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17.03.2020 Live Reporting

COVID-19 Updates around the world

COVID-19 Updates around the world
LISTEN MAR 17, 2020

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Dossier: Coronavirus pandemic


Mar 18, 2020

Canadian High Commission In Ghana Closed Down; Workers Leave Ghana

The Canadian High Commission in Ghana has shut down following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country.

“In doing our part to #flattenthecurve & prevent the spread of #COVID19, our offices are closed to the general public until further notice,” the High Commission posted on Twitter on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Read more...

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Mar 18, 2020

Two Italians Blocked From Entering Ghana

Immigration officials at the Kotoka International Airport on Monday, March 16 refused two Italian nationals entry into Ghana.

The two arrived via an Air France operated aircraft which landed in Accra.

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong who made this known said the decision is in line with the government's travel advisory following the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Last night I think there were two Italians who were coming from the epicentre and as we got the confirmation of the details, even though the aircraft was in the air, we had to make arrangements at the airport to ensure they do not get off the aircraft and they have been returned to their original destination.”

“So although we are yet to hit the 1 pm deadline today, some soft enforcement has already commenced at our ports entry.”

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Mar 18, 2020

7th Victim Is A Ghanaian Who Returned From France – GHS

Government has today Tuesday, 17th March disclosed that there was another confirmed case of the deadly COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 7.

In a statement, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said, “This afternoon (17 March 2020); we have received report from NMIMR that indicated one (1) more confirmed case as positive for COVID-19 in Greater Accra Region.”

The Government website dedicated to give updates on the coronavirus outbreak in the country explained that the most recent case of involved a 35-year old male Ghanaian who returned from France within the past 14 days.

“This afternoon (17 March 2020); we have received report from NMIMR that indicated one (1) more confirmed case as positive for COVID-19 in Greater Accra Region. The case-patient is a 35-year-old male, a Ghanaian citizen, who returned to Acca from France within the past 14 days. This is another imported case, which brings the total number of confirmed cases to seven (7). The case is being managed in isolation and he is in stable condition.” The statement added.

The Ghana Health Service also provided some updates on the on-going contact-tracing for already existing cases of COVID-19 in Ghana.

“With regard to contact tracing, a total of 350 contacts have been identified and are being followed up. Two of the contacts who developed symptoms, had their samples tested but they came out to be negative. Currently, there is no death and all the seven (7) confirmed COVID-19 cases are being managed in isolation and are in stable condition,” the statement concluded.


Mar 18, 2020

Ghana’s Embassy In Berlin Suspends Consular Services Over Coronavirus

Ghana's embassy in Berlin, Germany, has temporarily suspended consular services due to increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in Germany.

The suspension is expected to last for two weeks with effect from Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

It is a precautionary measure, according to a statement issued by the Embassy.

“All applications receive prior to the effective date will be processed and dispatched to applicants,” it said.

Meanwhile, Ghana's Ambassador to Germany, Gina Blay, has admonished all Ghanaians living in Germany to strictly adhere to the World Health Organization's precautionary measures on Covid-19 in order to remain safe.


Mar 17, 2020

A vaccine could be ready 'towards autumn' - EU chief

The German company CureVac could have a vaccine ready “towards fall (autumn)”, EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen has said.

Experts have said it will take at least a year to 18 months to get to that stage.

European Commission President Ursula von der LeyenEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen


Mar 17, 2020

Turkey makes arrests over virus posts

In Turkey, 19 people have been detained for making "“unfounded and provocative” posts on social media about the government's handling of the outbreak.

The government has also identified 93 suspects who had written posts “targeting officials and spreading panic and fear”, the country's interior ministry said.

Turkey has closed cafes, sports venues, and suspended mass prayers in mosques. The number of confirmed cases there is 47.


Mar 17, 2020

7th Case Of COVID-19 Recorded

Ghana has recorded another case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) today, Tuesday, March 17.

This was published on Government's dedicated website to provide frequent update on the pandemic.

This brings to seven the number of victims/cases recorded within the last few weeks.

