Coronavirus – Sudan: As of 01 April 2020, seven cases of confirmed COVID-19 reported in Sudan

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

OCHA Sudan
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As of 01 April 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) confirms seven COVID-19 cases in the country, including two deaths. All cases arrived in the country from abroad and are receiving required medical treatment in isolation centres in Khartoum. The 142 Sudanese students who were studying in Wuhan, returned to Sudan after spending three weeks in quarantine in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and an earlier isolation in Wuhan. All students tested negative for COVID-19.

The Government of China donated 50 ventilators and 400,000 surgical masks to the FMoH. A further 100 ventilators are expected to arrive in the upcoming few days. Starting 31 March, the curfew hours have been extended from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is already having some impact on humanitarian access, education and protection services due to the reduction of services in certain government offices, the closure of schools and the limitations on movements. Partners are putting into place alternative plans, including providing up to three months of food rations, to ensure the continuity of humanitarian assistance and to reduce the impact on already vulnerable people. OCHA is monitoring the impacts on humanitarian operations and programmes.

States respond to COVID-19

A COVID-19 working group has been established that brings together UN, NGOs and clusters to support the Government’s preparedness and response to COVID-19 at national and state levels.

In Blue Nile State, a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan has been developed for the period April – June 2020. The plan aims to scale up knowledge and skills of health workers on COVID19; raise community awareness on self-prevention; monitor arrivals at points of entry (POEs) and cross-border sites to identify and isolate suspected cases; establish isolation centres (quarantine) at cross borders sites and Damazine town; activate emergency operation centres (EOC) in Ed Damazine and localities; strengthen sensitivity of surveillance system and contact tracing; establish and equip isolation treatment centres; and ensure safety measures are taken during collecting and transporting of samples. The total cost of the plan is around 64.6 million Sudanese pounds ($1.2 million).

A technical committee on COVID-19 was convened in South Darfur to review preparedness and response COVID-19. The State Ministry of Health (SMoH) identified two isolation centres. The FMoH has given South Darfur $36,000 to procure thermal detectors and protective equipment. Awareness-raising campaigns for whole state including printing of posters, sound systems for broadcasting, messages for radio and TV, and posters on for signboards are on-going.

Humanitarian partners continue to respond in support of the government.

Surveillance, rapid-response teams, and case investigation

UNFPA and FMoH are training community midwives on infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols that have been adapted for COVID-19. Trainings are planned at the state level over the next two weeks.

Case management

UNFPA worked with the FMoH in finalizing and endorsing case management protocols for pregnant and women who recently delivered. Training of trainers with obstetricians and gynaecologists was held in Khartoum, with technical assistance by FMoH and UNFPA.

Risk communication and community engagement

UNFPA is working with FMoH on printing and distribution of materials to health care facilities including 12,000 information education communication (IEC) material for COVID-19 response was printed for FMoH. UNFPA is also working with FMoH in developing audio-visual materials addressing COVID19 risks. Two have already been published, and three are in the pipeline.

NGOs and partners engaged in community outreach and awareness raising on COVID19, covering 15 states with focus on high risk states, campaigns are starting next week.

For more information on COVID-19 visit the ALNAP COVID-19 Response Portal. The portal holds a vast collection of guidelines, tools, papers and lessons learnt

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of OCHA Sudan.
Source: Apo-Opa

Coronavirus – Ethiopia: Notification note on COVID-19 situational update- April 2, 2020

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of Health, Ethiopia
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• The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) conducted 65 laboratory tests within the last twenty-four hours for COVID-19 and all of them are negative.

• Currently there are twenty five (25) patients in the isolation center and of this one person is in critical condition receiving intensive care.

• In addition to the previously reported two recovered cases, one additional patient has recovered yesterday. However they are kept in isolation as a precautionary measure.

• A pneumonia patient was admitted in the isolation center and passed away yesterday prior to the laboratory test and later on confirmed that he was negative for COVID-19. Meanwhile Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute would like to express their condolences for the family and friends.

• In order to expand the laboratory tests, the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) and National Livestock Research Institute will start conducting laboratory testing today in addition to EPHI. Mekelle city has already started laboratory testing while Bahir Dar, Haromaya, Adama, Jimma, Jigjiga, Hawassa and Gondar will start in the coming days.

• There are Thirty Two (32) Rapid Response Team (RRT) in Addis Ababa who are giving rapid responses to received rumors. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Ethiopia.
Source: Apo-Opa

Coronavirus – Ghana: Situation Update, Confirmed Covid-19 Cases in Ghana as at 02 April 2020, 14:00hrs

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Disease Surveillance Department, Ghana Health Service
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Since the last situational update, Ghana has confirmed nine additional COVID-19 cases, all from Greater Accra region. Four (4) of them have no history of travel nor contact with any confirmed case. Other four (4) have no travel history but are contacts of confirmed cases in Ghana; and one travelled to Ghana from Benin within the past 14 days.

