The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has definitely put the globe at high risk, as the disease spreads rapidly from region to region. To make matters worse, the disease has made its way to the African continent.
Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus last week. Earlier this week, Senegal also confirmed their first coronavirus case in the country. The case in Senegal makes it the fourth African country to confirm the virus.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus would definitely impact business in the financial market and it could see a massive decline of stocks. More importantly, the spread of the virus would also massively hamper tourism. According to the head of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the coronavirus epidemic could cost world tourism a total of $22 billion. Losses could double if the virus lasts for a lengthy period. Ghana Web predicts that as much as $49 billion could be lost from the world tourism industry.
In South Africa, they receive about 95,000 Chinese tourists yearly. According to FIN 24, a sudden decline of more than 15% of Chinese arrivals equates to a loss of R200 million in Chinese tourist spending.
South Africa’s economy has also taken a massive hit in recent times. Last week, The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) had one of its worst trading days in about 20 years. FIN 24 reports that the JSE ended the week 4.5% weaker due to reports on the Coronavirus.
In the eastern part of the continent, particularly in Kenya, individuals have expressed fears over the loss of tourism business in Kilifi due to the disease outbreak. Kilifi is a small town located on the coast of Kenya, north of Mombasa. It is home to historic landmarks like the Mnarani ruins and Kilifi Creek. It also receives a bulk of foreign visitors, particularly from Italy, each year. This year alone Capital FM in Kenya reported that Kilifi received 3000 people for the three day Kilifi festival, which took place in January 2020.
Maureen Awuor, the Chairperson of the Kenya Hotel and Caterers Association (KHCA) reported in the Daily Nation, a newspaper outlet in Kenya, that some hotels in the area have either received cancellations of reservations or postponements of dates from European people, particularly from Italy.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kenyan government also suspended direct flights from Kenya to Northern Italy, according to the Daily Nation.
The coming of the coronavirus has not only put the world on a knife-edge but has also affected all functions of life, which would cause business in the continent to suffer.
Though I am not opposed to the suspension of flights, I feel that many African countries must take the necessary steps to properly screen people before letting them into the country. There must be devices, such as an infrared thermometer, stationed at every airport to determine the temperature of each passenger.
We as Africans must not keep our fingers crossed even as we brace up for the challenging times ahead.
The over 150 passengers on the Turkish airline which brought the Italian with the virus to Lagos, Nigeria must be traced. Immigration data taken at the point of departure will be important to get their real names and details. Names should be published if their contact phone numbers are not reachable as the Lagos state government recently said. Even the Nigerian immigration officer who processed his passport should be assessed. Nigeria, as well as other African countries, have to be quite forward-thinking in reacting.
I believe that the continent would get over this problem. After all, we dealt with the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 and eradicated the disease.
We must remain hopeful for our beloved continent.
Paul Olele Jnr writes from Washington DC. He is a 2019 graduate of George Washington University and currently works as social media and research intern at the Corporate Council on Africa in Washington, D.C.
Breaking: Joe Biden sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States
The whole world watched in awe as Joe Biden was sworn in as the new President of the United States.
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
The 78-year-old Democrat and former Vice president to Barack Obama is being sworn in after emerging the winner of last year’s Presidential elections.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, becoming the first woman and the first black and Asian-American person elevated to serve in a role a heartbeat from the presidency.
The inauguration took place at the US Capitol, the same building that was stormed on January 6, by Donald Trump’s violent supporters.
Trump who for months refused to conceded to Biden’s victory at the polls left the White House for the final time hours earlier and flew to Florida after making it clear weeks ago that he will not be attending the inauguration.
Trump’s Vice, Mike Pence attended the ceremony, as he skipped Trump’s farewell military salute event at Andrews base.
The ceremony includes musical performances by Lady Gaga – who sang the national anthem – as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
Former Presidents; Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all present at the inuaguration
What you should know
- At 78, Biden is the oldest president ever to take the oath of office.
- In his speech, Biden swore to defend the constitution and the country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
- History was made as Kamala Harris became America’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice-president.
- Donald Trump skipped the ceremony, becoming the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869.
Joe Biden to return United States to WHO on first day as President
In-coming US President, Joe Biden has resolved to immediately return the country back to the WHO after his inauguration.
The US President-elect Joe Biden plans to immediately return back the country to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the first day after his inauguration as he intends to make a sweeping review of the policies of outgoing President, Donald Trump.
This is as he intends to send top US medical expert Anthony Fauci to speak to the group in a strong rejection of Donald Trump’s snubs and criticisms during the coronavirus pandemic.
This disclosure is contained in a fact sheet released by President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the incoming administration plans to take part in the WHO executive board meeting this week, with Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, heading the delegation and speaking.
The statement says that as soon as the United States resumes its engagement with the WHO, the new administration will work with the body to strengthen and reform the UN health agency.
What this means
- With these announced plans, the Joe Biden administration is showing that it intends to set a new science-based tone in seeking to reverse Donald Trump’s dismissal of strategies to mitigate the virus as well as seek international cooperation in addressing the pandemic.
- It also further reinforces the incoming President’s earlier criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic especially in the early days rather than laying blames.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Donald Trump in May 2020, announced that the US would exit the WHO because of what he said was its undue deference to China and failure to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.
- He often referred to the UN health agency as being controlled by China and criticized their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The US had been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions annually, with Trump’s last year decision drawing sharp criticism in Congress, as well as from allies in Europe.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden clash over plans to lift travel ban on UK, EU, Brazil
Joe Biden’s incoming administration has dismissed plans by President Donald Trump to lift the coronavirus-related travel bans for non-American citizens.
The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden has dismissed plans by the outgoing President, Donald Trump to lift the coronavirus-related travel bans for non-American citizens arriving from the European Union, the U.K. and Brazil, which means the curbs will stay in effect.
This follows the announcement from Trump in the White House on Monday that the bans could be lifted because of the administration’s last week’s decision to require international travellers to present either the results of a negative recent coronavirus test or evidence that they had already recovered from the disease. The change would go into effect starting Jan. 26, six days after Biden takes office.
However, the announcement by Donald Trump was rejected as Joe Biden’s Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, in a tweet post, disclosed that the incoming administration plans to block the outgoing US President’s move according to a report from Bloomberg.
What Joe Biden’s spokeswoman is saying
- Psaki in her statement, tweeted, “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.’’
She said that with the worsening pandemic and more contagious variant emerging globally, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.
What President Donald Trump has said
Trump, in a White House announcement, had pointed out that the international travel restrictions could be eased safely.
- Trump in a proclamation said, “This action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely. Under his plan, travel bans would remain in place for China and Iran, the White House said, citing their “lack of cooperation” with the U.S. in fighting the virus.’’
The recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to require a negative Covid-19 test for people arriving in the U.S. from other countries was not directly linked to the travel ban but was seen as a way to impose safety restrictions that would allow for a resumption of travel.
Despite the surge in Covid-19 infections, experts conclude that allowing people into this country from other nations wouldn’t pose a significant risk, especially with new testing requirements.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Donald Trump had initially announced the restrictions on March 11 in the early days of the pandemic on nearly all non-US citizens who had travelled to 28 EU countries, China and Iran, as part of the bid to curb the spread of the virus.
- Brazil was later included in the travel ban on May 25 and applies to any foreign nationals who had been in any of those nations within the previous 14 days.