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Dickens Olewe

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  1. SA cycling team to give bicycles to Covid-19 health workers

    Eritrean cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot riding for Qhubeka
    Image caption: Qhubeka has been providing bicycles to children across South Africa

    South Africa's cycling team Qhubeka has said it will provide bicycles to health workers who will be conducting mass testing as part of measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

    South Africa's government plans to test 30,000 people every day and Qhubeka team owner Douglas Ryder told the BBC's Newsday programme that their donation will help get more people tested.

    He said:

    Quote Message: We're embarking on a project now to mobilise those people on bicycles so that they can see more people... and do more during this time of the pandemic."

    The team has a mission to promote cycling in Africa and has been providing bicycles to schoolchildren across South Africa under the slogan "bicycles change lives".

    But it has suspended handing over bicycles to children and is focusing on increasing the mobility of health workers.

    South Africa has to date confirmed more than 1,700 cases of coronavirus, the highest in the continent and is in the second week of a three-week-long nationwide lockdown.

    Read:

  2. How Chineme Martins was failed by Nigerian football

    23-year-old Chineme Martins
    Image caption: 23-year-old Chineme Martins died after collapsing during a Nigerian league game

    One month on from the death of Nigerian footballer Chineme Martins, BBC Sport Africa has analysed the circumstances surrounding the death of the Nasarawa United player.

    Suspected of passing away due to a heart-related issue, Martins collapsed and died during a Nigerian league game on 8 March.

    The treatment he received in the aftermath was far from what he would have hoped for: with the club's defibrillator out-of-date, no paramedics in attendance as per league rules, and an ambulance that failed to start.

    Read the full story on the BBC Sport Africa website

  3. Seychelles to begin 21-day lockdown

    Yasine Mohabuth

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    President Faure (Courtesy: State House)

    Seychelles will from midnight on Wednesday shut down non-essential services and restrict the movements of people for 21 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

    The announcement comes after a 26-year-old Seychellois man, who works as a ground handling staff at the ' international airport, tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, bringing the nation's total cases to 11.

    The airport will remain closed until the end of April while new maritime surveillance will be applied in the island nation, President Danny Faure said in an address on Monday.

    The first Seychellois patient who tested positive for Covid-19 on 14 March, and a Dutch woman who tested positive the following day, have rboth ecovered from the disease, the president said.

    Seychelles, a country of 96,000 people, is a popular tourist hot spot located off the east coast of Africa.

  4. Weah declares state of emergency in Liberia

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    A man washes his hands to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease in Monrovia
    Image caption: Volunteers have set up hand-washing facilities in the capital, Monrovia

    Liberia’s President, George Weah, has declared that a state of emergency should begin at 11:59pm local time on Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Mr Weah has called for an emergency session of parliament so that MPs can endorse the order that will impose restrictions on movement across the country.

    The emergency law will last for three weeks and is renewable “until the threat to Liberia from the Covid-19 virus no longer exists".

    “Throughout this period, residents may leave home only for essential journeys like reasons of health and food which should be restricted to your local communities and be limited to a single person per household for a maximum of one hour,” the president said.

    Mr Weah said he was taking the measure because Covid-19 had "entered a new phase" and it needed to be contained.

    Liberia has recorded 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with four people dying.

  5. SA hospital shut over Covid-19 fears

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    South African Police Service (SAPS) walk past shoppers queuing outside a food store during their operation in Sunnyside, Pretoria
    Image caption: South Africa is in the second week of a nationwide lockdown

    A private hospital in South Africa has been closed to the public after 66 people, 48 of them staff, tested positive for Covid-19, South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, has said.

    The health ministry had been worried about St Augustine's private hospital in the coastal city of Durban for a number of days now.

    It became clear last Friday that there was a cluster of cases associated with the hospital, the ministry said.

    At that point, an appeal went out for anyone who had visited the facility since the beginning of March to get tested.

