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COVID-19: AU, UN Renew Africa’s Appeal for $100Bn Global Support

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The United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) have renewed Africa’s appeal for $100bn (N38tn) annually to support its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint communique from their fourth annual conference held on Dec. 9, the organisations solicited support for the continent’s private sector through new Special Drawing Rights.

The communique, signed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and AU Commission Chairman, Moussa Mahamat, was made available to UN correspondents on Monday.

Guterres and Mahamat expressed “deep concern” over the human, economic and social-political impacts of the pandemic in Africa.

They said the crisis “is exacerbating fragilities, impacting disproportionally women, youth and the most vulnerable”.

The officials underscored the importance of a robust AU-UN cooperation especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, “which demands a collective, coordinated and unified response.”

According to the communique, they noted that the response should address the socio-economic effects, leaving no country or individual behind.

Gutterese and Mahamat said COVID-19 responses and measures should contribute to longer-term recovery, including reduction in inequalities and discrimination and increase in healthcare and social protection investments for all.

The conference examined cooperation between the AU and UN on peace and security, development and human rights, and “reviewed progress in the implementation of their joint commitments.”

The communique said issues surrounding the rollout of vaccines in Africa also came up during the forum.

“They reaffirmed their commitment to support a coordinated international approach on debt relief for African countries and asserted the need for full debt restructuring.

“The AU and UN noted efforts advanced through meetings co-convened by the Secretary-General, Canada and Jamaica to advocate for an ambitious global financing response to the crisis.

“They welcomed the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and called for its extension and full implementation, as well as expanding it to middle income African countries also strongly affected by the crisis,” the communique said.

The conference also agreed that support of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFTA) would remain a priority for the AU-UN partnership and sustainable development.

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Ethiopia Announces 469 New COVID-19 cases

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Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health has announced 469 new Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 133,767.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country reached 2,066 by Sunday evening, after three new deaths were reported, the ministry said.

It said 686 more recoveries were logged during the past 24 hours, taking the national count to 119,416.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the countries the hardest hit by COVID-19 in Africa, after South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt.

The Ethiopian government has been urging the public to implement COVID-19 precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

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Tunisian Foreign Minister Tests Positive for COVID-19

The minister said he had been exhibiting severe symptoms and urged Tunisians to protect themselves from the virus.

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Tunisia’s foreign minister, Othman Jerandi has tested positive for COVID-19.

Jerandi made his COVID status public on his official twitter page.

“My COVID-19 test was positive today, although I complied with health protocols and adhered to all measures,” Othman Jerandi said on Twitter.

Tunisia’s foreign minister said he had been exhibiting severe symptoms and urged Tunisians to protect themselves from the virus.

“This has made me more insistent on the supply of vaccines to protect my country’s people from the pandemic,” he added.

According to a tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University, Tunisia has reported more than 197,000 infections and over 6,200 deaths from the virus. More than 144,000 people have so far recovered.

Since December 2019 when the virus originated in China, the pandemic has claimed more than 2.12 million lives in 192 countries and regions.

According to Johns Hopkins, recorded COVID-19 cases worldwide have exceeded 99.13 million, with recoveries over 54.69 million.

In terms of cases, the worst hit countries remain the US, India and Brazil.

Earlier this month, a 4-day nationwide lockdown was imposed in Tunisia. The lockdown started from Thursday January 14, as authorities moved to curb alarming covid-19 contaminations.

The measure which the country took reduce the spread of the virus includes a nationwide curfew from 4pm to 6am, suspension of school classes until January 24, and a ban on all cultural events. Restaurants and cafes were ordered not to provide seats for their clients.

The move came a few days after President Kais Saied lambasted the government over the handling of the pandemic despite several measures put in place to stem contaminations.

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Nigeria Records Lowest Single-Day COVID-19 Infection in Three Weeks

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Nigeria health agency has confirmed 964 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the country’s lowest single day infection since January 3.

The additional cases takes total confirmed infections in the country to 121,566.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this on its official website on Sunday.

It said that the country has so far tested 1,258,534 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on Feb. 27, 2020.

The country has also recorded its lowest daily figure of new coronavirus infections since Jan. 3, when 917 cases wete reported.

The agency also confirmed additional two coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,504.

It noted that the additional 964 new COVID-19 infections were from 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The NCDC stated that Lagos state topped the list with 360 infections, followed by FCT with 88, Ogun with 73, and Imo with 72 cases.

Other states with new COVID-19 infections were Kaduna-67, Plateau-57, Abia-41, Osun-41, Rivers-32, Kano-26, Niger-24, Benue-23, Edo-20, Cross River-20, Akwa Ibom-8, Nasarawa-6, Zamfara-6, Ekiti-6, and Jigawa-4.

The Nigeria’s public health agency said that 1,327 people have been successfully treated and have been discharged, from various isolation center across the country bringing the nation’s total recoveries to 97,228.

“Our discharges today includes 774 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with guidelines,” it stated.

NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, was coordinating response activities nationwide.

With 44,940 COVID-19 infections and 285 deaths recorded, Lagos state remains Nigeria’s worst-hit city, followed by FCT which has recorded 15,770 cases and 119 deaths.

The North Central Zone, Plateau state with confirmed 7,522 cases and 53 deaths so far came third.

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