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A continent’s proactiveness in the case of a global epidemic2 minutes read

As the Coronavirus rages on, African countries are taking different steps geared at prevention.

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In warding off the onslaught of the coronavirus, Africa cannot afford any slip-ups. Photo credit: WHO Africa

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China has reached 1,770 as of February 17, up by 105 from the previous day, according to the country’s National Health Commission. At least 100 of the new deaths were from the province of Hubei, the epicentre of the epidemic. Across the country, there were 2,048 new confirmed infections, about 1,933 from Hubei alone, pushing the new total to 70,548.

In proactive steps to prevent the spread of the virus christened COVID-19, countries across the African continent have begun to take various measures to protect their nationals. Considering the fact that a case of the coronavirus was recently reported in Egypt, there is no such thing as being too careful in these dangerous times.

In Ethiopia, suspected cases of the virus have all turned out to be negative after rigorous tests. However, there are still high levels of vigilance at the country’s Bole Airport, and though regular flights to China’s major provinces are still being operated, travellers are frequently being screened.

China plays host to many African students, and as a matter of fact Africans make up the second-highest population of foreign students in China. Since the outbreak of the virus, thousands of Africans have been at the mercy of a city-wide lockdown in various provinces – particularly the Wuhan province which is home to over 4,000 African students – with food and water being in short supply. Many of these students feel trapped.

The Kenyan government has made a decision not to evacuate its citizens. However, it has suspended all flights to and from China, with a view to precaution. On its part, Morocco is making plans to repatriate about 100 of its nationals from Wuhan. Algeria is also set to evacuate about 36 of its citizens.

Mozambique has suspended the issuance of visas to people arriving from China. South Africa, on the other hand, has communicated that it would not be evacuating its nationals.

More than a few of these African youths feel trapped in Wuhan, with many expressing a strong desire to leave China until the virus is contained. Movement is heavily restricted, as is the use of social media. Nationals of countries like Tanzania have tried reaching out to their countries’ embassies to facilitate an exit from Wuhan, but much of that has met with futility.

The arguments for and against evacuation make for fierce conversation, but the fact remains that African countries have to be wary of who is allowed to walk through the airports. Screening and testing equipment must be fully functional, and directives pertaining to quarantining must be adhered to. Africa stands a chance against the coronavirus, but there are no margins for error in warding off an epidemic of this nature.

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2Baba releases new album “Warriors”

The album is a key offering in the celebration of 2Baba’s 20 Years A King project.

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Award-winning Afropop icon 2Baba has released his new album titled “Warriors” earlier today, February 28. This album is released as part of his 20 Years a King (#20YearAKing) celebration, commemorating the two decades he has spent in the Nigerian music industry.

This new album contains just 13 tracks including previously released singles like ‘Important’, ‘Oyi’ and the Peruzzi-assisted smash hit, ‘Amaka’. The LP also boasts big-name collaborations like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide, Tiwa Savage and Peruzzi. It also features appearances from AJ Natives, Symeca and his daughter HI Idibia.

The production of the album is handled by a galaxy of PBanks, Spelz, Blaq Jeerzy, Bolji Beatz, Speroach Beatz, Richie, Ploops and his longtime collaborator, Jay Sleek.

Interestingly, this is the first 2Baba album that comes with a title track, which also serves as the opener of the full-length project.

On Tuesday, February 25, the celebrated singer held a well-attended listening party for the album at the Artisan Lounge bar, Lagos.

His seventh studio album, “Warriors” is the long-overdue follow up to “The Ascension” which was met with mixed reviews upon its release in 2014.

Formerly known as 2face Idibia, 2baba is one Africa’s most successful artists, winning local, continental and international awards like BET and MTV Europe Music Awards.

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Exporting African sounds into Italy

Nigerian migrants are introducing Afrobeat to one of Italy’s most popular cities

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Nigerians are slowly stamping their authority in Italy's music space. Photo credit: Quartz Africa

Migrating from Africa to Europe is a particularly tricky business. It is usually very difficult to obtain visas, and consequently, many people opt for the long, tortuous route that runs through the Sahara Desert and extends into the Mediterranean Sea. It is a risky journey in many ways, as desperate migrants get robbed, swindled, enslaved or worse still, meet their end in the hot sands and high seas.

There is also the small matter of reputation when it comes to successful migrants. There are those who believe that men and women who manage to avoid death or slavery, and ultimately cross the borders into Italy and Spain, are either involved in drug peddling, prostitution or unsavoury menial jobs like washing up corpses.

There is a small group of people, however, who are slowly changing the narrative. These ones are not only showing that there is more that African migrants can do in Europe, but they are also exporting Nigerian music in all its exotic nature and rich flavour into one of Italy’s major cities.

Palermo, the capital city of the Sicilian province, is slowly becoming the Southern European capital for the world-conquering Afrobeats scene. Social media has given a platform to musicians who can reach a wide audience without institutional support. There are more than a few cities in Italy that are not exactly kind to migrants, but Palermo has gradually become a haven for a number of young Nigerian musicians to hone their craft and attempt to carve a niche for themselves on European shores.

The influx of these musicians has had a significant effect on the city, too. For instance, Ballaro, a small neighbourhood in Palermo, was once known as one of the most dangerous places in Italy, no thanks to the activities of the Mafia. But with the arrival of African and Asian immigrants, the neighbourhood is now revitalised and less prone to crime.

Artists like RayJeezy, Brenex Baba and Thug Money make a living from performing at night clubs across the city. They hope that their hustle ultimately pays off and that they gain worldwide recognition, but for now, they are contributing to the transformation of a city’s music and culture. Things are looking up for the African migrant population in Palermo, and it’s not hard to tell that there will be more where the music came from.

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Entertainment

Netflix Announces First Original Nigerian Series

This comes just after the U.S-based streaming giant launched Netflix Naija.

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Popular media-services provider Netflix has announced the production of its first original African series to be headlined by Nollywood director, Akin Omotoso.

This would be a six-part series that features an all-star Nollywood cast of Kate Henshaw, Ade Laoye, Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kehinde Bankole and many others. 

Directed by a team of Akin Omotosho, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi, the series tells the story of a reincarnated goddess who seeks to avenge her sister’s death.

This announcement comes just after the U.S-based streaming platform unveiled Netflix Naija on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

In a statement with Premium Times, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos revealed that “movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosians have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies. 

“So, we’re incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories – bringing them to audiences all around the world.”

Over the past year, Netflix has featured a number of Nollywood movies on its streaming platform. Among such movies include the culturally and commercially successful King of Boys, October 1, The Figurine, Mokalik, and Merry Men. 

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