Guinea-Bissau's Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Na Biam tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Health Minister Antonio Deuna announced on Tuesday night on national television.
The prime minister's infection is a community transmission case, said Deuna.
He also revealed that some members of the government have been tested and are waiting for the results.
Biam is the first member of the government to test positive for COVID-19.
In order to fight against the spread of the pandemic, the government of Guinea-Bissau has decided it's necessary to maintain the restrictive measures that have been put in place, including the closing of borders, restaurants, bars, places of worships and schools, and banning gathering of people.
A curfew has been imposed between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and people are only allowed to leave their homes between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to go shopping and buy food.
The President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo announced last Sunday to extend the state of emergency again across the country till May 11.
So far, Guinea-Bissau has recorded 75 confirmed cases, including 18 cured and 1 death.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 jolted 100km WNW of Namatanai, Papua New Guinea on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 3.276 degrees south latitude and 151.6175 degrees east longitude.
Guinea-Bissau reported the country's first death related to COVID-19 on Sunday, announced Dionisio Kumba, member of the interministerial commission for the prevention and fight against COVID-19.
"The death was reported from Simao Mendes National Hospital, it was General Biom Nantchongo, National Police Commissioner for Public Order," Mr. Kumba explained without giving further details.
The President of the Republic Umaro Sissoco Embalo also decided this Sunday to extend the state of emergency from zero o'clock of April 27 to May 11.
On April 11, Embalo already extended the state of emergency which would end this Sunday at midnight.
Guinea-Bissau currently has 52 COVID-19 cases, including 3 cured, 1 death and 48 still under treatment.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 jolted 92km WNW of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea at 13:43:57 GMT on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 3.9414 degrees south latitude and 151.3825 degrees east longitude.
As the world battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Africa has recorded 9,106 COVID-19 recoveries from its 30,329 confirmed cases in 52 African countries.
Data from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), shows that as at 9 a.m. East Africa Time on April 26, the continent had recorded 1, 374 COVID-19 deaths.
The breakdown of the cases by regions, reveal that the Northern Africa region with 12,479 cases has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases; Western region 7,373; Southern 4, 698; Eastern 3,127 and Central 2,652 cases.
Recoveries of COVID-19 patients by regions, shows that the Northern Africa region with 3,361 cases has the highest COVID-19 recoveries; Western region 2,283; Southern 1,553; Eastern 1,076 and Central 833 recoveries.
However, mortality figure by region, indicates that the Northern Africa region with 926 cases has the highest COVID-19 deaths; Western region 185; Southern 100; Eastern 71 and Central 92 deaths.
South Africa with 4,361 cases has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa, Algeria with 1,479 has the highest recoveries of COVID-19 cases, followed by South Africa and Egypt with 1,473 and 1,114 recoveries respectively.
Countries with no COVID-19 mortality are Central Africa Republic; Chad; Sao Tome & Principe; Eritrea; Madagascar; Seychelles, Rwanda; South Sudan, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia; and Guinea-Bissau.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Africa recorded its first COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 in Egypt.
Since then, considerable efforts had gone into fighting COVID-19 in Africa and worldwide, with African countries using lessons from the Ebola outbreak to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the continent.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked political players in Guinea-Bissau to accept the results of last year's presidential election and work to form a new government, said his spokesman.
Guterres took note of Thursday's decision by the heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to recognize Umaro Sissoco Embalo as the winner of the presidential election in Guinea-Bissau, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.
Guterres encouraged all Bissau-Guinean actors to work inclusively and constructively to implement relevant ECOWAS decisions, particularly regarding the appointment of a prime minister and the formation of a new government, in full compliance with the constitution, and taking into account the results of the March 2019 legislative elections, said the statement.
Guterres reiterated the UN's commitment to continue to accompany Bissau-Guineans in their efforts to consolidate peace, democracy and sustainable development, it said.
Embalo finished second in the first round of voting on Nov. 24. He won 54 percent of the vote in the second round run-off on Dec. 29 against Domingos Simoes Pereira, who led in the first round.
Pereira refused to concede and challenged the outcome. Embalo swore him in as president in February 2020 without clearance from either the Supreme Court or Parliament.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 jolted 132 km west of Panguna, Papua New Guinea, on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The quake, which occurred at 0253 GMT, was initially determined to be at 6.5105 degrees south latitude and 154.3008 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 16.9 km.
Stating that COVID-19 is a clarion call for Africa to prioritize digital connectivity and governance, Africans have noted that innovative technology and connectivity is key to fight the novel coronavirus disease on the African continent.
This came on Thursday at a livestreamed event organized in collaboration with Ant Financial Services of the Alibaba Group, on "leveraging technology in assisting African countries in the fight against COVID-19," according to a statement from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Friday.
The event has brought together leaders of the Asian tech giant, some African ministers of technology and telecommunication, private sector actors across the continent as well as innovation and digital economy activists.
The participants of the virtual high-level policy dialogue have agreed that technology is a common denominator in mitigating the impact of the pandemic, restoring livelihoods and tackling similar challenges in the future.
Dealing with the health and economic challenges of COVID-19 has made one point abundantly clear for African countries that Africans need broadband, faster, cheaper, and expanded to the last mile of our populations, said Vera Songwe, ECA Executive Secretary.
