Cumulatively, Malawi COVID-19 recovery cases at 5,346; Africa at 1,540,801

By Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express &

In the past 24 hours of Friday, November 6, has Malawi cumulatively registered 5,346 COVID-19 recoveries, bringing the total number of active cases to 412 from the 648 tests that were conducted

New registered COVID-19 case are two while eight are new recoveries and no new related deaths.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 5,942 cases including 184 deaths and of these cases, 1,170 are imported infections and 4,772 are locally transmitted while cumulatively, 65,355 tests have been conducted in the country so far since April.

African situation

On the African continent, as of November 6, the confirmed cases from 55 countries have reached 1,843,581 with reported deaths at 44,244 and recoveries at 1,540,801.

South Africa has the most reported cases — 732,414, with deaths numbering 19,677.

Other most-affected countries include Morocco (240,951), Egypt (108,530), Ethiopia (98,391), Tunisia (66,334) and Libya (65,440).

The numbers are compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University using statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international institutions as well national and regional public health departments.

World situation

A report by guest collumnist, Andrew Firmin and Inés Pousadela says COVID-19 has presented a severe danger for African societies and economies, as people faced the threat not only of the virus, but also of lockdown regulations that hit vulnerable communities hard.

Many states have further used the emergency as a cover to clamp down on civic freedoms and repress the rights of excluded groups.

Fortunately, Africa’s diverse and committed civil society has been on hand to play its part, mitigating the impacts of the crisis in a range of ways.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been a key source of resilience, defending rights, helping those most in need, filling the gaps left by governments and businesses and holding their governments to account.

To respond to a pandemic that will have lasting impacts and be better prepared when the next crisis strikes, Africa’s governments have some important lessons to learn.

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They need to view civil society in a different light, recognising the vital roles civil society played under the pandemic. States should partner with civil society and embrace not only its service-providing roles but also its more contentious watchdog and advocacy roles, because they are all important.

A new report released by the Johannesburg-based global civil society alliance, Civicus — ‘Solidarityin the time of COVID-19’,  highlights the irreplaceable roles played by civil society activists and organisations in all shapes and sizes during the pandemic.

Across Africa, civil society responded rapidly to provide food, essential services and vital sanitary items to communities left isolated by lockdowns and impoverished by economies placed on hold.

Civil society stepped in when official communication channels failed to give people accurate information about how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.

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By using creative methods such as street art, and working in diverse languages, CSOs were able to disseminate important information to communities that governments were unable or unwilling to reach.

In country after country across the continent, civil society adopted a can-do mindset, mounting a positive response characterised by flexibility, creativity and innovation. Even CSOs that normally prioritise advocacy for rights rapidly reoriented to providing essential supplies and services.

In South Africa, the Ndlovu Youth Choir worked to dispel myths and misunderstandings about COVID-19 and share basic health guidelines through their music.

Civil society devoted a large part of its response to helping at-risk and excluded groups adversely affected by lockdowns and emergency measures.

Locked indoors, women faced greater risk of gender-based violence. Sexual minorities, migrants and refugees and ethnic or religious minority groups were often smeared as sources of infection and discriminated against when seeking help.

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Malawi’s Centre for Wocial Concern and Development, for example, launched a mobile-to-mobile check-in service so that it could stay in contact with girls at risk of sexual violence when it was no longer possible to reach them physically.

In many countries, civil society also sought to hold police forces to account for human rights abuses committed while enforcing emergency regulations.

In Nigeria, Spaces for Change set up an online tracking team to map and monitor restrictions, including police violence, and established a helpline to provide free legal advice to people whose rights were being violated.

Coronavirues alert: Respect to health workers

But rather than recognising these vital civil society roles, too often African governments responded by imposing further restrictions. Whistleblowers were targeted: when journalist Hopewell Chin’ono exposed corruption in the procurement of medical supplies in Zimbabwe, his reward was arrest and detention.

Protests, even when masked and distanced, were often brutally policed. In one shocking example, at least six people were killed at a protest against emergency restrictions in Guinea in May.

NOTE: Andrew Firmin is Editor-in-Chief and Inés Pousadela Senior Research Specialist at CIVICUS. ‘Solidarity in the Time of COVID-19’

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