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Zimbabwe bans traditional funerals as Covid-19 cases surge

Public viewing of bodies and the tradition of having a corpse stay overnight in the family’s home before burial has also been banned by the police.

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Zimbabwe has placed a ban on families transporting dead relatives to their areas of birth for burial as it battles to halt the rising spread of the coronavirus.

The decision to ban the movement of corpses between cities followed a rise in the numbers of Covid-19 cases after the festive season that saw the country imposing a stricter lockdown on January 4.

Public viewing of bodies and the tradition of having a corpse stay overnight in the family’s home before burial has also been banned by the police.

“Police will only clear body movements for burial straight from a funeral parlour/hospital mortuary to the burial site,” said Paul Nyathi, the police spokesperson, who also is the Assistant Commissioner.

The Zimbabwe Association for Human Rights Doctors (ZAHDR) however criticized the drastic measures, saying the approach was not grounded by science.

“They seem to be using guidelines from Ebola and cholera outbreaks. Yet the pathophysiology of the diseases is different,” said Norman Matara, a ZAHDR official.

“Are these decisions scientifically driven?

“What are the benefits of disinfecting a burial site before the burial?

“The risk of transmission is more from gatherings during a burial and less likely from the dead body.

“Our policies should ensure compliance and restrictions of gatherings during a burial, not restricting the corpse from being moved to a preferred burial site.”

The United States Centres for Disease Control (CDC) notes that “there is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of Covid-19.”

As of January 11, the number of positive COVID-19 cases recorded in Zimbabwe had risen to 22,297 with 528 deaths and 13,213 recoveries.

The country’s health system is already struggling to cope with the surge in Covid-19 cases as hospitals and care centers are running out of beds for patients who need hospitalisation.

Authorities say investigations are underway to figure out whether the new Covid-19 strains are driving the infections in Zimbabwe.

South Africa and the United Kingdom have in recent months discovered new Covid-19 variants that are said to spread much faster. Both countries have large populations of Zimbabwean immigrants,

In December, when Zimbabwe reopened its borders after closing them for over eight months to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, a huge number of citizens travelled home for the Christmas holiday.

On January 5, the borders were closed again after Covid-19 infections went out of control.

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Ethiopia Announces 469 New COVID-19 cases

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Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health has announced 469 new Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 133,767.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country reached 2,066 by Sunday evening, after three new deaths were reported, the ministry said.

It said 686 more recoveries were logged during the past 24 hours, taking the national count to 119,416.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the countries the hardest hit by COVID-19 in Africa, after South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt.

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

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Tunisian Foreign Minister Tests Positive for COVID-19

The minister said he had been exhibiting severe symptoms and urged Tunisians to protect themselves from the virus.

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Tunisia’s foreign minister, Othman Jerandi has tested positive for COVID-19.

Jerandi made his COVID status public on his official twitter page.

“My COVID-19 test was positive today, although I complied with health protocols and adhered to all measures,” Othman Jerandi said on Twitter.

Tunisia’s foreign minister said he had been exhibiting severe symptoms and urged Tunisians to protect themselves from the virus.

“This has made me more insistent on the supply of vaccines to protect my country’s people from the pandemic,” he added.

According to a tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University, Tunisia has reported more than 197,000 infections and over 6,200 deaths from the virus. More than 144,000 people have so far recovered.

Since December 2019 when the virus originated in China, the pandemic has claimed more than 2.12 million lives in 192 countries and regions.

According to Johns Hopkins, recorded COVID-19 cases worldwide have exceeded 99.13 million, with recoveries over 54.69 million.

In terms of cases, the worst hit countries remain the US, India and Brazil.

Earlier this month, a 4-day nationwide lockdown was imposed in Tunisia. The lockdown started from Thursday January 14, as authorities moved to curb alarming covid-19 contaminations.

The measure which the country took reduce the spread of the virus includes a nationwide curfew from 4pm to 6am, suspension of school classes until January 24, and a ban on all cultural events. Restaurants and cafes were ordered not to provide seats for their clients.

The move came a few days after President Kais Saied lambasted the government over the handling of the pandemic despite several measures put in place to stem contaminations.

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Nigeria Records Lowest Single-Day COVID-19 Infection in Three Weeks

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Nigeria health agency has confirmed 964 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the country’s lowest single day infection since January 3.

The additional cases takes total confirmed infections in the country to 121,566.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this on its official website on Sunday.

It said that the country has so far tested 1,258,534 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on Feb. 27, 2020.

The country has also recorded its lowest daily figure of new coronavirus infections since Jan. 3, when 917 cases wete reported.

The agency also confirmed additional two coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,504.

It noted that the additional 964 new COVID-19 infections were from 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The NCDC stated that Lagos state topped the list with 360 infections, followed by FCT with 88, Ogun with 73, and Imo with 72 cases.

Other states with new COVID-19 infections were Kaduna-67, Plateau-57, Abia-41, Osun-41, Rivers-32, Kano-26, Niger-24, Benue-23, Edo-20, Cross River-20, Akwa Ibom-8, Nasarawa-6, Zamfara-6, Ekiti-6, and Jigawa-4.

The Nigeria’s public health agency said that 1,327 people have been successfully treated and have been discharged, from various isolation center across the country bringing the nation’s total recoveries to 97,228.

“Our discharges today includes 774 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with guidelines,” it stated.

NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, was coordinating response activities nationwide.

With 44,940 COVID-19 infections and 285 deaths recorded, Lagos state remains Nigeria’s worst-hit city, followed by FCT which has recorded 15,770 cases and 119 deaths.

The North Central Zone, Plateau state with confirmed 7,522 cases and 53 deaths so far came third.

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