The government through the Information Ministry is yet to provide full details of the seventh victim.

Read more....


Mar 17, 2020

Iran releases 85,000 prisoners, mobilises army to fight coronavirus

Iran- the world's third worst coronavirus-hit country- says it temporarily released 85,000 prisoners from its jails to deal with the virus that has infected the country's penal system as well. Tehran mobilized its main fighting forces, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) and the army to help out too, but it doesn't manage to roll back the effects of the virus yet.

“In jails, we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak,” Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted as saying by Reuters press agency, adding that “some 85,000 prisoners have been released.”

Read more...

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Mar 17, 2020

Lighthouse Chapel Introduces Online Church Services

By Jan van der Made - RFI

The Lighthouse Chapel International, Korle-Gonno Cathedral in the Greater Accra region is considering broadcasting its various church services to members via online as part of precautionary measures against the novel Coronavirus.

This would allow members to maintain close ties with their Maker, while reducing physical contact hours to avoid the spread of the virus.

Read more...


Mar 17, 2020

Jack Ma 'to donate coronavirus test kits to Africa'

Chinese billionaire and co-founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has pledged donate 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits to each African country to help the fight against coronavirus.

Mr Ma, Asia's richest person, earlier this month sent consignments of medical supplies to the US and pledged to distribute two million protective masks across Europe.

The supplies for Africa would be delivered to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed overseeing distribution to the rest of the continent, he said in a statement.

"As members of the global community, it will be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now," he said.

Mr Abiy confirmed the news in a series of tweets and spoke of his "great appreciation" for Jack Ma's partnership:

Mr Ma said his Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation would also provide online material for coronavirus clinical treatment to medical institutions on the continent.

There has been a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Africa in recent days, although they are still fewer than in most other continents.

Strict measures have been ordered - including travel restrictions and the closure of schools - in South Africa and Kenya among others.

There are concerns that the continent's weak health systems may be unable to cope with a large outbreak, and that governments lack financial and logistical resources to deal with the virus.

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Mar 17, 2020

Israel announces new restrictions on movement

By BBC News

Israel’s health ministry has announced new restrictions for residents, ordering people not to leave their homes unless they need to get food or medication, seek medical attention, or carry out essential work.

Trips to parks, playgrounds, beaches, pools and libraries are banned.

Meanwhile, the Magen David Adam ambulance service has said it will set up a number of 24-hour “drive-through” facilities to help expand testing of people suspected of having the virus that causes Covid-19.

Overnight, an Israel Railways train was stopped by police searching for a male patient who fled from a hospital in northern Israel, according to the Haaretz newspaper. Police officers wearing protective gear boarded the train, arrested the man and took him to another hospital for examination.

Israel has so far reported 324 confirmed cases of Covid-19, but no related deaths. The Palestinian authorities have reported 41 cases in the occupied West Bank.


Mar 17, 2020

Brazil reports first death

By BBC News

A person in the Brazilian city of São Paulo is the first person to die from coronavirus in the country.

Brazil has 234 confirmed cases of the virus, in a population of 209 million people. It has not shut its borders, but in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, schools and universities have been told to close and public events have been called off.

However, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed precautions against coronavirus as “hysteria" and “fantasy".

So far Latin America has not reported significant clusters of the virus in the same way as parts of Asia, Europe and the US.

However some countries are not taking chances. Peru declared a national emergency, closed its borders and told everybody to self-quarantine for 14 days, while Chile said it would close its borders after cases more than doubled there to 155.

Read more about how the virus is affecting Latin America.


Mar 17, 2020

Trump's 'Chinese virus' tweet angers Beijing

By BBC News

President Trump sent a tweet on Monday describing the new coronavirus - which causes the disease Covid-19 - as the “Chinese virus”.

China has reacted angrily, with the foreign ministry in Beijing saying it's wrong to stigmatise China and that the US should “take care of its own business”.

The first cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Last week a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman shared a conspiracy theory, alleging the US Army had brought it to the region.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then demanded China stop spreading “disinformation” saying it was trying to "shift blame” for the outbreak.

