AFRICA UPDATE: Algeria’s coronavirus cases rise to 230, Ghana’s  53, Nigeria 42 …

Africa update, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria
2 out of the 53 persons have been reported dead

Seventeen people have died of Covid-19 in Algeria, which currently has 230 cases of Coronavirus, 54% of them in the province of Blida, south of the capital Algiers.

Algeria’s health ministry has said hospitals in the North African nation can use chloroquine to treat patients infected with Coronavirus.

However, the statement specifies that the drug should be used to treat “certain cases” of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, in accordance with “specific medical protocol”.

Chloroquine is one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs – though it is no longer recommended in much of Africa because of the resistance built up to it by the malaria parasites.

In treating malaria patients, the drug has been used to reduce fever and inflammation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that so far there is no definitive evidence of its effectiveness when treating Covid-19, but it is part of the continuing trials.

“Chloroquine seems to block the Coronavirus in lab studies. There’s some anecdotal evidence from doctors saying it has appeared to help,” says James Gallagher, BBC health correspondent.

Last week, there was confusion over whether the US had approved the drug to treat Coronavirus. But the body licensing medicines in the US said it was still being considered.

Last week, the government closed all borders, banned flights and ferries as well as suspending public transport between cities.

It has also sent 50% of the work force on paid leave for two weeks, ordering them to stay in their homes.

Private businesses have been promised state financial assistance to compensate for their loss in wages paid to their employees and workers.

In neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia, which are also in lockdown, the army has been deployed to enforce social distancing and the closure of shops and businesses deemed to be unessential by the authorities.


Ghana’s number of coronavirus cases has risen from 27 to 53 as at 6:47pm today, March 24, 2020.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu announced to the public that the number of coronavirus cases in Ghana had risen from 27 to 52.

He made this disclosure at a presser in Accra, Tuesday.

The 25 new cases, according to the minister, were confirmed among the 1,030 people who are under mandatory quarantine in the country after arriving at the Kotoka International Airport hours to the deadline for the closure of the country’s borders.

“Out of the 185 test results received, we have 25 of those quarantined tested positive. If you add on to the earlier number of 27, it means we have 53 tested positive in our country at the moment.

“Those in quarantine, we have actually deployed psychologists to have chats with them. We are also in the process of handing them over to our case management teams we have set up. We have started taking them to isolated centers for case management,” Mr. Agyemang-Manu said.

Out of the 53 confirmed cases, two persons have died.

On March 18, 2020, information minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah announced that health experts had told government officials that the next two weeks will be critical in Ghana’s fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to journalists, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said “the health experts tell us that the next two weeks are going to be critical in determining whether or not we are going to get significant community spread. They tell us that the general theory pandemic management is that often it is likely the numbers go up a bit before it curves or the situation gets better.

“Therefore, they are bracing for the possibility of some limited recordings of more cases in the medium term but they continue to assure us that the systems they are putting together and continue to ramp-up are such that we will be able to contain it and hold this virus in check.”

Oppong Nkrumah affirmed the government’s commitment in ensuring the safety of every citizen by ensuring that all the measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus are adhered to.

Ghana’s enhanced response

In his 3rd address to the nation, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on March 21 announced measures his government has put in place to fight the pandemic.

Among others, he mentioned that “all our borders, that is by land, sea and air, will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks, beginning midnight on Sunday. Anybody who comes into the country, before midnight on Sunday, will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus. This closure will not apply to goods, supplies and cargo.”

“Secondly, the Ministry of Health will not only step up its contact tracing efforts, but will also see to it that all persons who have been identified as having come into contact with infected persons are tested for the virus. More personal protection equipment are being procured to beef up supplies for our frontline health workers. Fifty thousand additional test kits have been ordered, and are expected in the country very shortly.”

Day of fasting and prayer

President Akufo-Addo urged all citizens to participate in the national day of fasting and prayer slated for Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

“Let us pray to God to protect our nation and save us from this pandemi,” he pleaded.


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed two new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The NCDC made this known via its Twitter handle @NCDCgov, on Tuesday.

NCDC tweeted, “Two new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Nigeria. One is in Lagos State and one in Ogun.

“One case is a returning traveller. The second case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

“As of 1pm on March 24, there are 42 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria – two discharged, one death.”

…Curfews in Senegal and Ivory Coast, lockdown in South Africa

South Africa’s president on Monday said he was deploying the military onto the streets to help police enforce a nationwide lockdown, while Senegal and Ivory Coast both announced they were imposing a state of emergency to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus cases were slow to arrive in Africa, but the virus is spreading quickly, having infected more than 1,700 people across 45 countries and challenging already strained and under-funded health systems.

South Africa is currently on a lockdown

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a three-week national lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly new coronavirus which has affected more than 400 people and ordered the military to enforce the ban.

He said government “has decided to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 21 days with effect from midnight on Thursday the 26th of March (to) avoid a human catastrophe”.

The number of confirmed in cases in South Africa has climbed six-fold in just eight days from 61 to 402.

“This number will continue to rise,” warned Ramaphosa, adding “the next few days are crucial”.

South Africa has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa and public health experts are worried that it could overwhelm the health system if infection rates continue to rise.

Senegal and Ivory Coast declare state of emergency

The West African states of Senegal and Ivory Coast on Monday each declared a state of emergency in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Senegal will impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew, while Ivory Coast said it would introduce gradual confinement measures. “The speed of the progress of the disease requires us to raise the level of the response,” Senegalese President Macky Sall said in a televised address to the nation.

Senegal registered 12 new cases on Monday to take its total to 79, while Ivory Coast has recorded 25 cases.

Last week, Senegal suspended international commercial flights, and Ivory Coast shuttered nightclubs and cinemas. But in television addresses, both countries’ presidents said those measures had proved inadequate.

Lockdown in DRC’s second largest city

The second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began a 48-hour lockdown on Monday after the arrival of two people with suspected coronavirus aboard a flight from Kinshasha.

Security forces were deployed in the city of Lubumbashi, in southeastern DRC, where the streets were deserted and stores were closed.

The DRC has recorded 30 cases of coronavirus since March 10, two of them fatalities.

Four legislators in Kinshasa on Monday urged President Felix Tshisekedi to place the sprawling capital “in quarantine and isolate it from the rest of the country”.

“We are extremely concerned about the risk of the virus spreading as a result of travel from Kinshasa and the rest of the country,” they said.

Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ethiopia close their borders

Elsewhere on the continent, Zimbabwe closed all its borders to traffic except returning residents after reporting its first death from the coronavirus.

The government also banned public gatherings indefinitely.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, closed its land borders after also registering its first death. Ethiopia also closed its land borders.

Kenya’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose by one to 16, while Senegal’s tally rose by 12 to 79.

African finance ministers also called for a $100 billion stimulus package, including a suspension of debt service payments.

Ethiopia on Monday shut its land borders to nearly all human traffic as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Africa’s second-most populous country has so far recorded just 11 infections and no deaths, but officials have struggled in recent days to enforce prevention measures including bans on large gatherings, raising fears the tally could climb.

Other countries in West Africa such as Mauritania and Burkina Faso — the hardest-hit country in the region with 99 cases and four deaths — have also announced curfews in recent days.

(With agency reports)

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