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COVID-19 2nd Wave: Eswatini Announces Partial Lockdown

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Eswatini’s acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has banned public gatherings and international travel for leisure purposes as part of a partial lockdown to prevent the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The coronavirus containment measures, announced on Thursday, come into effective on Friday, 08 January 2021.

The prime minister said that starting on Friday at midnight, the only public gatherings allowed are funerals with attendance limited to 50 people.

He added that funeral wakes should not exceed three days, while memorial services would be banned until further notice.

“Funerals are limited to two hours, with a maximum of 50 people,” Masuku said. “Burials beyond three days after death will require a permit.”

All retailers will close their premises at 18:00 local time, while liquor stores will close at 16:00 local time and remain closed during weekends.

Travel outside eSwatini will only be allowed for medical purposes, school, business and work.

The new restrictions will be in place for 14 days before a review is done.

The country recorded 234 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the government says, bringing the total cases to 10,773 including 268 deaths.

Former Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini died last month from the virus.

Meanwhile, England has banned visitors from eSwatini and 10 other South Africa neighbours – Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola as well as Seychelles and Mauritius – from entry over the COVID-19 new strain.

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Rwanda Closes Schools in Capital Following Surge in COVID-19 Cases

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Rwanda’s Minister of Education, Valentine Uwamariya, has announced closure of nursery, primary and secondary schools in the capital, Kigali.

The closure, which becomes effective from Monday, 18 January 2021, follows a surge in numbers of coronavirus cases, the Rwandan Ministry of Education on Sunday said in a communique.

The measure, which will be reviewed in two weeks upon health assessment, applies to all nursery, primary and secondary schools, both public and private.

The statement added that boarding students will remain in their schools.

Uwamariya said schools in other provinces will also close if more cases are confirmed there.

Schools were reopened in November after eight months closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the country with more than 1,000 new cases and 22 fatalities reported in the last seven days.

Rwanda recorded 182 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, January 17, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 11,032.

On the same day, two Covid-19 related deaths were registered. The deceased, according to the Ministry of Health were two men of 60 and 61 years of age from Kigali.

This takes the total number of deaths related to the virus to 142.

The government has ordered public hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients with their widely used community-based health insurance.

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COVID-19: Egypt’s Health Ministry Records 890 New Cases, 56 Deaths

The total number of COVID-19 cases reported in Egypt has now risen to 156,397, recovered cases are at 122,993, and 8,583 deaths.

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The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population confirmed on Sunday, 890 new coronavirus cases, up from 887 on Saturday and 879 on Friday.

The ministry also confirmed that 56 more people had died of virus-related issues while 701people had recovered so far.

The total number of COVID-19 cases reported in Egypt has now risen to 156,397, recovered cases are at 122,993, and 8,583 deaths.

The North African country has officially entered the second wave of the pandemic, after a steady rise of reported cases in November and December.

Government officials have continuously urged the public to adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures, and authorities have been instructed to strictly enforce the country’s mask mandate, which applies to public transportation and all indoor public spaces and.

Anyone who violates the mask wearing policies in these places, is subject to an instant LE50 fine, and restaurants and cafes breaking capacity rules are subject to an instant LE4,000 fine.

In late December, The Ministry of Education decided to again shift classroom learning back online and postpone exams ahead of the mid-year vacation that starts on January 16 and goes until February 20.

Students first-term exams will be taken once they return from vacation.

According to the country’s Health Minister Hala Zayed, Egypt has received doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, and is expecting more shipments.

The country will receive 20 percent of its vaccines needs via the AstraZeneca vaccine from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance by the end of January, the minister said.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health is also expecting a shipment of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine. The ministry signed for 25 million doses of the vaccine in September last year, and will begin clinical trials of the vaccine as soon as it arrives.

Egypt plans to roll out its vaccination campaign in early February, beginning with the elderly, healthcare workers, and those with underlying health conditions.

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Ghanaian Hospitals Fear Overload as COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket

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With a new, never-seen-before strain in the country, and a spike in COVID-19 cases, Ghanaian hospitals, and the government fear an overload on the health sector.

Number of severe cases have gone up significantly in the last one week, rising from 18 to 120 while the number of cases have also more than doubled since January 5.

The Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday said the health infrastructure of the country faces great pressure from COVID-19.

Although a peak is yet to be seen as in the first wave, the Ghanaian President said a similar occurrence may warrant another partial lockdown.

“Our COVID-19 treatment centres have gone from having zero patients to now being full because of the upsurge in infections,” the president said. “At this current rate … our healthcare infrastructure will be overwhelmed.”

The President also said the new variant has been found in travellers that arrived the country recently. He added that how work is required in the country will help control the spread of the virus.

“Work is ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population,” Akufo-Addo said.

Ghana has recorded 57,714 cases of COVID-19, with 346 deaths reported, leaving the case fatality rate at 0.5%. More than 55,000 of the patients have also been discharged after testing negative for the virus.

Akufo-Addo also assured that a vaccination plan is being established by the nation’s health handlers.

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