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Coronavirus updates #4 – Latin America, Africa and Asia


The latest from Latin America: Prison concerns and burials ‘with dignity’

Prisoners rioted at Modelo jail in Bogotá on 22 MarchImage caption: Prisoners rioted at Modelo jail in Bogotá on 22 March

The top court in Colombia has asked the government for its plans on how to protect the country’s prisoners from the coronavirus pandemic. The court has given the relevant authorities three days to share the measures they have taken to stop the spread of the virus in Colombia’s overcrowded jails. On 22 March, more than 20 inmates died in rioting and attempted break-outs amid rising tension as the number of confirmed cases in the country rose.

The president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, has said that the bodies of those who die in the western city of Guayaquil – a virus hotspot – would be buried “with dignity” in cemeteries. His tweet came after an official said that there were plans underway to build a mass grave. On Monday, Reuters reported that the body of a man was left lying on a pavement in central Guayaquil after he collapsed. The cause of the man’s death is not known.

Mexico has declared a health emergency which will last until 30 April. The move comes after heavy criticism was levelled against President Andrés Manuel López Obrador over his response to the pandemic. The president is one of the few in the region who has not ordered a lockdown. Under the new rules, gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned. Twenty-eight people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.

Latest from Africa: Delayed elections and internet blues

Kenya police are enforcing nightly curfews to stop coronavirus spreadingImage caption: Kenya police are enforcing nightly curfews to stop coronavirus spreading

More than 25 million people are placed on a two-week lockdown in parts of Nigeria in a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus, poor people in congested neighbourhoods are worried about how they will cope

Ethiopia has announced that a highly anticipated general election scheduled for August will be postponed because of the pandemic

Kenya’s chief of police has ordered a probe into the killing of a 13-year-old boy, shot dead in a Nairobi slum as a curfew was enforced by police

Congo-Brazzaville’s former President Jacques Joaquim Yhombi Opango died in Paris from complications related to coronavirus .The family of the 81 year old, who was toppled in 1979, said he had been ill before contracting the virus

The government in the conflict-hit nation of Somalia has ordered the closure of all religious schools, or madrassas, in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus and has urged people to pray at home instead of going to mosques for the next two weeks

Uganda has introduced new restrictions for the next two weeks, including a ban on the use of private cars unless a person has permission from the government

The southern African nations of Botswana and Mozambique have declared states of emergency as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, a night-time curfew was announced in Guinea in West Africa

Fighting and shelling has continued in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, despite calls for a ceasefire to deal with the pandemic

South Africa has launched a mass screening programme for coronavirus, with 10,000 field workers to start visiting homes to check for symptoms

Meanwhile, South Africa, and many countries along the West African coast, are experiencing slow internet speeds because repairs are needed to an undersea cable, which runs from Cape Town to Europe. It is causing lockdown blues for those trying to work from home.

What’s the latest from Asia?

Australia has reported a drop in the number of new coronavirus cases. Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters that the rate of growth in new infections had fallen from 25 to 30% last week, to 9% on average over the past three days, according to news agency Reuters. He said it was an “early promising sign”

Myanmar has recorded its first coronavirus death. The man was 69, and was suffering from cancer, health officials said. The country, formerly known as Burma, has 14 cases so far

The World Health Organization says it expects the Philippines to ramp up testing after the number of coronavirus-related deaths reached 78. The country has recorded just 1,546 infections so far, with the high death rate appearing to suggest many cases are going undiagnosed

New at-home blood collection services are being launched in Pakistan after the numbers donating fell due to the coronavirus outbreak. An official at the Fatimid Foundation, which will collect blood at the doorstep, told BBC Urdu it was meant to allow people to donate without leaving home. Pakistan has about 100,000 patients, most of them children, with thalassemia who need blood transfusions every 10 to 15 days

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