The African continent is now experiencing a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease that was predominant in Asia and Europe. In recent times, Africa has seen the number of cases rise from 600 around March 18, 2020, to 6,473 as at today, April 2, 2020.
Apart from dealing with the rapid spread of the disease, compounded with poor health facilities, the continent has to contend with a lot of misinformation and fake news, especially on various social media platforms.
The misinformation is partly fueled by deep distrust of government. It is emerging as a major obstacle in the continent, where poor health facilities will aid the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease.
Some messages that went viral on social media platforms were filled with fake news and unfounded advice with respect to the disease.
As a result of this, governments across the African continent are teaming up with technology giants like Facebook and WhatsApp to fight the misinformation that is being spread about the coronavirus on social media platforms.
In the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria, health officials are collaborating with the messaging service owned by Facebook to send push notifications to users with advice on symptoms and prevention of the covid-19 disease. When the first case was disclosed in Nigeria, some Nigerians started flying the conspiracy theory, which was that it was a ploy by the government to cash in on funds from international donor agencies and embezzle the money that would be made available for this campaign.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is also getting free ad space on Facebook for outreach about the pandemic. Other public health institutions in 11 other African countries and around the world are beneficiaries of this service.
The Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, “There has never been a more critical time than now for us to leverage on social media in sending out the right message.’’
The South African government has launched an information service about the coronavirus on WhatsApp. The country, which has more confirmed cases of covid-19 than any other African country, has been bedevilled with manipulated government documents with misleading coronavirus advice.
South Africa introduced a law in March that makes sharing malicious falsehoods about the virus punishable by up to six months in jail.
Kenya has not been left out of various cases of misinformation as 2 men, including a blogger, were arrested for engaging in misinformation about the disease on Twitter. One of the Twitter messages which was posted by a user that has 700,000 followers said, “Blacks don’t get coronavirus.”
COVID-19: Jason Njoku and wife test positive
iROKOtv CEO and wife have contracted the novel coronavirus.
Jason Chukwuma Njoku, the co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv and his wife has tested positive for COVID-19. However, Mrs. Mary Njoku is feeling well.
Jason, disclosed this via his Twitter handle stating that “My enemies are hard at work in 2020. Mrs. Njoku and I tested positive for Covid-19. I’m not feeling great, but Mary is well. Literally no idea how I caught it. But we shall see this pass too.”
The media mogul did not reveal if his children caught the virus too.
My enemies are hard at work in 2020. Mrs Njoku and I tested positive for Covid19 😩. I'm not feeling great but Mary is well. 😷🤢. Literally no idea how I caught it. 🤷🏾♂️. But we shall see this pass too🙏🏾. pic.twitter.com/tnsP1BCPBB
— JasonNjoku (@JasonNjoku) October 28, 2020
Covid-19: Russia applies to WHO for emergency use tag for its vaccine
Russia has submitted applications to the World Health Organization for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is one of the developers of the Sputnik V, has submitted applications to the World Health Organization (WHO) for an Emergency Use Listing and prequalification of the coronavirus vaccine.
The acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine by the UN health agency could help allay concerns over its safety and quality.
This was disclosed by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
Russia was the first country to grant regulatory approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine and did so before large-scale trials were complete, stirring concerns among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot, especially from the western countries.
An Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is meant to make a vaccine available globally faster, while a WHO prequalification is a global quality tag that ensures vaccines are safe and effective.
The Chief Executive Officer of RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, in a statement, pointed out that the procedures would allow Sputnik V to be included in the list of medical products that meet leading quality, safety and efficacy standards.
In July, Dmitriev had said that Russia aimed to produce 30 million doses in 2020, a goal that was this month dubbed impossible by Russia’s Industry Minister, Denis Manturov, who said a maximum of 2.3 million doses would be made.
The vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute and marketed by RDIF, is based on a platform of human adenoviral vectors.
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported that President Vladimir Putin announced the approval of the Sputnik V, as the first Covid-19 vaccine to be registered in the world. The approval, which was announced even before the completion of the phase 3 trials, had elicited safety concerns from scientists.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 27th of October 2020, 113 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 62,224 confirmed cases.
On the 27th of October 2020, 113 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,326 samples across the country.
To date, 62,224 cases have been confirmed, 57,916 cases have been discharged and 1,135 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 614,480 tests have been carried out as of October 27th, 2020 compared to 612,154 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 27th October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 62,224
- Total Number Discharged – 57,916
- Total Deaths – 1,1135
- Total Tests Carried out – 614,480
According to the NCDC, the 113 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (51), FCT (15), Plateau (11), Kaduna (8), Oyo (8), Rivers (8), Ogun (4), Edo (2), Imo (2), Kwara (2), Delta (1), Kano (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,935, followed by Abuja (6,008), Plateau (3,614), Oyo (3,433), Rivers (2,781), Edo (2,654), Kaduna (2,625), Ogun (2,014), Delta (1,813), Kano (1,743), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,069), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (923), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 616 cases, Benue (486), Nasarawa (479), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (140), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.