South Sudan’s Catholic churches may be closed again if the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increase, a bishop has said.
The Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu Martin, noted that keeping churches opened with increasing new cases of the virus is “just donating life to pandemic.”
“If the pandemic increases again we may close our churches because our intention of coming to pray is that God gives us longer life.
“But if we pray and we are infected more – that is not keeping life, that is just donating life to pandemic. As Catholics we must take care of life,” he told worshippers during mass on Sunday.
Catholic churches across the country re-opened on Sunday for the first time in six months, but under strict safety measures.
President Salva Kiir and senior government officials were among worshippers who attended mass in Juba, the capital.
The archbishop said they had waited for permission from the Vatican before resuming mass.
Mosques and other Christian churches re-opened two weeks ago after the government taskforce on Covid-19 lifted restrictions.
Meanwhile, South Sudan at the weekend ordered all schools to reopen across the country after nearly six months of closure.
Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the decision was made in a cabinet meeting on Friday following a presentation by Health Minister Elizabeth Achuei that indicated a significant decline in COVID-19 cases and infections.
He said primary and secondary schools, as well as universities would be reopened.
In her report, Achuei said the number of coronavirus cases had fallen in the country in recent weeks.
As of Friday, South Sudan had a total of 2,578 cases, including 49 deaths and 1,438 recoveries.
“The cabinet has decided that all the higher institutes of learning and schools should resume and should be open,” Lueth said.
He added that the exact date of the reopening would be determined by the ministries of higher education and general education.
Nigeria Announces New 48 COVID-19 Cases
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 48 new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The NCDC, in its verified wedsite on Saturday, noted that COVID-19 related mortalities stands at 1,129 as no new death was recorded in the last 24 hours.
The public health agency said that 95 treated persons were also discharged from various isolation centres across the country.
The NCDC disclosed that the new infections were recorded in 5 states and the Federal Capital Territory with Lagos having 18, FCT 13, Kaduna 6, Rivers and Ogun 5 each and Ondo 1.
It added that 61,930 cases were confirmed with 57,285 cases discharged and 1,129 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as on Saturday.
Meanwhile, NCDC warned Nigerians against complacency in containing the spread of the disease as the pandemic has yet to be defeated even with the low recorded cases recently.
“People are no longer seen wearing mask. People now attend gathering with a few too many guests. People are getting tired of wearing masks and are not keeping physical distance or washing hands.
“We can’t get to zero risk of COVID-19, but we can minimize our risk and ensure we’re not jeopardizing our health or the health of others,” it advised.
Kenya Confirms 947 New COVID-19 Cases
Kenya’s health ministry on Saturday announced it recorded 947 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total number of positive cases in the country to 48,790.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, in a statement, added that the cases were from a sample of 6,862 collected in the last 24 hours.
The statement said that the country’s cumulative tests stand at 653,229.
The CS said 455 people have recovered from the disease, 343 from the Home-Based Care program while 112 have been discharged from various hospitals across the country.
From the cases, 924 are Kenyans while 23 are foreigners. 595 are males while 352 are females.
The youngest from the new cases is a one-year-old child while the oldest is 96.
Kagwe said that 12 people have succumbed to the virus, bringing the number of deaths to 896.
Also, the CS said that 22 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit(ICU), 62 on the supplementary oxygen while 16 are in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).
The number of recoveries increased by 455, where 343 were discharged from the theHome-Based Care Program, while 112 have been discharged from various hospitals. Total recoveries now stand at 33,876.
Uasin Ggishu leads with 181 cases, Nairobi 154, Nakuru 146, Kakamega 46, Mombasa 37, Kisumu 37,Kiambu 30, Kericho 30, Busia 28, Turkana 27, and Laikipia 24.
TransNzoia 21, Migori 20, Kisii 18, Meru 17, West Pokot 15, Marsabit 14,Bungoma 13, Murang’a 11, Vihiga 10, Siaya 9, Bomet 9, Nandi 8,Elgeyo Marakwet 7, Baringo 6, Kajiado 5, Kitui 5, Isiolo 5, Wajir 3,Machakos 2, Kilifi 2, Narok 2, Tharaka Nithi 2, Samburu 2, and Nyeri 1.
The 181 cases in Uasin Gishu are from Ainabkoi (137), Turbo (40), Kesses (2), Kapseret and Moiben(1) case each.
In Nairobi, the 154 cases are from Lang’ata (17)Westlands (13), Embakasi East, Kibra, Makadara and Roysambu (11)cases each, Dagoretti North (10), Embakasi West, Kamukunji, Kasaraniand Starehe (9) cases each, Embakasi Central (8), Dagoretti South andEmbakasi North (6) cases each, Embakasi South and Ruaraka (5) caseseach, Mathare (4).
In Nakuru, the 146 cases are from Nakuru West (54), Nakuru East(51), Gilgil (24), Naivasha (13) and Kuresoi South (4).
Zambia Gets $25M From World Bank To Fight COVID-19
The World Bank on Friday gave Zambia $25m to help the country respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was contained in a statement released by the World Bank office in Zambia.
The funds were approved by the bank’s board on Oct. 20, and would be channelled through the Zambia COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project, the statement said.
According to the statement, 20 million dollars came from the International Development Association (IDA), while 5 million dollars is a grant funding from the bank’s global financing facility.
The financing would support the government to respond, prevent, and detect threats posed by the pandemic and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, the statement added.
It will also support disease surveillance and strengthen surveillance at the entry points.
World Bank Country Manager Sahr Kpundeh said in the statement that “while Zambia has seen a reduction in new cases of COVID-19 in the last two months, it is important that prevention, detection and response measures are scaled up to prevent further spread of the disease.’’
Rapid response is crucial in addressing COVID-19 and to reduce its negative impact on health systems, social services and economic activities, he added.
Rosemary Sunkutu, Senior Nutrition and Population Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project said the project would help strengthen screening at entry points.
“This component of the project is especially important given that Zambia is a landlocked country surrounded by eight countries.
“This predisposes the country to risks of importing diseases from neighbouring countries and beyond.
The funding is part of a broad package of support by the World Bank Group to help Zambia manage and respond to the pandemic.
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