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Zambia Gets $25M From World Bank To Fight COVID-19

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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.

East Africa News

Kenya Looks to China for COVID-19 Vaccine

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President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has ordered the ministry of health to shop for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine in China, a government official has disclosed.

Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe, in a statement on Monday, said President Kenyatta gave the order following the increasing cases of the disease in Kenya.

“Covid-19 seems to be making a comeback with a vengeance and for us in Kenya, the cases in the counties seem to be growing,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said on Monday.

“While Kemri continues to collaborate with AstraZeneca and Oxford University in the trials for this vaccine, the government remains open to other collaborative opportunities.”

On Monday, 302 people tested positive for the virus, from a sample of 3,038 bringing the total of positives since March 13 to 83,618.

The death rate remains high and yesterday 17 people succumbed to the virus, bringing total fatalities to 1,469.

There are now more than 80,000 people who have been confirmed Covid-19 positive in Kenya. More than 1,400 have died from the disease.

The country’s decision comes in the wake of rich countries in the west buying nearly 3.8 billion doses of vaccines currently in development, according to a study by Duke Global Health Innovation Centre.

China has five home-grown vaccine candidates in phase three trials, usually, the last step before government regulators vet the vaccine for approval.

Chinese President Xi Jinping already promised the successful candidates will be offered to Africa at a discounted price leading to China being accused of ‘vaccine diplomacy.’ However, countries, where the Chinese vaccines are being tested, will receive preference.

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Nigeria Records 110 New COVID-19 Infections in 11 States

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed 110 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The NCDC made this known via the agency’s website on Saturday.

The public health agency said that the new cases brought the total number of COVID-19 infections in Nigeria to 67,330.

Nigeria has so far tested 756,237 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced on Feb. 27 this year.

The NCDC said that the new infections were recorded in 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to the centre, the 110 new cases are reported from 11 states with Lagos having 26; the FCT, 23; Kaduna, 20 and Katsina, 11.

Ogun recorded nine cases; Ekiti, six; Plateau, five; Rivers, four; Kano and Nasarawa, three each and Niger had two.

The NCDC said that till date, 67,330 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed out of which 62,819 patients had been discharged from the various isolation centres across the country.

The centre said the nation had so far recorded 1,171 COVID-19-related deaths.

The public health agency said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated at Level 3 to coordinate response activities. (NAN)

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Nigeria’s COVID-19 Deaths Hit 1171, New Cases 246

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Death toll from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria increased to 1,171 after the West African nation announced two new fatalities on Friday.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 246 new cases were also recorded in the country.

The NCDC made this known on its verified website on Friday.

The agency said that the infections brought the total number of cases in the country to 67,220.

Nigeria has tested 756,237 persons since the first confirmed case was announced on Feb. 27.

The country had since April suffered over 67,000 cases as total infections hit 67,220 and total recovery and discharge stood at 62,686.

The agency, however, said that there were two confirmed deaths within the last 24 hours, with 101 patients discharged from isolation centers across the country.

The NCDC said that the new infection were spread across nine states and the Federal Capital Territory.

It noted that Lagos led in the number of cases with 81, 73 in FCT, 39 in Plateau and 25 in Kaduna.

Among other states were Ogun with 13 infections, Bauchi, 5, Rivers, 4 and Ekiti, Taraba and Kano 2 each.

The public health agency said that till date, 67,220 cases had been confirmed, 62,686, discharged and 1,171 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) was activated at Level 3, and had continued to coordinate the national response activities.

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