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COVID-19: Fast and pray for Malawi, President Chakwera begs citizens

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Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has called on citizens to join him in fasting and prayer against the spread and impact of coronavirus in the country.

The president urged “all religiously-inclined citizens and residents of Malawi” to fast and pray for three days starting Thursday.

He has also declared Sunday a national day of thanksgiving.

“The president asks that prayers be lifted up for the recovery of those infected and affected by the virus; the protection and sustenance of healthcare workers on the front-lines of the fight, the protection and diligence of those who have not yet contracted the virus, the effectiveness of the presidential task force on Covid-19…” a statement signed by Information Minister Gospel Kazako said.

The Malawi president is a former church pastor, who led the Malawi Assemblies of God church for 24 years.

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He became the leader of then opposition Malawi Congress Party in 2013 without having any previous political experience and was elected president in the 23 June election rerun, beating incumbent Peter Mutharika.

President Chakwera’s call for fasting and prayer has elicited mixed reactions on social media:

General

Nigeria records 443 new Covid-19 cases, toll now 45,687

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Nigeria has recorded 443 more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing its total infections to 45,687.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this on Friday night via Twitter.

The new infections were recorded Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory and 17 other states of the federation.

Unlike previous cases, Plateau overtook Lagos by 33 cases thus recording 103 infections with the nation’s commercial capital trailing behind with 70 cases.

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The FCT, on the other hand, came third on the list with 60 cases.

Other states with new infections include Ondo – 35, Edo and Rivers – 27, Kaduna – 20, Osun – 19, Borno and Oyo – 18, Kwara – 11, Adamawa – 9, Nasarawa – 7, Gombe – 6, Bayelsa and Imo – 4, Bauchi and Ogun – 2 and Kano – 1.

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See Tweet below;

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Entertainment

Naira Marley fined N100,000 for breaching COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

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Nigerian musician Azeez Fashola, better known by his stage name Naira Marley, has pleaded guilty to breaching Covid-19 lockdown restrictions when he travelled to the capital, Abuja, for a concert.

The musician was arrested on Thursday alongside his manager for the offence committed in June when the government had banned non-essential travel to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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They pleaded guilty and were each fined N100,000($258; £197).

The airline that flew them from the commercial hub of Lagos to Abuja was suspended indefinitely by the aviation minister but later allowed to resume operations.

The airline said it mistook the musician’s surname for a judge who was on essential travel.

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Nigeria’s Channel television tweeted:

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Coronavirus

Africa’s COVID-19 cases now over 1 million

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Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic.

The continent recorded 1,003,056 cases, of which 21,983 have died and 676,395 recovered. South Africa – which is the world’s fifth worst-hit nation and makes up more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s caseload – has recorded 538,184 cases since its first case on March 5, the health ministry said on Thursday.

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Low levels of testing in several countries, apart from South Africa, mean Africa’s infection rates are likely to be higher than reported, experts say.

In South Africa, a study last month showed some 17,000 deaths above the normal rate, or a 60% excess, between early May and mid-July, suggesting more people are dying of COVID-19 than official figures reflect.

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Many African countries imposed quick lockdowns and shut their borders early, buying precious time to prepare hospitals, set up testing machines and learn from evolving treatments.

But governments, mindful of the damage to their economies and the risk of widespread hunger, have mostly lifted lockdowns.

Despite South Africa’s early efforts to contain the virus, its already creaking public health services are overwhelmed and there are shortages of beds, protective gear and nurses. COVID-19 patients have sometimes had to be treated alongside others.

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Few African nations have health services as advanced as South Africa.

Reuters

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