The World Health Organization declared the rapid spreading coronavirus a pandemic on Wednesday 11th March. Since the confirmation of the first cases of the scourge in the Chinese city of Wuhan on January 7, 2020, there are 294,110 confirmed cases with 12,944 confirmed deaths in 187 locations globally.
In Africa, some 739 confirmed cases have been confirmed with 20 deaths. WHO’s Director-General, Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he expects the outbreak to worsen. “We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher,” he said.
With the spread of the deadly outbreak gaining pace in Africa, China’s richest man and founder of e-commerce company Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, donated 20,000 coronavirus test kits to each African country.
Ma’s generosity also comes with 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits and shields for each of the 54 countries.
In a statement that accompanied the announcement of the kits to African countries, Ma said his donation was to help “take precautions now and get prepared ahead of time.”
The statement also said, “In addition, we will immediately start working with medical institutions in Africa to provide online training material for COVID-19 clinical treatment.”
As Africa records more cases and governments across the continent announce stringent measures aimed at halting the widespread of the scourge, Face2face Africa looks at some of the ‘positive’ impacts it made on the continent.
Stabilization of currency
Despite the coronavirus outbreak hitting the global economy really hard and raising fears of global economic meltdown, currencies across Africa are making gains against major international currencies like the dollar.
For instance, the Ghana cedi after losing about 13 percent of its value to the US dollar in 2019, started this year on a buoyant note – registering impressive performances against the US currency and other major world currencies – a position it has since sustained.
The cedi appreciated by 4.75 percent to the US dollar, 6.73 percent to the British pound and 8.26 percent to the euro, on February 27, according to IGS Financial Services Limited, an investment advisory, and a pension fund manager.
Dr. Lord Mensah, an economist with the University of Ghana Business School said the stability of the cedi could be credited to the deadly coronavirus as trading between Ghana and China slumped amid the outbreak.
“Obviously I won’t rule that out, we are not in a standalone economy. For Ghana, a chunk of our trade is with China and because of the virus, people may not be changing dollars.
“I won’t be surprised that it (coronavirus) could have that positive impact on our currency. Even though it is China, most of the transactions we do with them is in dollars and even the Chinese prefer it that way. I won’t be surprised to attribute that to it but we will need a scientific reason to prove that,” Dr. Mensah said on Accra-based Starr FM.
Also, the South African Rand ZAR=D3 had seen some appreciation against the dollar It was up 0.56% at 16.6000 per dollar after having weakened 2.5% last Monday.
Private jets making huge earning in Nigeria
As numbers of the deadly coronavirus hike steadily in Nigeria authorities there announced restriction of entry into the country for travelers from 13 countries including the US and UK.
The restriction will apply to travelers from countries with more than 1,000 cases. They include China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, Norway, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, the country’s National Centre for Disease Control said on its Twitter account.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travelers from these countries. All travelers returning from these countries prior to the restriction will be in supervised self-isolation, monitored by the NCDC and Port Health Services,” – the tweet read.
Following restriction, which has been in effect since March 20, Private jet charter companies in Nigeria are experiencing a spike in bookings.
Head of operations at ExecuJet, Victor Mbachi, an umbrella company for private jet operators in Nigeria, told the BBC that bookings for international journeys have more than doubled in the last two weeks.
A representative of Stargate Jets, a Lagos-based private jet charter company operating both domestic and international routes also told the BBC the company had also experienced the “unusual increase in bookings”.
No more protests; intransigent leaders get a breather
The fear of contracting the deadly virus forced Algerian protesters to called off their weekly anti-government demonstration.
Had the protest went ahead it would have been the 57th week in a row that Algerians came out onto the streets, the BBC reported.
Similar suspension of protest had been recorded across the continent to stem the spread of the virus.