As at 2 nd April 2020, Ghana has recorded 204 cases COVID-19 with five (5) deaths. The number of regions reporting cases remain five (5) (Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West and Eastern). The Greater Accra Region has most of the cases (183) followed by the Northern Region (10), Ashanti Region (9), Upper West Region (1) and Eastern Region (1).

Most of the cases are reported from routine / enhanced surveillance activities. Cases from travellers under mandatory quarantine remain 89.

All five (5) deaths had underlying chronic medical conditions prior to COVID-19 infection

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Disease Surveillance Department, Ghana Health Service.
Source: Apo-Opa

Coronavirus – South Africa: Ministers Blade Nzimande and Zweli Mkhize postpone impact of Covid-19 on South Africans survey

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Government
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Ministers of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and Health to release the results of the first round of public survey on the impact of Covid-19 Virus

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, and the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, will release the results from the first round of the public survey looking at the impact of the COVID-19 on South Africans.

On Friday 27 March 2020 – the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)- an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation – announced the launch the public survey to better understand what the South African public knows about Covid-19, the state of readiness to deal with this global pandemic and how they feel about it.

The survey came within the context of a rapidly rising infection rate amongst South Africans which necessitated a declaration of a state of disaster and national lockdown, to help control the spread of the virus.

The study consists of two parts. the one part uses the #datafree Moya Messaging social media platform to gather data from approximately four million members while the second part includes qualitative interviews with participants using the telephone, video platforms or through an internet-based questionnaire.

Due to the urgency of the situation, the survey employs a Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) approach.

The survey is still ongoing as it is expected to run for 3-4 weeks following which the consolidated results will be made available to identified stakeholders, the media and community members.

The survey will be release during the virtual media briefing taking place as follows:
Date:  Thursday, 2nd April 2020
Time:  08h00-09h00
Venue: Tshedimosetso House, GCIS Auditorium, 1035 Francis Baard Street, Hatfield- Pretoria. 

Participation by media: Journalists may participate call and ask questions using the following number 0800 142 446.  SABC will provide pool feed as follows:

  • Downlink Frequency 12649.5
  • Symbol Rate: 2.7 M/Sym
  • Hd 10801 25 H.264 4:2:0
  • Rollof factor 5%
  • DVB- S2 8psk
  • Audio Channel 1 256kbs

Issued by: 
Department of Higher Education and Training

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.
Source: Apo-Opa

Coronavirus – Africa: WHO concerned as COVID-19 cases accelerate in Africa

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

WHO Regional Office for Africa
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With more than 6000 COVID-19 cases reported in Africa, the virus is threatening fragile health systems on the continent. Infections are increasingly spreading not only between African countries but within different localities in the hardest-hit countries.

For instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where COVID-19 cases were at first confined to Kinshasa, now a handful of cases have been reported in the easternmost regions of the country that were until recently in the grip of an Ebola outbreak. In South Africa, all provinces have now reported cases. The outbreaks in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Senegal are also widespread.

“Case numbers are increasing exponentially in the African region,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa “It took 16 days from the first confirmed case in the Region to reach 100 cases. It took a further 10 days to reach the first thousand. Three days after this, there were 2000 cases, and two days later we were at 3000.”

To contain COVID-19, many countries in Africa are implementing measures, which restrict gatherings and the movement of people. Nationwide lockdowns are in effect in Kenya, Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. However, governments must use these measures in a considered, evidence-based manner, and make sure that people can continue to access basic necessities.

As many people in the region live in crowded conditions or work in the informal sector and need to earn money daily to survive, it is important that countries make provisions to ensure that people can still access essential services. WHO is working closely with national governments and United Nations partners including the World Food Programme (WFP) to plan for these needs.

Dr Moeti and Ms Lola Castro, the WFP Regional Director for Southern Africa, addressed the restrictive measures during a virtual media briefing held today by the WHO Regional Office for Africa with the support of the World Economic Forum.

“For socially restrictive measures to be effective, they must be accompanied by strong, sustained and targeted public health measures that locate, isolate, test and treat COVID-19 cases,” Dr Moeti pointed out.

“It’s vital that ports continue to operate to receive food and other essential humanitarian cargo; that borders and roads stay open so it can be moved where it is most needed; and that distributions to vulnerable people are conducted safely,” said Ms Castro.

“It’s also crucial that the international community promptly provide the considerable funding needed to maintain and scale up assistance programmes.”

As well as ensuring basic needs are met, WHO is pursuing innovative solutions to the region’s pressing public health problems. On 1 April 2020, WHO hosted an online training session on the clinical management of COVID-19 cases. Nearly 500 attendees from across Africa logged in to learn about issues including case characterization and triage, treating severely ill cases, infection prevention and control, and how to quarantine and manage cases in the community. WHO also hosted a three-day ‘hackathon’, bringing together Africa’s brightest minds to find solutions to some of the problems COVID-19 has presented.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.
Source: Apo-Opa

United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee publishes findings on Central African Republic, Portugal, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Dominica

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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The UN Human Rights Committee has published its findings on the civil and political rights record of Central African Republic, Portugal, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Dominica which it reviewed during its latest session.

