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COVID-19: Ethiopia Reports 771 New Cases, Two Deaths

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Ethiopia has registered 771 new Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 136,365, the country’s Ministry of Health announced on Friday.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country reached 2,087 by Friday evening, after two new deaths were reported, the ministry said.

The ministry added that 127 more recoveries were logged during the past 24 hours, taking the national count to 121,987.

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

The country has so far reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the East African region.

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

The East African nation has conducted 1,949,344 COVID-19 tests, including 7,011 new tests in the last 24 hours, said the ministry.

COVID-19 tests conducted in Ethiopia are among the highest in Africa, mainly next to South Africa and Morocco, according to recent figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

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COVID-19: World Bank Pledges 30 African Countries Vaccine Grants

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Not less than thirty African countries will be helped by the World Bank through emergency funding for the procurement of vaccines.

Many African countries are yet to start vaccination programmes although Western nations have already vacccinated millions of people.

A larger percentage of African nations rely on the WHO-backed COVAX facility which has shipped vaccines to three African countries already; Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The World Bank says funds are being prepared for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, eSwatini, Rwanda, Senegal, amongst others but failed to reveal how much they will be getting to aid their vaccines procurement.

The bank has said the funds are available and will be given out as grants to African countries or on highly concessional terms.

A spokesperson of the World Bank said it is the first time the bank will financially back an immunisation plan.

Africa is not as ravaged as the rest of the world but with more than 100,000 deaths recorded so far, the CDC has said it is not in a good place.

Dr. John Nkegasong, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control noted the continent has no business recording as many deaths as it has done.

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Zambia to Recruit 395 Health Workers for COVID-19 Fight

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Zambia’s Minister of Health, Jonas Chanda, has announced plans to recruit 395 health workers to lessen the burden on the workforce worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chanda confirmed that President Edgar Lungu had authorised the hiring of more health workers as part of the COVID-19 response.

“The epidemiology of the COVID-19 has contributed to an unprecedented increase in the demands on the healthcare workforce, and simultaneously
diminished health worker supply,” he said in a statement.

“The ministry has also employed the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes platform to enhance the capacity of the current staff through
mentorship and case management”, said the official.

Chanda acknowledged that the country had seen reduced numbers of COVID-19 cases in the past one week, but warned against complacency.

According to him, more efforts need to be exerted in order to sustain the gains and prevent an anticipated third wave in the cold season.

Zambia recorded 555 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative cases to 79,557. The cases were picked from 6,266 tests done,
representing a nine per cent positivity.

During the same period, the country recorded six deaths, bringing the total deaths to 1,104, while 476 patients were discharged,
bringing the total recoveries to 75,563.

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Nigeria Receives First Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccines

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The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organisation and GAVI’s COVAX facility has arrived Nigeria.

The vaccines were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday morning.

Nigeria has received 3.92million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first batch and it is expected to be administered on health workers, people who work in the essential service areas and some other citizens.

The vaccines with the brand name COVIShield is made as a patent of AstraZeneca vaccine, by the Serum Institute of India.

Nigeria is West Africa’s worst-hit country with 156,017 cases and 1915 deaths recorded so far at a fatality rate of 1.22%, which is lower than the African average of more than 2.5% fatality.

COVAX vaccination programmes have already started in Ivory Coast and Ghana, with President Nana Akufo-Addo and his wife receiving the vaccines publicly on Monday in Accra.

The vaccination rollout and scheduling will be handled by the Nigerian Primary Healthcare board.

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