The German government has agreed to ban all travel from South Africa, Britain, Portugal and Brazil to limit the spread of the more contagious variants of the coronavirus (COVID-19) raging in these countries
Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the restrictions are due to be signed on Friday and could come into force as early as Saturday.
Seehofer announced this ahead of a meeting with EU ministers on Thursday, in an effort to limit new virus mutations entering the country.
The ban will include all air, train and road travel, but German nationals who are returning home could be excluded.
“To protect our population, there should be no entry from regions where these variants of the virus are rampant,” he said on the fringes of a virtual meeting with his EU counterparts.
Earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that she was in favour of tighter travel restrictions, stating at an internal CDU / CSU meeting that Germany should make travel as uncomfortable as possible.
Several other political parties joined the call on Wednesday. Thomas Kreuzer, the Christian Social Union (CSU) parliamentary group leader in Bavaria, said: “In order for restrictions to be successful in one’s own country, the constant introduction of the virus from abroad must be prevented.”
However, the proposal has attracted criticism from the opposition. FDP interior expert Stephan Thomae said that far-reaching travel restrictions were an expression of governmental failure.
“Coronavirus and its mutations are extremely dangerous,” said Thomae. “Nonetheless, we are not at war.”
He called for more rapid coronavirus tests to be offered at national borders and airports.
COVID-19: World Bank Pledges 30 African Countries Vaccine Grants
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.
Zambia to Recruit 395 Health Workers for COVID-19 Fight
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.
Nigeria Receives First Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccines
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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