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Zimbabwe Embassy in South Africa Scales Down Operations

The consulate reassured the public that other emergency services such as burial orders, repatriation of human remains and cancellation of passports remained available.



The Zimbabwe Consulate in South Africa has reduced operations with immediate effect, as a result of the tightening of COVID-19 lockdown and other restriction by the neighbouring country.

The Consulate announced that all consulate appointments have been suspended stretching from January 4, to March 26 while also cutting down by half, the number of clients assisted daily from 600 to 300. The statement reads;

“The consulate undertakes to review this position through a similar communication once circumstances change.

The consulate reassured the public that other emergency services such as burial orders, repatriation of human remains and cancellation of passports remain available.

Please note that clients seeking other services such as temporary travel documents, cancellation of passports and authentication of documents do not require prior booking in order to access service.

Further, clearances for the repatriation of human remains for burial in Zimbabwe will continue to be strictly processed via the existing electronic platforms”.

The reduction of operations by the Zimbabwean Embassy came after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country from level one lockdown to level three on December 28, after a spike in the number COVID-19 cases.

He lamented the unprecedented rate at which the number of infected persons has been rising, with more than 50,000 new cases reported since Christmas Eve.

South Africa’s new strict lockdown regulations state that all persons will be confined to his or her place of residence from the hours of 9pm to 6am daily, and failure to abide by the curfew will attract a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months.

Theatres, Cinemas, museums, casinos, galleries and archives, fitness centres and gyms, restaurants, venues hosting auctions, and venues hosting professional sport must close at 8pm.

South Africa had also detected a new aggressive mutated form of the coronavirus that first emerged in the United Kingdom.

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MTN Donates $25M to the African Union



Telecommunication giant, MTN, has announced a donation of $25million to support the African Union COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, on Wednesday in Johannesburg, said that the donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent.

This he said will contribute to the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and profound, therefore, Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic.

“The sole objective is to restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities and most importantly the determination to bring lasting solutions to the disease,

“On Jan. 14, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union, announced that the African Union had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of its Member States.

“Through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.

“This was an important milestone in efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Africa’s people,’’ Mupita said.

He added that with a population of about 1.3 billion, Africa requires many more doses to achieve at least 60 per cent herd immunity.

Contributions by private organisations, like MTN, are therefore essential to help the continent reach its target.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, MTN has made significant contributions to help limit the spread of the disease and save lives and livelihoods within its African market.

This donation is another example of MTN’s efforts to help find lasting solutions to solve the challenges facing the continent and to guarantee a healthy Africa, for all Africans.

“We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure.

“Therefore, for a successful mass vaccination programme. in the coming months, MTN Group will look at similar support commitments for the markets in which we operate in the Middle East.”Mupita said.

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Nigeria Confirms 15 Additional COVID-19 Deaths



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 15 additional deaths from COVID-19 complications, bringing the total number of death toll in the country to 1,522.

The NCDC disclosed this on its website.

The centre also said that 1,303 new cases of COVID-19 was recorded, bringing the total number of infection in the country to 124,299.

The new infections were reported in 24 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The centre said Lagos, FCT and Nasarawa recorded the highest number of COVID-19 infections on Monday, with 478 , 211 and 83 cases respectively.

Others state with new infections are Rivers-72, Kwara-42, Edo-36, Ondo-34, Benue-32, Kaduna-32, Katsina-26, Plateau-26, Kano-25, Taraba-25, Osun-22, Delta-21, Oyo-21, Niger-19, Sokoto-18, Ebonyi-17, Ekiti-14, Gombe-13, Ogun-12, Bauchi-11, Zamfara-eight, Borno-four and Jigawa-one.

The 1,270,523 people have been tested since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on Feb. 27, 2020.

The agency also announced that 917 patients have been discharged from isolation centres across the country after testing negative to the virus , raising the total number of patients discharged to 99,276.

It added that the discharged included 542 community recoveries in Lagos State, 103 in Plateau and 22 in Kwara, managed in line with NCDC guidelines.

The NCDC noted that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated at Level III, is coordinating response activities nationwide.

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Nigerian Governor, 9 Aides Contract COVID-19



A Nigerian governor, Samuel Ortom, and nine of his aides have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, two statements confirmed on Wednesday.

Ortom, governor of Benue State in Nigeria’s middle belt region, contracted the virus but did not show any symptoms of the virus, his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Terver Akase, said in a statement.

Akase said: “The latest result of the governor’s COVID-19 test has returned positive.

“This follows the test results of most of the governor’s close aides who also returned positive in the last few weeks.

“Though the governor has not shown any symptoms of the disease, he has already commenced treatment as prescribed by medical personnel,” Akase said.

He advised those who have had contact with the governor in the last couple of days to go for tests.

He added that it was equally important that those who came in contact with other persons who had tested positive for COVID-19 should go for test to ascertain their status.

Residents of the state are urged to continue to observe COVID-19 safety protocols such as wearing of face masks, use of hand sanitisers, regular hand washing and physical distancing.

He encouraged the people to go for COVID-19 test as part of efforts in containing the spread of the virus.

Also, Benue Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu, on Wednesday revealed that nine aides of Ortom had tested positive for Coronavirus.

Abounu, who made the disclosure in Makurdi during a press conference, said despite the number of aides that tested positive for the virus, all government activities were going on smoothly.

Abounu, the State Chairman of Action Committee on COVID-19, said the committee had already carried out contact tracing of those who came in contact with all those infected by the virus.

He said though nine aides tested positive for COVID-19, the pandemic had yet to affect the day-to-day running of government in the state.

According to NCDC records, Benue has 749 cases, 196 on admission, 535 persons discharged with 18 deaths.

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