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‘I didn’t want to take coronavirus to Africa’

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Coronavirus: A Cameroon student on how he recovered

Pavel Daryl Kem Senou

Kem Senou Pavel Daryl is the first African to contract the virus in China

When Kem Senou Pavel Daryl, a 21-year-old Cameroonian student living in the Chinese city of Jingzhou, contracted the coronavirus he had no intention of leaving China, even if that were possible.

“No matter what happens I don’t want to take the sickness back to Africa,” he said from his university dormitory, where he is now under a 14-day quarantine.

He was suffering from a fever, a dry cough, and flu-like symptoms.

When he became ill he thought of his time as a child in Cameroon when he contracted malaria. He feared the worse.

“When I was going to the hospital for the first time I was thinking about my death and how I thought it was going to happen,” he said.

For 13 days he remained in isolation in a local Chinese hospital. He was treated with antibiotics and drugs typically used to treat HIV patients. After two weeks of care, he began to show signs of recovery.

The CT scan showed no trace of the illness. He became the first African person known to be infected with the deadly coronavirus and the first to recover. His medical care was covered by the Chinese state.

Pavel Daryl Kem Senou

Mr Senou says he did not want to take the disease to Africa

Egypt has become the first country in Africa to confirm a case of the coronavirus. Health professionals warn that countries with weaker health systems may struggle to cope with a potential outbreak of the illness, which has led to more than 1,770 deaths and infected more than 72,000 people, mostly in China.

“I don’t want to go home before finishing studying. I think there is no need to return home because all hospital fees were taken care of by the Chinese government,” says Mr Senou.

To evacuate or not?

Since late January governments around the world, led by the US, began evacuating their citizens out of Wuhan and neighbouring cities.

But thousands of African students, workers and families, remain in lockdown across the central Hubei province – the outbreak began in the provincial capital Wuhan – and some think their governments should do more to help them.

“We are sons and daughters of Africa but Africa is not willing to come to our rescue when we need it the most,” says Tisiliyani Salima, a medical student at Tongji Medical University and president of the Zambian Wuhan student association.

For close to a month Ms Salima has been living in self-quarantine.

Time has begun to lose meaning for the 24-year old student. She spends her days sleeping and checking updates on Chinese social media apps.

She acts as the liaison between her embassy and the 186 Zambian students living under quarantine in Wuhan. Many worry about food safety, supplies, and lack information in a city that this week has seen an average of 100 deaths a day.

She watched other international classmates evacuated from the city while her countrymen and women were left behind.

“South of the Sahara most African countries have had a similar response,” says one student who agreed to talk under the condition of anonymity.

“Publicly or privately African countries say that China can handle the situation. But the situation is not under control. When you listen to the official response it tells you that the African countries do not want to offend China. We don’t have the bargaining power,” the student says.

Pilots have their temperatures checked at an airport in Nairobi

A flight crew from China Southern Airlines have their temperatures checked at Kenya’s main airport in Nairobi

China is currently Africa’s largest trading partner and the ties between the two have blossomed in recent years.

In the process China has become home to 80,000 African students, many attracted to the middle kingdom by scholarship programmes. But community leaders say families, young and old are stranded in Hubei province with little aid or assistance from their governments.

“People are saying: ‘Don’t bring us back because Nigeria can’t handle us.’ I feel conflicted but at the end of the day I am also human,” says Angela, a recent graduate from Nigeria, who only gave her first name.

“I would appreciate if they would recognise that there are Nigerians here but we don’t seem to be a priority. We didn’t get any response from our government,” she says.

Last week, for the first time in 22 days in lockdown, dwindling supplies forced Angela to venture out of her apartment to buy some essentials.

“The city is like a ghost town. When I left my complex I didn’t know if I would even be allowed back in. People are checking temperatures outside the gate,” she says in a phone interview from her apartment.

A member of staff works in a laboratory

The Institut Pasteur de Dakar, in Senegal, is one of the laboratories that have the reagents needed to test samples

On 30 January the Cameroonian community penned an open letter to the president urging their government to evacuate citizens stuck in the epicentre of the outbreak.

Weeks on Dr Pisso Scott Nseke, a community leader in Wuhan, says Cameroonians are still waiting for a response.

He accepts that the community is not united in the desire to be evacuated but says they are disappointed by the lack of assistance from the government.

As of mid-February, Egypt, Algeria, Mauritius, Morocco and Seychelles had moved their citizens out of Hubei province.

Other nations such as Ghana and Kenya are reportedly considering evacuating.

‘We feel abandoned’

Some nations have sent financial support to their citizens.

According to the head of the Ivory Coast student association in Wuhan, $490 ($380) was given to the 77 Ivoirians in the city following weeks of discussions with their government. But many are growing increasingly frustrated by their government’s stance.

Ghana has reportedly sent financial assistance to its nationals as well.

“Staying here doesn’t guarantee our safety. We are just in a country that has better medical facilities,” says Ms Salima.

“We feel abandoned. The Chinese clearly were angered by the Americans pulling their people out as they felt it caused panic,” said one student who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity. “There is a lot of distrust here of the authorities,” he added.

Some are calling for a continent-wide strategy to help African nationals in China.

