

So far, over 5,600 samples have been tested and 54 cases confirmed in the country, eight of whom have recovered.Article share tools.

Thousands of undocumented Ethiopian migrants are being deported from Saudi Arabia amid efforts to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

For Ethiopian migrants working in Saudi Arabia without the necessary permits, deportation is an ever-present possibility.

Since the Saudi government began cracking down on what it called “illegal expatriates” in 2017, tens of thousands have been regularly sent back home.

After a two-week hiatus, Saudi’s efforts to return the Ethiopian migrants have resumed.

More than 2,000 migrants arrived in the capital Addis Ababa in the first half of April with more expected in the coming weeks.

The returnees – like any other incoming travellers – are expected to spend 14 days in mandatory quarantine and it is not clear how equipped Ethiopia’s isolation centres are for an influx of returnees.

The migrants are currently staying in schools prepared by authorities as makeshift quarantine centres.

The UN has warned that large-scale migratory movements could exacerbate the spread of the virus.

Ethiopia has reported 82 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.Article share tools.

The Kenya National Nurses Association has demanded that protective equipment for health workers dealing with coronavirus patients is fixed before it is distributed.

The Kenya National Nurses Association Chair Alfred Obengo visited a factory where protective gear is being made and tweeted that he saw “some gaps” that he ordered be rectified by Friday:

Social embed from twitter

Kenyan nurses have been asking for more pay and protective gear for those handling coronavirus patients.

Some county governors promised special allowances for the health workers.

The World Health Organization has warned that discrimination against those who test positive for coronavirus could be more dangerous than the virus itself.

In South Africa, people who have the virus say they’re facing a double burden – fighting off the illness and suffering victimisation from their communities.

The stigma associated with such an infectious virus has cut through society.

A woman, who did not want to be identified, who tested positive for coronavirus shared her experience of discrimination with me:Quote Message: “There was a stakeholder’s meeting which was scheduled to take place but couldn’t attend because of my Covid-19 status… I sent an email excusing myself from attending the meeting… not knowing by doing that a volcano would erupt…

“There was a stakeholder’s meeting which was scheduled to take place but couldn’t attend because of my Covid-19 status… I sent an email excusing myself from attending the meeting… not knowing by doing that a volcano would erupt…Quote Message: There were hateful expressions… expressions of intolerance… a violation of my rights because my status was shared without my consent.”

There were hateful expressions… expressions of intolerance… a violation of my rights because my status was shared without my consent.”

Her neighbours said they feared she would infect them. They called the police and an ambulance.

She has a plea for South Africans:

People infected by Covid-19 don’t need further victimisation. Already our immune system is compromised, we don’t need stress. Stress can affect the immune system. This is the time for ubuntu… a spirit of kindness, goodness, compassion, understanding and if we can have some of that I think we’re halfway to winning this battle.”

Experts have warned that stigma might scare people away from mass testing drives which are taking place all over South Africa.

One of the main challenges in our fight against the virus is if people fear stigma more than the virus. Then it means it becomes a barrier – they won’t go ahead and get tested,” said clinical psychologist Sibulele Qhogwana.

“Even if they get tested they’ll be afraid to disclose because of fear of stigma which then creates a huge problem because testing is one of the most important things in terms of fighting this virus.”Article share tools

Personal protective equipment for people working within 2m (6ft) of a coronavirus patient has become a concern for health workers all over the world who are demanding eye protection, surgical masks, aprons and gloves.

The World Health Organization has warned that discrimination against those who test positive for coronavirus could be more dangerous than the virus itself.

In South Africa, people who have the virus say they’re facing a double burden – fighting off the illness and suffering victimisation from their communities.

The stigma associated with such an infectious virus has cut through society.

A woman, who did not want to be identified, who tested positive for coronavirus shared her experience of discrimination with me:Quote Message: “There was a stakeholder’s meeting which was scheduled to take place but couldn’t attend because of my Covid-19 status… I sent an email excusing myself from attending the meeting… not knowing by doing that a volcano would erupt…

“There was a stakeholder’s meeting which was scheduled to take place but couldn’t attend because of my Covid-19 status… I sent an email excusing myself from attending the meeting… not knowing by doing that a volcano would erupt…Quote Message: There were hateful expressions… expressions of intolerance… a violation of my rights because my status was shared without my consent.”

There were hateful expressions… expressions of intolerance… a violation of my rights because my status was shared without my consent.”

Her neighbours said they feared she would infect them. They called the police and an ambulance.

She has a plea for South Africans:

People infected by Covid-19 don’t need further victimisation. Already our immune system is compromised, we don’t need stress. Stress can affect the immune system. This is the time for ubuntu… a spirit of kindness, goodness, compassion, understanding and if we can have some of that I think we’re halfway to winning this battle.”

Experts have warned that stigma might scare people away from mass testing drives which are taking place all over South Africa.

One of the main challenges in our fight against the virus is if people fear stigma more than the virus. Then it means it becomes a barrier – they won’t go ahead and get tested,” said clinical psychologist Sibulele Qhogwana.

“Even if they get tested they’ll be afraid to disclose because of fear of stigma which then creates a huge problem because testing is one of the most important things in terms of fighting this virus.

6 thoughts on “A million face masks distributed across Africa

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