Corona Watch

27 March 2020 | Economics

South Africa

South Africa's main export terminals closed to mineral exports from midnight on Thursday when a nationwide 21-day lockdown over coronavirus begins, disrupting copper supply chains linking major producer Zambia to Asian consumers.

Miners in the Zambian copper belt typically transport copper overland to South Africa's ports, where it is exported mainly to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal. – Nampa/Reuters

Kenya

Kenya announced tax cuts on Wednesday to protect East Africa's richest economy against the coronavirus and said it was imposing a curfew at night to curb its spread.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the value-added tax rate would be cut to 14% from 16% and corporation tax would be reduced to 25% from 30% under plans scheduled to come into force by April.

He said there would be 100% tax relief for Kenyans earning a monthly income of up to 24 000 Kenyan Shillings (US$226) to increase their disposable income. – Nampa/Reuters

Sudan

Sudan released 4 217 prisoners on Wednesday as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SUNA said, citing a health ministry official who said those freed had been tested for possible infections.

Sudan, which is in the middle of an economic crisis and transition after the toppling of veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir last year, has confirmed three cases of the coronavirus. – Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria

The Nigerian Army is preparing to forcibly transfer the sick to hospital and enforce curbs on movement to try to shield the country from the coronavirus, and is leasing equipment for "possible mass burial", according to an army memo seen by Reuters.

The memo from army headquarters also outlines plans to protect government food storage from looters as Africa's most populous nation braces for the illness to spread further in the country.

The memo said the army was suspending leave passes for all personnel and called for them to be on "maximum security alert and be ready for deployment." – Nampa/Reuters

Uganda

Uganda said on Wednesday it had closed its borders to all new refugee arrivals as part of efforts to contain the new coronavirus in a country which has long kept its doors open to those fleeing conflict and other troubles in the region.

The east African country hosts roughly 1.4 million refugees mainly from neighbours where conflict and civil war have uprooted tens of thousands from their homes.

Egypt

Egypt and its capital Cairo, a mega-city home to some 20 million people, shut down on Wednesday evening as authorities launched a night-time curfew to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

In a city that never sleeps where restaurants and cafes are usually open until the wee hours, shop owners were closing shutters and commuters rushing home before the start of the 7 p.m. curfew that runs until 6 a.m.

Policemen were posted on key roads to stop any violators. – Nampa/Reuters

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