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Live Reporting

Emmanuel Onyango, Evelyne Musambi and Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.

  4. 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
  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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".

  9. 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:

  10. 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
  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Somalia's 'King of Oud' dies from Covid-19

    Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi, considered one of the founders of modern Somali music, has died in London at the age of 92 after contracting Covid-19.

    Known as "the King of Oud" - the instrument that he played - Hudeydi became a key figure "during the anti-colonial movement and decolonisation period" in Somalia, said Hanna Ali, director of the London-based Kayd Somali arts organisation.

    "In short, his music embodied the sound of the long struggle to freedom and independence," she added in a statement.

    View more on twitter

    He was born in the port city of Berbera in 1928 and then grew up in Yemen but returned home as a young adult, Ms Ali said.

    He moved to London in the 1990s during the civil war in Somalia.

    Writer Nadifa Mohamed is quoted as saying that he transcribed the "independence journey into music and poetry".

    View more on twitter

    Others have also been sharing condolence messages to "one of the greatest Somali musicians of all time":

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  14. Nigeria reports 16 more coronavirus cases

    Chi Chi Izundu

    BBC News, Nigeria

    Firefighters cleaning streets in Abuja, Nigeria - 2 April 2020
    Image caption: Fire service crews have been cleaning the streets during the lockdown to help curb the spread of coronvarius

    Nigeria has confirmed 16 more cases of the coronavirus, the country's centre for disease control has said.

    This takes the total number of confirmed cases in the West African country to 254 and six deaths.

    Ten of the latest cases were reported in the commercial hub of Lagos, which has been under lockdown since last week in order to halt the spread of the virus.

    The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control tweeted about the latest numbers;

    More about coronavirus in Nigeria:

  15. DR Congo frees 1,200 prisoners over virus fears

    The Democratic Republic of Congo's justice ministry has freed 1,200 prisoners in new measures to decongest prisons and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    Those released from prisons were minor offenders, according to Justice Minister Célestin Tunda.

    Seven hundred of the prisoners have been released from the Makala Prison in the capital, Kinshasa, one of the country's most over-crowded jails.

    More inmates will be freed and the minister has urged magistrates and judges to only jail those involved in serious crimes like murder and rape.

    DR Congo has confirmed 180 cases of coronavirus, including 18 deaths.

    The government has imposed a two-week lockdown in Gombe suburb of Kinshasa.

    More about coronavirus:

  16. Somalia now ready to test for coronavirus locally

    Somalia's health ministry has announced that the country is now able to test for coronavirus in the capital, Mogadishu.

    Previously samples were being flown more than 1,200km (742 miles) to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, for testing.

    The ministry's National Public Health Research Laboratory (NPHRL) has now been equipped to carry out the tests.

    The ministry tweeted photographs showing the laboratory:

    View more on twitter

    Somalia has eight confirmed cases of coronavirus.

    More about coronavirus:

  17. Ethiopia's first lady calls for mercy in gospel song

    Bekele Atoma Boru

    BBC Horn of Africa

    Ethiopia’s First Lady Zinash Tayachew has released a gospel song in which she pleads for "God's mercy" as the world battles with the coronavirus pandemic.

    The song does not directly refer to the virus, but has phrases like "do not abandon us during this time when the world is terrorised by bad news".

    The song was released on Tuesday and is titled Maren - an Amharic word meaning "have mercy on us".

    The video has been posted on YouTube and is being shared widely on social media by Ethiopians. It shows the first lady kneeling and praying for "God not to abandon her people":

    View more on youtube

    Ethiopia reported its first case of coronavirus on 12 March and has so far confirmed 52 cases including two deaths.


  18. Kenya's parliament cancels sitting after virus travel ban

    Kenya's parliament buildings
    Image caption: Some MPs were in quarantine after returning from international trips last month

    A recall of Kenya's parliament scheduled for Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi, has been cancelled.

    Lower house Speaker Justin Muturi told local media that the sitting was cancelled after President Uhuru Kenyatta imposed a travel ban on movement in and out of Nairobi.

    Nairobi and areas in the coastal region have been identified as coronavirus hot spots.

    The travel restrictions are intended to prevent the spread of the virus into other regions ahead of the Easter weekend.

    Kenya's Daily Nation and The Star newspapers are quoting sources as saying that some lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday.

    Already some MPs were under a mandatory quarantine after returning from international trips in early March.

    Parliament's leadership had urged members to go for voluntary testing within the precincts of the house. The newspapers report that results of dozens of legislators who were tested over the weekend came out on Monday.

    Normal sittings are to resume next week Tuesday in line with the parliamentary calendar.

    Kenya has confirmed 172 coronavirus cases to date including six deaths.

    More on coronavirus: