Corona Watch

28 April 2020 | Economics

South Africa

Cuba sent 216 healthcare workers to South Africa on Saturday, the latest of more than 20 medical brigades it has sent worldwide to combat the coronavirus pandemic, in what some call socialist solidarity and others medical diplomacy.

The Communist-run country has sent around 1 200 healthcare workers largely to vulnerable African and Caribbean nations but also to rich European countries such as Italy that have been particularly hard hit by the novel coronavirus.

Cuba has one of the world's highest number of doctors per capita and is renowned for its focus on prevention, community-oriented primary health care and preparedness to fight epidemics. – Nampa/Reuters

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau on Sunday reported its first coronavirus death and extended its state of emergency.

The unstable country of 1.8 million people, poor even by African standards, has 53 officially-confirmed cases of virus infection.

The government has ordered everybody to stay at home, except to go shopping in the morning, but widespread poverty makes it difficult for the population to comply.

Nigeria

Authorities in Nigeria's largest city of Lagos have made wearing of masks mandatory in a bid to halt the coronavirus, a spokesman said Sunday.

He said the measure was aimed at halting the spread of the virus in the megacity of over 20 million people.

He said failure by people in Lagos to use face masks in public places would attract sanctions. – Nampa/Reuters

Egypt

Egypt's Nile Air on Sunday urged the government to buy stakes in private airline companies to help them survive the crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

The government has not signalled its intention to buy stakes in private airlines, but on Sunday the ministries of petroleum and tourism announced a reduction in the cost of aviation fuel by 10 US cents per gallon once flights resume as a measure to help Egypt's shuttered tourism sector, according to state news agency MENA.

Egypt has about 14 private airlines operating at least 45 planes. – Nampa/Reuters

Congo

French energy major Total said on Sunday that 14 workers including two of its staff have tested positive for the new coronavirus at its sites in Congo Republic, but output at the 190 000 barrels per day operations have not been affected.

Total said it activated its pandemic plan after the first case to ensure the continuity of its activity and was postponing non-routine operations, so as to limit the number of workers strictly limited to maintaining its production.

One of Total's major projects in Congo, the Moho deep offshore project which began production in 2017, accounts for around 60% of Congo's oil output. – Nampa/Reuters