    The provincial health minister has suggested that the hospital might not have properly reported the number of Covid-19 cases it was treating, and had failed to properly test for the virus.

    All patients in the facility are now being checked for coronavirus.

    Those who test negative will be transferred to other hospitals in the area, while those who test positive will be required to stay at the hospital for treatment.The hospital’s operator – Netcare – said in a statement that "a deep clean" of the hospital was ongoing.

    The statement said that the ideal situation would be for hospitals to test regularly every person coming into the hospital, but sadly that situation was not currently possible.

    View more on twitter
  6. Risk of violence warning ahead of Burundi poll

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A new report has warned of the risk of serious violence ahead of Burundi's elections scheduled for next month.

    The International Crisis Group (ICG) said the government's collection by force of public contributions toward the poll is increasing tension in the volatile country.

    The scheme was meant to end last year, but the ICG says the Imbonerakure youth militia continues to collect money and goods.

    It says some of the funds are being embezzled and used to finance the militia.

    There has been no word so far from the government.

    Burundi has been in crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in office in 2015.

  7. African poets share 'vulnerable' poem in time of Covid-19

    Thirteen poets from across the continent have been recording themselves reading lines from The Passage, a 1962 poem from Nigerian writer Christopher Okigbo, to try and bring the work to a wider audience during coronavirus lockdowns.

    The round-robin reading has now been edited together into one video:

    View more on twitter

    The poem begins with the lines:

    BEFORE YOU, my mother Idoto,

    Naked I stand;

    Before your weary presence,

    A prodigal

    Nigerian writer and poet Lola Shoneyin, who organised the project, is on a mission to "introduce young readers and writers to some of the amazing poets that this continent has produced".

    She told the BBC that she chose the poem "because of the sense of vulnerability it evokes".

    "A lot of people are feeling vulnerable because Covid-19 is so indiscriminate. People are feeling sober and humble.

    "I think the supplication in Okigbo’s work, captures the moment perfectly.

    "I’d love to see more young people reading Okigbo. They will find hope there too."

    The poets who took part in the projects were Wana Udobang, Logan February, Lebo Mashile, Titi Sonuga, Lemn Sisay, TJ Dema, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Clifton Gachagua, Nick Makoha, Efe Paul Azino, Kayo Chigonyi, Kola Tubosun and Natalia Molebatsi.

  8. African leaders back WHO head against Trump attacks

    Rwanda's President Paul Kagame is the latest African leader to defend the World Health Organization (WHO) and its head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus against attacks by US President Donald Trump.

    Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the WHO was "very China-centric" yet it is "largely" funded by the US.

    He warned that he could stop funding the global health organisation.

    Earlier AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat had defended the Ethiopia WHO chief and Mr Kagame backed this up.

    "Totally agree, and asking this: Is it Dr Tedros, WHO, China... under attack or all of them together?":

    View more on twitter

    Namibia's President Hage Geingob also supported Dr Tedros, the first African to head WHO, calling him a "true flag bearer of multi-lateralism when global solidarity has become critical".

    View more on twitter
  9. WHO warns of 'new front' in Covid-19 battle

    Coronavirus has spread exponentially in recent weeks across the continent and the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of a "new front" in the battle.

    Africa has now recorded more than 10,000 cases.

    Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's Africa director, said that “Covid-19 has the potential not only to cause thousands of deaths, but to also unleash economic and social devastation.

    "Its spread beyond major cities means the opening of a new front in our fight against this virus."

    View more on twitter
  10. Lagos lockdown hits homeless citizens

    Helen Oyibo

    BBC Pidgin, Lagos

    The buildings that were destroyed in the explosion

    Residents of Abule Ado, in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, have been hit hard by the ongoing lockdown after their houses were destroyed in an explosion in March, caused by a lorry hitting some gas cylinders.

    The homeless people have had to sleep outside or in crowded houses disregarding advice from the World Health Organization on social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    Lagos, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, is on a two-week lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce its spread.

    Peace Dim, a young mother of two whose house was destroyed in the explosion, has been living in a crowded house with other families that were affected.

    Social distancing is not an option for her as it is more important for her to have a roof over her children’s heads.

    “In this house now, we have three married men whose wives are squatting elsewhere, two bachelors, a spinster, including myself, my children and a friend’s child. The son of the man who owns the house is also here," she told the BBC.

    Joseph Ojukwu points at his apartment block destroyed by the explosion

    Joseph Ojukwu was a landlord with six apartments and six shops blocks but now he lives in a friend’s house.

    “I now sleep on a friend’s couch,” Mr Ojukwu said..

    He was forced to send his wife and children back to the village to avoid overcrowding his friend’s house.

    There are 254 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria and there have been six deaths caused by the virus.

  11. How coronavirus inspired a gangland truce

    Andrew Harding

    BBC Africa correspondent

    An unprecedented truce has broken out in the notorious, crime-infested townships around Cape Town, as rival gang leaders stop their turf wars to bring food to households.

    With South Africa in the middle of a lockdown, many people in poor communities are struggling to buy the goods that they need.

    A virus and a nationwide emergency may have achieved what the police and the army have failed to do here.

    Instead of selling drugs and robbing people, rival gangs are bagging up food supplies for hungry families. There is relief here for sure that a ceasefire has taken hold during the lockdown.

    But it is hard to tell what people here really think about the men who have terrorised their neighbourhoods for decades - and the authorities are sceptical.

    The temporary ceasefire offers the slither of a hope that the virus will bring lasting change to some of the most dangerous streets in the world.

    Video content

    Video caption: How coronavirus inspired a gangland truce in South Africa
  12. Manslaughter charges for Tunisia Covid-19 spreaders

    Tunisia has deployed robots on the streets to enforce restrictions on people's movements
    Image caption: Tunisia has deployed robots on the streets to enforce restrictions on people's movements

    The Tunisian authorities have warned that those infected with coronavirus who contaminate others and disobey government measures to halt its spread could be charged with manslaughter.

    Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi said the government would strictly apply the law in order to fulfil its responsibility to protect the people.

    Tunisia has imposed a night-time curfew and restrictions on movement during the day.

    But the authorities say that around 1,000 people have been arrested for breaking the curfew at night and hundreds more for breaching daytime regulations.

    Read: Tunisia deploys police robot on lockdown patrol

  13. Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus in Nigeria: The engineers fixing ventilators for free

    The pair discovered the faulty machines at a hospital in Nigeria and taught themselves to fix them.

  14. Ugandan police officers charged for 'torturing' women

    A Ugandan police officer beats a woman
    Image caption: Uganda is on a two-week lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus

    Ten police officers in Uganda have been charged for allegedly torturing a group pf women while enforcing a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Uganda Police Force said on Tuesday.

    The officers were accused of caning 38 women and forcing them to swim in mud in the northern town of Elegu.

    The 10 officers would be held in custody until 7 May, the police said.

    Photos of the women showing injuries they had sustained and their muddy clothes were shared online over the weekend.

    View more on twitter

    Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said on Monday that the officers used a "heavy-handed approach" to disperse the women, adding that the incident was being investigated.

    President Yoweri Museveni last week told police officers not to arrest people inside their compounds.

  15. King of Oud 'not afraid to sing his mind'

    Reflections on the late Somali musician Hudeydi

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi
    Image caption: Hudeydi performed his last concert in February

    Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi, who died from Covid-19 at the age of 92, remained hugely popular until his death.

    He first came across the oud at a party in Yemen when he was 14 years old.

    Hudeydi said his love for the instrument was like an illness, whenever he saw one he just had to play it.

    He was an important figure in Somalia's independence movement, never afraid to speak, or sing, his mind.

