Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zim declares disaster state, no confirmed Covid-19 cases

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s president has declared a state of national disaster as the country anticipates the impact of the novel coronavirus, even though there are no confirmed infections there. Anadulo Agency reported that the action came after a UK tourist tested positive following a trip to Victoria Falls. It reported that president Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a proclamation on Tuesday, banning gatherings of more than 100 people. The action echoes measures taken in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a sombre call to action on Sunday as the number of infections in SA increased. No deaths have been reported in SA. In line with Ramaphosa’s announcement, schools closed on Wednesday and many mass events were either postponed or cancelled. VOA Zimbabwe reported that schools will not be closed but that life for citizens would “drastically change”.

South Africa’s coronavirus cases rise sharply to 116

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has seen another jump in coronavirus cases – with 116 now confirmed as the country introduces new measures to shut its borders and schools across the country. The numbers are still rising sharply from one case a fortnight ago. Most of those with the virus brought it back from abroad – from Britain in particular. But 14 cases of local transmission have now been confirmed, putting pressure on the authorities to try to halt its spread. All schools in SA have closed from Wednesday. Foreigners travelling from badly affected countries are also barred from entry as of now. In Cape Town, 1 700 people are waiting to learn when they’ll be allowed to leave a cruise ship, after six people with symptoms of the virus were taken ashore for testing. In Johannesburg, officials are discussing ways to limit panic buying, while private clinics are offering drive-through testing.

Chad ‘repaying US$100m debt to Angola with cattle’

LUANDA — Chad is repaying Angola a debt of US$100m with cattle, Angola’s state-run newspaper has reported. The unusual agreement is seen as creating a win-win situation for both nations – Chad is short of cash while Angola needs cattle. More than 1 000 cows arrived by ship in Angola’s capital, Luanda, as the first payment, Jornal de Angola reported. In total, Angola would receive 75 000 cattle over 10 years, meaning it has accepted payment of US$1 333 per animal. Chad would send a further 3 500 head of cattle later this month, the report added. Chad had proposed repaying the 2017 debt with cattle, and Angola had agreed because it would help the southern African state rebuild its cattle population in drought-affected areas, the state-run daily paper said. Angola is often hit by drought, causing animals to die of hunger and thirst and leaving many villagers destitute.

Tunisia imposes 12-hour curfew to halt virus spread

TUNIS — Tunisia is imposing a curfew of 12 hours a day to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In his first televised address to the nation about the virus, president Kais Saied announced that the new measure started yesterday evening at 18h00 local time (17h00 GMT), with the army patrolling the streets. The country has confirmed 24 cases of the virus. More than 2 000 recent travellers are in self-quarantine, according to official figures. The Tunisian president told the public not to be scared, describing the measure as a sacrifice that needed to be made at this time and adding that life may return to normal in 15 days. The curfew follows other restrictions on free movement in recent days, including the closure of Tunisia’s airspace and land borders for commercial travel, with the exception of trade in goods.

 – Nampa-AFP-BBC News-News24

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