Zimbabwean president wishes Chinese people Happy New Year

By XINHUA

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has wished the Chinese people a Happy New Year.

“A Happy New Year to the government and the people of China. May this year bring health, happiness, prosperity and success to our friends in China, to the people of Zimbabwe and to humanity as a whole,” Mnangagwa said.

The Chinese New Year 2021 falls on Feb. 12 and in terms of the Chinese lunar calendar, it is the year of the ox.

Mnangagwa observed that the New Year in China is famously celebrated with elaborate fireworks, light and lanterns, signifying light and positivity for the future.

“May we all look forward to the light of positivity this New Year will bring us,” he said.

Mnangagwa also took the opportunity to thank the Chinese government and its people for their generous donation of COVID-19 vaccines to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe will on next Monday receive 200,000 doses of vaccine that were donated by China, the first vaccine it has received as it steps up efforts to procure more jabs to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population.

“Our dear friends of China, these vaccines are certainly providing a new light of positivity for the people of Zimbabwe in these tough times. A light at the end of a dark tunnel. We are most grateful for this lifesaving gesture,” Mnangagwa said.

He said it was befitting that this year was the year of the ox as it truly represents China’s traits of being a dependable, reliable and loyal partner to Zimbabwe.

“Like the ox in the field – we must knuckle down and work hard. Work with humility, modesty and drive.

“In the spirit of our unique friendship, and in the spirit of the New Year, I once again wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year – one of strength, positivity and light for all,” Mnangagwa said.

President el-Sisi affirms Egypt’s support for AfCFTA

By Jerry Omondi

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (L) shakes hands with Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou after the launching of the “operational phase” of the African Continental Free Trade Area during the African Union summit in Niamey, Niger, July 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday reiterated his country’s support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

El-Sisi made the pledge in a meeting with the AfCFTA Secretary General Secretary General, Wamkele Mene, who is on an official visit to the North African country.

“The President affirmed Egypt’s full support for the activities and work of the agreement, which represents a promising start for continental integration in Africa, in pursuit of the desired economic and trade integration for the African countries,” said a statement from the Egyptian presidency.

“The President also asserted that Egypt is fully prepared to provide its expertise, in this regard, for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enter into force, indicating that the stability factor is extremely important to provide a favorable environment for the success of the efforts and activities made to keep the agreement on track.”

On his part, Mene affirmed his keenness to benefit from Egypt’s development experience with a view to enhancing the efforts of the AfCFTA and achieving success.

The AfCFTA’s operational phase was launched at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), which was held from 7 – 8 July 2019.

The free trade area is expected to create a market for over a billion people, with a GDP of approximately US$2.6 trillion.

Various leaders have hailed the AfCFTA, terming it a game changer in Africa’s trade sector.

South Africa’s COVID-19 caseload tops one million mark

FILE PHOTO: Locals line up to get tested for Coronavirus in Pretoria, South Africa, 11 June, 2020. /VCG

South Africa’s COVID-19 caseload surpassed the one million mark on Sunday as the county continues to see a steady surge in in virus numbers.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize reported 9,502 new infections from tests conducted over the past 24 hours, taking the country’s total number of cases 1,004,413.

South Africa is Africa’s hardest hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic, having also reported 26,735 deaths.

The country’s virus load is more than twice the number of infections reported by Morocco, whose 432,079 cases are the second-highest in Africa.

South Africa’s COVID-19 related death toll is more than three times the number registered by Egypt, whose 7,352 fatalities are the second-highest on the continent.

Mkhize urged South Africans to “adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent the further spread of the virus.”

Rwanda reports highest single-day jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases

Rwanda on Sunday reported 153 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily increase since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country on March 14.

The new infections included 103 cases in a prison in Southern Province, according to the health ministry.

Rwandan Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije earlier this month warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had reached a “critical stage” in the country, with an ongoing spike in new cases and deaths.

The previous record was 131 cases on Dec. 13.

The small central African country now has a total of 7,970 of COVID-19 cases, out of which 6,289 people have recovered and 74 succumbed to the disease, the ministry said in its latest update on the pandemic, urging people to continue following preventive measures.

“Citizens have a big role to play in containing the spread of COVID-19,” Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), told Xinhua in a telephone interview on Monday.

He warned that laxity and complacency on the COVID-19 preventive measures among the people is dangerous as it would lead to uncontrollable spread of the virus.

Africa’s COVID-19 cases hit 2,644,112: Africa CDC

VCG

The number of COVID-19 infections in Africa rose to 2,644,112 on Monday, according to the latest data from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)

The data from the continental health body also showed a total of 62,366 deaths even as countries now shift focus to acquisition and distribution of vaccines.

South Africa, with over one million confirmed infections, is the hardest-hit African country by the pandemic.

The country had reported 1,004,413 cases and 26,735 deaths by Monday afternoon.

Its virus caseload is more than twice the number reported by the country with the second-highest infections, Morocco, and its death toll is more than three times the number posted by Egypt with the second-highest fatalities.

Morocco had reported 432,079 COVID-19 cases and 7,240 deaths by Monday afternoon, while Egypt had registered 132,541 cases and 7,405 deaths.

Besides the three countries, only two more African states have recorded more than 100,000 COVID-19 infections; Tunisia (131,592) and Ethiopia (122,864).

A total of 10 countries on the continent have posted more than 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths.

The Africa CDC data also showed that by Monday the continent had registered 2,212,975 successful recoveries.

EgyptAir resumes flights to Oman

Istanbul / Turkey – September 14, 2019: EgyptAir Boeing 737-800 at the new Istanbul Airport, Istanbul Havalimani in Turkey

EgyptAir, the flagship carrier of Egypt, decided on Monday to resume its flights to and from Oman.