    At one time the authorities tried to ban his music, describing it as "the devil's work".

  16. SA minister suspended for breaking lockdown rules

    Pumza Fihlani

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    South Africa’s communications minister has been suspended for two months – one of which will be without pay – for having lunch with a friend during the coronavirus lockdown.

    Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been the talk of the town since a photograph of her eating with Mduduzi Manana surfaced this week.

    The image, which shows the two enjoying a meal at a table with four of Mr Manana’s family members, was posted on one of his social media accounts and has been re-posted by others many times:

    View more on twitter

    South Africans have been called on to stay at home during the lockdown - now in its second week - and only go out and about for essential trips, such as work, to buy food or to seek medical care.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has talked to the minister about the picture, said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “unmoved” by the reasons she gave for being there".

    “None of us - not least a member of the National Executive – should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation,” he said.

    The president added that “no-one is above the law”.

    Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has apologised saying she was "deeply sorry" for her actions.

    "I hope the president and South Africans will find it in their hearts to forgive me,” she added.

    View more on twitter

    Earlier, Mr Manana, a former deputy minister, said that the visit was work related.

    He said that she went to his house in order to collect face masks that he was donating through his foundation to help in the fight against Covid-19.

    South Africa’s government has largely been praised for its efforts in containing the spread of the virus, even by opposition parties.

    Mr Ramaphosa needed to act quickly – but it is not clear if the censure will be enough to appease those who were calling for Ms Ndabeni–Abrahams to be sacked over the incident.

    Read and watch more about the lockdown:

  17. AU backs WHO against Trump attacks

    The African Union (AU) has said that it fully supports the World Health Organization and its leader Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus after attacks by the US President Donald Trump.

    AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat tweeted that he was "surprised by the US campaign against WHO's global leadership".

    He added that the AU "fully backs WHO and Dr Tedros":

    View more on twitter

    Dr Tedros, an Ethiopian national, is the first African to head the WHO.

    President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the WHO was "very China-centric" yet it is "largely" funded by the US.

    He later suggested in a press conference that the US should "put a hold on money" to the global organisation.

    One reason Mr Trump's cites for his views on the WHO, is its advice in February against imposing travel restrictions against China, when most cases of Covid-19 were concentrated there.

    View more on twitter
  18. BreakingEthiopia declares state of emergency over conronavirus

    Ethiopia's prime minister has declared a state of emergency because of the threat from coronavirus.

    This is the country’s third state of emergency in four years. Details are yet to emerge what restrictions the decree will bring.

    The country currently has 52 confirmed cases and two people have died.

  19. Africans 'evicted from Chinese hotels over Covid-19 fears'

    Danny Vincent

    BBC News, Hong Kong

    Africans evicted from Chinese hotels over Covid-19 fears

    Hundreds of African residents and businessmen in China's southern city of Guangzhou have been evicted from hotels and apartments as local health officials rollout a testing campaign for Covid-19, community leaders have told the BBC.

    Those evicted say they are being discriminated against.

    “They are accusing us of having the virus," said Tobenna Victor, a Nigerian student in Guangzhou.

    "We paid rent to them and after collecting rent they chased us out of the house. Since last night we have been sleeping outside."

    Businessman Lunde Okulunge Isidore, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said: "They came to my house. They told me to wait after 24 hours for the result, [but] after 24 hours nobody contacted me."

    Lunde Okulunge Isidore
    Image caption: Mr Isidore says he is still waiting for results of his testing

    Some residents have told the BBC that they have been evicted from their apartments, others say that they have been put into forced quarantine without knowing the results of their tests.

    On Tuesday, Chinese officials denied online rumours that the virus was spreading in African communities and that parts of the city where Africans reside were under lockdown.

    Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.

    There are rising concerns in China over the increase in number of imported Covid-19 cases, which authorities fear could fuel a second outbreak.

    Since March, Guangzhou has required people arriving from abroad to be quarantined for 14 days.