“The decision to evacuate is not a question of ‘solidarity’ with China or the lack of it. It is the responsibility of every country to ultimately look after the health of their citizens wherever they are, including in China,” says Hannah Ryder from Development Reimagined, a Beijing-based international development consultancy.

As for Mr Senou, he says has no plans to return to Cameroon.

“It would be a bad and dangerous idea. The biggest fear I had from the virus was psychological and emotional. Going back home is not an option now.”

 

BBC

 

 

 

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Israel’s Alexander River Turns Red With Blood ‘like Biblical Plague Of Egypt’

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Israeli’s media has for weeks been publishing pics of red, blood-filled water gushing into Alexander River – loved for its wildlife and beauty.

Blood, feathers and other animal body parts are pouring out of slaughterhouses “from one or more Palestinian slaughterhouses in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem”, reports the Times of Israel.

The Society for the Protection of Nature warned last month that “Israel’s lax laws have enabled the Alexander River – one of Israel’s most ecologically important – to turn into blood.

“Polluted runoff from slaughterhouses and other industries have polluted this river and turned it red in the middle of Passover.

“And it’s not the first time!”

With the blood pollution coinciding with the coronavirus crisis, the campaign group urged leaders to “realise how vital nature is to our mental wellbeing and act to make sure ecological plagues like this don’t happen again.”

It’s called upon the Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin to deal with the issue.

The Alexander River runs the width of Israel, from the hills of the Nablus on the West Bank to the sea.

Tourist Israel says that “until ten years ago, the river was heavily polluted” before a major joint effort by the regional council and their Palestinian counterparts to transform it.

But, according to the Daily Star a local photographer, Amberto, said it now “looks like the plague of blood in Egypt.”

Although the blood and animal waste would normally be cleaned by a purification plant, heavy rainfall has swamped the system, and it wasn’t cleared before washing into Nahal Alexander.

The deluges coincide with last month’s heavy demand for chicken to supply to Israelis marking Passover, as well as Muslims before the month-long Ramadan festival.

Hareetz news said blood-contaminated water oozing from slaughterhouses in the Palestinian Authority, through the Nablus and Nahal streams, had been treated via filtration networks and separation tanks.

Water from the river, which flows from mountain aquifers, is used for “the entire population of the region, both Israeli and Palestinian”, reports Globes news.

The coordinator of activities in the Occupied Territories said officials from both the “Palestinian side and on Israeli side are carrying out works to clean the Alexander River [of animal parts] illegally dumped by Tulkarm area factories.

“The Civil Administration has been working for months to prevent the waste from entering the river.”

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Saudi Arabia Abolishes Flogging As Punishment

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Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, the supreme court announced, hailing the latest in a series of “human rights advances” made by the king and his powerful son.

Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia — sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes — have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups.

But they say the headline legal reforms overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have brought no let-up in the conservative Islamic kingdom’s crushing of dissent, including through the use of the death penalty.

The Saudi supreme court said the latest reform was intended to “bring the kingdom into line with international human rights norms against corporal punishment”.

Previously the courts could order the flogging of convicts found guilty of offences ranging from extramarital sex and breach of the peace to murder.

In the future, judges will have to choose between fines and/or jail sentences, or non-custodial alternatives like community service, the court said in a statement seen by AFP on Saturday.

The most high-profile instance of flogging in recent years was the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2014 for “insulting” Islam.

He was awarded the European parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize the following year.

The abolition of corporal punishment in Saudi Arabia comes just days after the kingdom’s human rights record was again in the spotlight following news of the death from a stroke in custody of leading activist Abullah al-Hamid, 69.

Hamid was a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and was sentenced to 11 years in jail in March 2013, campaigners said.

He was convicted on multiple charges, including “breaking allegiance” to the Saudi ruler, “inciting disorder” and seeking to disrupt state security, Amnesty International said.

Criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has grown since King Salman named his son Prince Mohammed crown prince and heir to the throne in June 2017.


The October 2018 murder of vocal critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and the increased repression of dissidents at home have overshadowed the prince’s pledge to modernise the economy and society.

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Beaking News! Nigeria confirmed first case of CoronaVirus

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Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed the first-ever case of the deadly Coronavirus in Lagos state.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, in a statement in the early hours of Friday, said the case, which was confirmed on February 27, was the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020.

The statement said, “the case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.”

The Minister said the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Health has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly, it said: “the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.”

The Minister reassured Nigerians that the government is adequately prepared since the first confirmed case of the virus in China.

Ehanire cautioned citizens about spreading false information on social media about the virus, adding that the Federal Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of an outbreak in Nigeria.

He further said, “We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illness.”

Nigeria is the third African country to record a case of the deadly virus after Egypt and Algeria with at least one death reported in Egypt.

The new and deadly coronavirus has spread to all the continents of the world except Antarctica, with 82,000 cases in 48 countries. China, however, remains the worst-hit with 78,000 cases and 2,747 deaths. 32,531 of those infected by the virus have recovered so far.

The minister urged all Nigerians to take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below:

  1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

  2. Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

  3. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in-crowd.

  4. Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

  5. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance- 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication

  6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.

 

 

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