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Kenya: Safaricom Launches East Africa’s First 5G Network

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Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator, Safaricom, has started trials for 5G high-speed internet network –the first in east Africa using technology from Nokia and Huawei.

Safaricom says it wants to boost its fast-growing data business, amid increasing demand, because COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to work and learn from home. The company is partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone.

Safaricom said in a statement, the trials, which started with four Kenyan cities and towns on Friday, will be expanded to 150 sites in nine urban areas in the next one year.

Safaricom is the market leader in the mobile data segment in Kenya, with 67.5% of total users as of last September, statistics from the regulator communications authority of Kenya showed.

The company has a 35.6% share of the small but growing internet to home and office by fibre market, Cak said.

Safaricom said last year it would consider Huawei for its 5G network rollout. The United States has urged countries not to include Huawei in their 5g plans, citing security concerns, which Huawei has denied.

The new 5G network will give consumers internet speeds of 700 megabits per second, more than three times faster than the current 4g network, the company said.

It will also allow Safaricom to offer an alternative service for homes and offices in areas which are not currently covered by the its fibre network, the company said.

The technology will also support far many more devices to connect to the internet in a given area, compared with the existing network.

 

 

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DR Congo Begins COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign

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African Countries Keen On AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine - WHO

The Democratic Republic of Congo will begin its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Monday after suspending the exercise over fears regarding the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In early March, more than 1.7 million doses of coronavirus vaccines arrived in the DR Congo as part of the COVAX initiative but the country postponed the vaccination after studies in South Africa questioned its efficacy on the variant that is dominant in the country.

Having now reassured the public that the doses are safe for use, the country’s health minister Eteni Longondo said priority will be given to health personnel, people who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and basic social personnel, that is to say those who are in constant contact with the public.

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Zimbabwe Frees Some Inmates To Reduce COVID-19 Risk In Jails  

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Zimbabwe government has begun releasing prisoners amid concerns of overcrowding and coronavirus pandemic. About 3,000 prisoners have been released under a presidential amnesty aimed at easing congestion to reduce the threat of COVID-19 in the country’s overcrowded jails.

Zimbabwe’s prisons have a capacity of 17,000 prisoners but held about 22,000 before the amnesty declared by president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

400 prisoners were released from Chikurubi prison and other jails in the capital, Harare, on Saturday with more coming from other prisons countrywide.

Those to be released had been convicted of non-violent crimes. All females imprisoned for non-violent crimes and who served a third of their sentences are to be released, and all disabled persons convicted of non-violent crimes.  Africa centers for disease control and prevention data show, Zimbabwe has recorded 37,534 cases of covid-19, including 1,551 deaths.

Authorities say, those convicted of crimes such as murder, treason, human trafficking, and sexual offenses will not benefit.

President Mnangagwa also commuted death sentences to life sentences for many prisoners on death row. Zimbabwe still has the death penalty but has not hanged anyone in years.

Authorities have suspended visits to prisons while plans are made to vaccinate inmates as part of measures to combat the spread of the virus. Political activists who have been sent to prison as part of a government crackdown on dissent have spoken of dire conditions, which they said put inmates at risk of both starvation and disease outbreak.

In another response to the pandemic, Zimbabwe has canceled the independence day celebrations planned for April 18 to combat the spread of COVID-19.

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Egypt: At Least 11 Killed, 100 Injured In Train Crash North Of Cairo

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Egypt: At Least 11 Killed, 100 Injured In Train Crash North Of Cairo

At least 11 persons have been killed in Egypt in a train accident. Egypt’s health ministry said in a statement, at least 100 persons were also injured on Sunday in the crash in Egypt’s Qalioubia province north of Cairo. Around 60 ambulances were sent to take the injured from the scene to nearby hospitals.

Railway authorities say at least four train wagons ran off the tracks at the city of Banha in the province. The train was travelling to the Nile Delta city of Mansoura from the Egyptian capital.

Sunday’s train accident came three weeks after two passenger trains collided in the province of Sohag, killing at least 18 persons and injuring 200 others, including children.

The government says it has launched a broad renovation and modernization initiative in the railway system.

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