"It is clear that the novel coronavirus has led to physical confinement in many parts of the world but enterprises which leverage the power of digital and innovative technologies continue doing business, in fact, even more business as Ant Financial has demonstrated in offering financial solutions to 10 million additional customers in the midst of the crisis," said Songwe.
Ant Financial's representatives explained that they have so far used digital technology to help businesses boost online trade, build intelligent networks to support agriculture and food chain delivery, practice online medical consultations, carry out online job search and provide contactless loans to Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs).
"We believe that leveraging digital transformation during this crisis will save lives and jobs especially in tourism and related services," said Eric Jing, Executive Chairman of Ant Financial and Member of the Advisory Board to ECA's Digital Centre of Excellence, adding that thanks to the power of technology, "the world will emerge stronger, working together."
Moustapha Diaby, Minister of Digital Economy, Post and Telecommunications of Guinea and Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy of Togo, have noted that COVID-19 was a clarion call for Africa to prioritize digital connectivity and governance.
Tracing the spread of COVID-19 in order to flatten the curve in Guinea has proved difficult in the absence of a digital identification system, said Diaby mentioning it as an example.
But to use the resources at hand efficiently, his country's government is capitalizing on bulk SMS messaging and the use of mobile telephony networks to push public service announcements via ring tones in the major languages of the country, he said.
Panelists have emphasized the need for African governments, in synergy with the private sector and civil society, to collaborate on aggregating solutions and avoiding duplication of efforts to fight against COVID-19.
Amel Saidane, President of Tunisia Startups, explained that her country's government is already taking that route and has sought for a North Africa regional collaborative platform to pool together the flood of ideas and solutions from public-private partnerships.
The dialogue ended with a general agreement on the need to quickly set up a collaborative platform for immediately helping businesses to sell African products on and beyond the continent in this time of crisis.
The panelists agreed to reconvene quickly to act on these recommendations.
The livestreamed event agreed that it is time for faster, cheaper broadband, down to the last mile and that more conversations needed to aggregate African solutions against COVID-19, among others.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on Thursday said Africa now has over 25, 000 COVID-19 reported cases with South Africa accounting for most cases.
Moeti made this known during the WHO COVID-19 Africa Media briefing.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the WHO COVID-19 Africa Media is aimed at taking a look at how Africa has been handling the COVID-19 pandemic with focus on the situation in Nigeria.
The media briefing was organised with the support from the World Economic Forum as part of the COVID-19 Action Platform and how to minimise its impact in Africa.
The speakers were: Moeti; the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu; National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force, COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu; and WHO Emergency Operation Programme Manager, Dr Michael Yao.
Moeti, responding to the number of COVID-19 cases, said that Africa now accounted for more than 25,000 confirmed cases.
“On the African continent, we now have more than 25,000 confirmed cases which brings to concern increase in some countries in West Africa.
“South Africa remains the most affected country with 3,300 cases.
“We are working through our country representatives to advise and advocate with the government to stem the tide.
“South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire and Guinea are the most affected by the pandemic in the WHO African region in terms of the number of cases.
“Together these countries account for 66 per cent of cases in the region as there have been an increase of 43 per cent in the past week and 38 per cent increase in the number of deaths reported,” she said.
Moeti also commended Nigeria for the efforts at curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, adding that there were concerns about various methods being adopted to curb spread of the pandemic.
“In Nigeria, we are seeing strong leadership, private sector partnerships and scaling-up the key public health measures.
“We recognise the challenges of locking down a city in the presence of social economic situation and balancing that with the socioeconomic impact.
“We are concerned that in some settings, physical distancing measures are preventing people from accessing life-saving health services. Even, in times of lockdown, these essential services must continue.
“We will continue to urge the government to follow the data and works in ways that are evidence-based,” she said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja via teleconference participated in extraordinary summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the summit was conveyed by the regional leaders to deliberate on the COVID-19 pandemic which has continued to ravage humanity worldwide.
In his remarks at the event, the Chairman of the ECOWAS and President of Niger Republic, Alhaji Mahamadou Issoufou, raised alarm over the devastating effects of the deadly virus on human and economies of the member-states.
He, therefore, for called for collaborative efforts among the member-states to combat the pandemic, which he said had already claimed many lives in the region and beyond.
The Nigerien president, who spoke in French language, also advocated for total debts cancellation for African countries to enable the African continent to survive the post-coronavirus era.
While commending the World Bank and Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for their contributions so far towards fighting the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, Issoufou urged the two financial institutions to do more for the African continent so as to save more lives.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel (SRSG), Mr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who spoke at the event, reiterated the determination of the UN to continue to partner with the African Union the ECOWAS in fighting the deadly Coronavirus.
He Also called for debt cancellation for African countries as part of palliatives to cushion the effects of the virus on their various economies.
NAN reports that the President of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou had earlier in April in a statement announced financial donations and equipment to its member states in support of their fight against the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kassi Brou reaffirmed the commission’s solidarity with member states as they battle to contain the COVID-19 scourge.
NAN reports that about 13 ECOWAS leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, are participating in the teleconference as at the time of filing this report.
NAN observed President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo also participated in the ECOWAS summit for the first time since he assumed the mantle of leadership of his country in February 2020.