Although the session, which was due to end on 27 March, was suspended in mid-March because of the outbreak of COVID-19, the Committee members continued their tasks, including the adoption of concluding observations of the above-mentioned countries, through distance working.

The findings, available online, contain positive aspects of each country’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:

Central African Repubic: The Committee commended the Central African Republic for signing the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in 2019, and for positive legal reforms towards transitional justice. It remained, however, concerned about the persistence of gender-based violence, extra-judicial executions, human trafficking, corruption affecting judicial independence, forced displacement of civilians, and attacks on human rights defenders.

Portugal: The Committee was pleased to see measures to increase women’s representation among top civil servants in the public sector, efforts to combat corruption and actions to accommodate increasing numbers of migrants. It remained, however, concerned about domestic violence against women, racial discrimination against Roma and African descent in education, employment and housing, as well as prolonged detention of asylum-seekers. 

Tunisia: The Committee welcomed measures taken to combat impunity and improvement towards equality between women and men. It remained, however, concerned at the small number of cases processed by the Truth and Dignity Commission; the improper use of emergency and counter-terrorism legislation, persistent use of torture in the security sector; and criminalisation of activities related to the exercise of freedom of expression.

Uzbekistan: The Committee was pleased to see progress in combating corruption, preventing violence against women, reform of the judiciary, and the elimination of child and forced labour, in particular during the cotton harvest. However, it remained concerned about torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of liberty, as well as restrictions on the freedom of conscience and religious belief, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

Dominica: The Committee was pleased to review the State party for the first time since its ratification of the Covenant in 1993. It welcomed measures to ensure gender equality, to protect its citizens from the effects of climate change and to abolish death penalty. The Committee, however, called for more progress in a variety of areas, including pre-trial detention and reducing infant mortality.

The Committee also began the second and final reading of the guidance for States that it is preparing on the right of peaceful assembly. The guidance, formally known as General Comment, deals with article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee has taken the approach that the right of peaceful assembly also applies to gatherings in online and private spaces.

The UN Human Rights Committee is due to hold its next session from 29 June to 24 July 2020 this year to review Bolivia, Botswana, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Source: Apo-Opa

Coronavirus – Sudan: COVID-19 is a crisis for women in Sudan

02.April.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
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The COVID-19 pandemic is set to exacerbate pre-existing gender inequalities and the virus’s impact will disproportionately affect women, according to the United Nations Population Fund in Sudan.

COVID-19’s adverse effect on women requires a specialized response that recognizes and addresses their rights, their medical and social needs and promotes their leadership in the response.

“Women will face the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis in alarming ways and the disease may make gender inequality worse in Sudan,” said Massimo Diana, the UNFPA representative in Sudan. “Women and youth helped bring political change in Sudan and with the same determination they can help defeat this pandemic.”

There have been at least seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sudan, and there may be more unconfirmed cases across the country.

Like other outbreaks, women are expected to be uniquely affected by the novel coronavirus.

Women are more likely to have contact with health services — specifically antenatal care, childbirth delivery and lactation. Thus women face a greater threat to COVID-19 exposure at these health facilities. Furthermore, an overload of cases on medical systems means that women may not be able to receive basic services.

Seventy percent of healthcare and social workers across the world are women, putting them at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every day that we do not support Sudan’s health system and protect health workers compounds future hardship if the pandemic continues to spread in Sudan and North Africa,” Diana said.

Curfews and lockdowns will make women more vulnerable to gender-based violence and domestic abuse. Women’s role as primary caregivers means that they will face the brunt of financial hardship as a result of an economic downturn.

During the 2014–16 Ebola outbreak, women were more likely to be infected by the virus because of their predominant roles as both caregivers and frontline healthcare workers.

“A proper COVID-19 response should take advantage of the historic role that women and youth play in Sudan’s society. We saw last year how women and youth can bring political change. They can help to defeat COVID-19,” Diana said.

UNFPA is supporting youth leaders, health workers and midwives with a public awareness campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19. The agency is working with Sudan’s Ministry of Health to place equipment in new facilities. UNFPA is also providing lifesaving supplies for doctors and midwives, including protective equipment for medical professionals to treat patients and suspected cases.

Two out of three Sudanese are estimated to be youth below the age of 24, and Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, according to UN figures. Seventy percent of maternal deaths could be prevented through simple measures such as raising community awareness about women’s health issues, strengthening referral systems, improving blood transfusions and providing intensive care units.

UNFPA works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. In 2020, UNFPA global humanitarian assistance aims to reach some 48 million women, girls and young people.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Source: Apo-Opa