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China’s Coronavirus:  African Countries On Alert

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Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa say they have begun screening of persons as a preventive measure against the coronavirus that has been ravaging China.

Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control, NCDC, has issued a travel advisory that spelled out key measures being undertaken. NCDC says it “is currently coordinating a technical group that is assessing and managing the risk of importation to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Ghana along with other development partners, met on Thursday to devise a response plan in readiness should the virus spread to the country.  Ghana has mounted surveillance at entry points in the country.

And South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has assured citizens there is nothing about which to worry.  The agency said it has public health under control and that steps are being taken to ensure the disease would not spread to the country.

Same in Kenya where the health ministry has said surveillance at all ports of entry has been intensified, and screening of passengers for coronavirus is underway.

There are calls for Ethiopian Airlines to start screening passengers flying in from Wuhan and other Chinese cities where coronavirus outbreak has been documented. An Ethiopian physician and advisor to the W.H.O. director general, Professor Senait Fisseha, said in a tweet, the risk of spread of this highly contagious virus to Africa is very high given the large number of flights and persons that fly through Addis Ababa.

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Somalia Expels Kenyan Envoy In Row Over Alleged Poll Interference

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Somalia has expelled Kenya’s ambassador, and Somalia has recalled its own diplomat from Nairobi, after accusing Kenya, its neighbour, of interfering in the electoral process in Jubbaland, one of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states.

Somalia did not go into details on the alleged interference, but Kenya has denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed what it called “unsubstantiated allegations.”

Kenya’s foreign ministry said on Monday it had not received any official communication from Somalia about the expulsion of its ambassador.

It then asked all political actors in Somalia to stay true to their political commitments. It also said they should avoid distracting actions, and engage constructively to ensure timely implementation of the elections calendar.

Relations between the two countries have been tense over the ownership of potential oil and gas deposits, some of which lie off the coast of Jubbaland. In February last year, Kenya recalled its ambassador after Mogadishu decided to auction oil and gas exploration blocks at the centre of their maritime rights dispute. The two countries restored ties in November last year.

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Rwanda Opens Specialized Schools For Disabled

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Rwanda has opened a rehabilitation center for persons with disabilities which has been instrumental in caring for people with various disabilities.  School officials say the center has continued to play an active role in teaching basic courses to people with disabilities, as well as providing them with basic medical care.

They also say vocational training is needed for people with disabilities in order to help them create their own jobs.

Since 2017, close observers of the problems of people with various disabilities have shown that the illness has reduced with time, which has helped in changing the perception of the Rwandan society.

The officer with the United Nations development program in charge of people with disabilities, Liliane Akadata, says isolation remains a challenge for people with disabilities.

The United Nations and its partners have raised money to help children with disabilities improve their technological skills.  European Union ambassador to Rwanda, Nicola Bellomo, says the organization will continue to work with the Rwandan government to improve the lives of the underprivileged without leaving behind people with disabilities.

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Ivory Coast, Ghana Halt US Company’s Cocoa Scheme

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Ivory Coast and Ghana are cancelling all cocoa sustainability schemes that U.S.-based Hershey corporation runs in their countries. They accuse the chocolate maker of trying to avoid paying the cocoa premium that is aimed at combating farmer poverty.

In a letter addressed to the company, Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa regulators accuse Hershey of sourcing unusually large volumes of physical cocoa on the ice futures exchange in order to avoid the premium, known as a living income differential.

Ivory Coast and Ghana, which produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, said they are also barring third-party companies from running sustainability schemes in the west African nations on behalf of Hershey.

Ivory Coast and Ghana also said they are reviewing their membership of the federation of cocoa commerce, a UK-based international organization that aims to promote, protect and regulate the cocoa trade.

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