Read more on this latest war of words, here.


Mar 17, 2020

Don't Use Local Gin As Hand Sanitisers – CPMR Warns

The Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR) has downplayed claims that alcohol can be used as a preventive tool against the contraction of the novel coronavirus.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been claims that herbal bitters or local gin could be used in place of sanitizers.

Read more...

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Mar 17, 2020

Nigerian Embassy Suspends Visa Issuance In USA

By Frank Owusu Obimpeh || USA

The Nigerian government over the weekend issued a statement and banned Americans from obtaining visas to its country.

This release has been intercepted by a freelance journalist based in New York and it came from the Nigerian Embassy in New York.

Read more...


Mar 17, 2020

European air traffic 'down by a third' on Monday

Eamonn Brennan, the boss of pan-European air traffic control organisation Eurocontrol, has reported that Monday saw a rapid decrease in the number of flights being operated across the continent.

It was down by a third compared to the same operational day last year.


Mar 17, 2020

UK's Thornberry calls out 'shameful' Trump

By BBC News

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is currently taking questions in the Commons ahead of giving a statement to MPs on coronavirus.

His opposition counterpart, Emily Thornberry, quizzes him on the reaction of US President Donald Trump to the outbreak.

"The truth is Mr Speaker, Donald Trump's lack of international leadership on the issue has been quite extraordinary," says the Labour politician.

"He started by calling the outbreaks a hoax, comparing it to winter flu and dismissing health advice, but now he is calling it 'the foreign virus', blaming Europe for its spread and today blaming China, saying he takes no responsibility at all.

"Does the secretary of state agree that it is shameful that this kind of behaviour is what we have come to expect from the current American president, even at this time of global crisis?"

But Mr Raab doesn't agree.

He tells Ms Thornberry: "I think we have done quite a good job in this House of trying to have a bipartisan approach, and whether it is domestically or internationally, it just doesn't help finger pointing in any shape or form."

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Mar 17, 2020

Is Latin America prepared to fight coronavirus?

By Katy Watson: BBC South America correspondent

The numbers of coronavirus cases in Latin America has not reached European proportions yet but judging by decisions taken in the last few days, governments here are not taking any chances.

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro announced that the whole country, already suffering from years of economic and political turmoil, would be under quarantine from Tuesday after the number of cases there rose from 16 to 33 in one day.

“We're facing a serious pandemic,” he told the nation in a televised address. “If we don’t stop it in time, cut it off and control it, it could bring us down.”

He was not alone in declaring drastic restrictions. Peru had already declared a national emergency, closed its borders and told everybody to self-quarantine for 14 days while Chile said it would close its borders after cases more than doubled there to 155.

Most of the region is introducing strict measures on movement and schools, shops and flights are shutting down. Yet coronavirus has only just arrived here - so have countries learned lessons from Europe? Or are they acting too soon?

Read more here.

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A man wears a mask as a preventive measure against coronavirus after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered a quarantine Venezuela - Getty Image


Mar 17, 2020

Coronavirus: Jack Ma Foundation Donates Testing Kits To Africa

The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have pledged to jointly donate to each of Africa's 54 nations, 20,000 coronavirus testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields.

The move according to the Jack Ma Foundation in a statement, is to help combat the potential surging demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa in the wake of the coronavirus.

Read more....

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Mar 17, 2020

Banning Of Religious Activities Without Consultation Is Wrong – Charismatic Bishops’ Conference

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops' Conference has expressed disappointment with the lack of consultation from the state before a ban was slapped on all religious activities in the country following the novel coronavirus outbreak.

It said it was unfortunate that groupings like the Ghana Charismatic Bishops' Conference, the National Association of Charismatic & Christian Churches, and Ghana Pentecostal Council were not engaged before the new directives were given by the state.

In a statement, the conference said “the arbitrary closure of churches and places of worship without consultation or discussion for 4 weeks, smacks of a disregard of the importance of the church's role in the country.”

Read more....

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