“The flights, Cairo-Muscat-Cairo, will be resumed starting from Dec. 28 in light of the new instructions of Omani Civil Aviation Authority,” the national airline company said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Omani authorities decided on Dec. 22 to close the Gulf country’s borders over fears of a new coronavirus strain for a week.

EgyptAir urged the passengers to provide a negative PCR test certificate for COVID-19 issued from the country of departure maximum of 72 hours before flight departure time.

In another statement, the national company decided to move several flights to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to bring the strained citizens.

Saudi Arabia shut its land and sea borders on Dec. 20 and suspended international commercial flights for one week. It extended the suspension on Sunday for another week.

Uganda reports 248 new COVID-19 cases, three more deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Uganda rose to 33,811 after the Ministry of Health on Sunday reported 248 new cases.

ELEGU, UGANDA – 2020/05/28: A health worker dressed in a protective suit as a preventive measure collects swab samples from a truck driver to be tested for coronavirus at the Elegu border point. He will have to wait days for the result. Uganda closed its borders in March to everyone except cargo planes and truck drivers. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The capital Kampala recorded about half of the new cases with 123 followed by the districts of Wakiso (22), Mukono (18), Luwero (17), Mbarara (10) and others.

Among the new cases also was one Ugandan truck driver who came from Kenya through the Malaba point of entry.

The COVID-19-related death toll rose to 248 after three additional deaths were reported. Meanwhile, the number of recoveries stood at 11,180 after 125 new recoveries were reported.

A steady increase in COVID-19 cases in recent months in the East African country has been blamed on complacency by citizens and blatant violation of COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Authorities have repeatedly urged the public to adhere to the existing health protocols but vowed to crack down on members of the public caught violating them.

Egypt, DR Congo presidents hold telephone conversation on bilateral ties

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi./VCG

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Saturday held a telephone conversation with his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart Felix Tshisekedi on various issues aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between their two countries.

The Egyptian presidency said the two leaders discussed various areas of cooperation and coordination between the two brotherly countries.

They also exchanged views on regional and continental files of common interest, in light of the fact that the DR Congo is scheduled to chair the African Union in 2021.

President el-Sisi expressed pride in the distinguished relations between the two brotherly countries, pledging his administration’s support for the DR Congo’s stability and development agenda.

President Tshisekedi affirmed his position on the need for the two countries to strengthen their relations even more, noting his country’s appreciation for Egypt’s sincere and tireless efforts to support his country at all levels and in all international and regional forums in order to stabilize its security, stability and development.

Eritrea reports first COVID-19 death

VCG Image

Eritrea said on Wednesday that the Red Sea nation has recorded its first death related to COVID-19.

The victim was a 50-year-old man receiving treatment for COVID-19 illness at a local hospital, the health ministry said in a statement.

Eritrea recorded 25 new COVID-19 cases over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 832, the statement added.

A total of 599 COVID-19 patients have recovered and been released from medical facilities, the health ministry said.

Eritrea, which confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 21, has implemented a series of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a nationwide lockdown, a ban on all non-essential local and international flights as well on various trading activities and transactions.

China commended for supporting Malawi’s COVID-19 fight

Wang Xiusheng (C), political counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Malawi, makes a statement during a donation of medical equipment to Malawi’s three major hospitals and three major city councils at the Chinese embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi, on April 24, 2020. (Xinhua/James Mwale)

China’s relationship with Malawi has been a success in the year 2020, China has maintained its friendly gesture to Malawi in the fight against COVID-19, a global pandemic.

This has been seen in numerous medical donations that China has been rendering to the Malawian government and in various institutions.

On March 31, the Chinese government through its embassy in Malawi donated assorted medical supplies to Malawi to enhance its prevention of the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the handing ceremony of the items in Lilongwe, Former Malawian Minister of Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events, Everton Chimulirenji commended the Chinese government for the donation.

“The donation has uplifted the efforts in preventing the outbreak in our country, and I am very optimistic that China is going to continue assisting our country both financially and technically following the strides that China has made,” he said.

Similarly, on April 24, the Chinese embassy announced another Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which were distributed to three major hospitals in Malawi. According to the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Liu Hongyang, the donation was part of China’s commitment to helping Malawi to ease the spread of COVID-19 in Malawi.

In October, China also donated 100,000 masks to Monica Chakwera, First Lady of Malawi, and through her to the Ministry of Education.

The First Lady hailed the Chinese government for the donation which she said was timely. She also cited that the masks were necessary for bringing a conducive and stabilized learning environment for teachers and learners.

Meantime, Malawians have commended the Chinese government for supporting the Malawian government despite the fact China is also fighting the same pandemic in their country. Many have applauded China because it always shows up whenever there is a need.

Alice Nkhonjera, a business lady in Blantyre town, said that Chinese help towards the health sector has been significant because at first, it was very hard for health workers to equip themselves with recommended protective material.

“China has been the most reliable partner during the crisis, we have noted a lot of help being given to our country. I believe that this has contributed to our success in the fight against the pandemic. At first, it was very hard for health workers and patients to access the PPEs in our local hospital but with the help from China, protective materials became accessible,” she said.

Commenting on the same, Martin Kapito, a businessman in Blantyre city, said that there is a lot that Malawi has to learn from China in terms of readiness and the fight against diseases.

“China has shown us that it is really advanced in its skills in health care. Furthermore, China has not been selfish during the crisis, I believe that the donations made to our government have helped us a lot, as a country, we need to be thankful,” he said.