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England Bans Visitors from Southern Africa to Curb New COVID-19 Variant

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England has banned visitors from countries near South Africa to stop the spread of the new Covid-19 variant.

This ban becomes effective from Saturday, January 9, 2021.

Visitors from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, as well as island nations Mauritius and Seychelles, will be affected but British and Irish nationals are exempted.

The restriction also affects Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Mozambique and will apply to people who have travelled from or through any of the specified countries in the last 10 days.

However, British and Irish nationals will need to follow existing quarantine procedures.

The new measures will be in place for an initial period of two weeks.

It would be recalled that the UK had imposed a ban on travellers from South Africa on 24 December 2020.

Meanwhile, Botswana, and the islands of Seychelles and Mauritius, are being removed from the UK list of safe travel corridors as there is a high frequency of travel between the islands and South Africa.

The new variant of the coronavirus is not in South Africa alone, it is also present in the UK and a few other countries.

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The Gambia Signs Protective Cooperation Deal with Switzerland

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The Gambian government says it has signed a Cooperation Agreement on migration matters with the government of Switzerland.

The Gambian government says the cooperation agreement is meant to curb irregular migration and ensure effective protection of the rights of Gambian citizens who are migrants in Switzerland.

“The Agreement will create cordial working relations between the government of The Gambia and the government of Switzerland in identifying opportunities, coordinating and managing challenges of migration.

These, the two countries believe, will further strengthen relations and deepen cooperation with regard to the effective management of migration, unemployment and creation of more opportunities for women and youth in The Gambia,” the statement said.

The statement reads that the Gambian government further negotiated for all undocumented Gambian migrants in Switzerland to be trained on livelihood skills and integrated in the Swiss community.

“As The Gambia progresses in enhancing its democracy, there is a need to ensure that the country adheres to international Human Rights Instruments by respecting the laws of other countries whilst also ensuring that Gambian citizens within and outside enjoy the required protection of the Government.

“In this regard, the Gambian Government and the Government of Switzerland agreed that all legal remedies will be exhausted before any voluntary returnees will be repatriated,” the statement pointed out.

The statement also said that the Gambian government further assured all Gambians that it was approaching migration as a developmental issue and that the signed cooperation agreement would also pave the way for the establishment of a multi-purpose skills training centre and create other opportunities for young people to achieve their goals in The Gambia.

The statement said both countries agreed on the spelt-out modalities which serve as an enabling tool to ensure equitable and balanced intervention with a view to attaining dignified life for Gambians in Switzerland and Swiss citizens in The Gambia.

Furthermore, as part of efforts to strengthen the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the two countries and on the invitation of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, the Vice President and Federal Councillor of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis, is expected to visit The Gambia on Friday, 12 February, 2021.

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East Africa News

Rwandan Immigration Services go Online Amid Covid-19 Lockdown

The agency has also made available, a list of mobile phone numbers and emails that can be used by those seeking the services.

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The Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration (DGIE) has announced that all its services will be available online, following the two-week lockdown imposed on Kigali city.

The announcement says that the five online services include applying for passports, visa and permits, Refugee Travel Documents, Laissez Passer and those sending correspondences, mails among others.

According to the announcement, those seeking special services that require physical presence are advised to contact the migration office for further guidance using the contact information shared on migration social media platforms.

The Rwandan Immigration Services has also made available, a list of mobile phone numbers and emails that can be used by those seeking the services.

The general public is advised to make use of the agency’s websites, www.migration.gov.rwwww.irembo.gov.rw and social media platforms on Facebook ‘RwandaImmigration’, and twitter ‘@Rwandamigration’.

Since the Kigali International Airport will remain open for inbound and outbound travellers according to the cabinet resolutions, immigration services will definitely be needed.

According to the resolution, passengers who are arriving must present a negative PCR taken within 120 hours prior to their first departure while those departing must present a negative PCR.

The government has also approved designated hotels for arriving passengers which will remain open under strict Covid-19 prevention measures.

Cabinet said tourism activities will continue in strict adherence with Covid-19 health guidelines as guests are facilitated by hotels, tour operators and transport services.

Rwanda had, by January 20, recorded a total of 11,860 positive COVID-19 cases, with 7,812 recoveries. The death toll as a result of COVID-19 related issues is now at 153.

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Corruption Scandal Rocks Nelson Mandela Foundation

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The Nelson Mandela Foundation has confirmed that it is investigating allegations against its own senior managers.

The foundation, which seeks to promote the legacy of the world statesman who died in 2013, has been left red-faced after an anonymous complaint from staff members accused Chief Executive Officer, Sello Hatang, and Chief Operations Officer, Limpho Monyamane, of graft.

These allegedly include procurement impropriety and the misuse of the foundation’s corporate credit cards for personal purchases at fast food restaurants, bookstores, hardware and sporting goods stores

Foundation chairman Prof. Njabulo Ndebele, in a vague statement on Wednesday, said the investigation was initiated on December 15 2020 after an email from unidentified staff members a day earlier.

“The foundation takes allegations of such a nature very seriously and is committed to ensuring a fair and proper outcome,” said the statement.

The foundation was established in 1999 when Mandela stepped down as the President of South Africa. It seeks to contribute to making a just society by mobilising his legacy, providing public access to information on his life and times, and to convene dialogue on critical social issues.

The foundation said that interviews were currently being conducted with management, staff and a small number of service providers to ensure all sides of the story are heard.

“The foundation is deeply committed to transparency and good governance, and will ensure that it acts in the best interests of its stakeholders, management and staff.”

“In line with this, the outcome of the investigation will be made public once the process is completed and the investigative report has been considered by the board. This will include details of the investigation itself, how and by whom it was undertaken, and any recommendations that may be made.”

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