Unexplained Deaths in Tanzania, Somalia’s Coronavirus Data Gaffe, and more East Africa Updates


Via Mohamed Salh: Djibouti reported 8 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases to 1,097. It has reported two deaths and 672 recoveries.


Both Somaliland and Puntland confirmed the first deaths in the region from the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s Minister of Information came under controversy yesterday after he told reporters that coronavirus was being listed as the cause or contributor to all deaths in the country.

Based on the recent data from the Ministry of Health, this has not been guidance that has been implemented in official statistics. But it does underscore the pressure that the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) may feel to address rumors that the coronavirus is having a wider impact than what is being reported.

Additionally, this unabashedly unscientific assumption is no substitution for mass testing. Somalia has not been forthcoming with daily data to explain the current level of testing. The last known figure came on a report from April 28 in which Dr. Abdirizak Yusuf Ahmed, the lead for Somalia’s COVID-19 response, told journalist Amanda Sperber that the country had carried out 764 tests (which amounts to approximately .05 tests per 1,000 people).



The two new cases in Ethiopia have a history of travel from the Kenyan border town of Moyale and Puntland, Somalia.

Ethiopia 1 May coronavirus


Tanzanian Justice Minister and former UN Special Envoy to Somalia Augustine Mahiga died at the age of 74 from an undisclosed cause of death.

Mahiga is the third Tanzanian official to die under unexplained circumstances as the opposition has criticized the government for not being forthcoming with the impact of coronavirus in the country.

Via Bloomberg:

Mahiga’s demise followed the death of Gertrude Rwakatare on April 20 and Richard Ndassa nine days later. The authorities haven’t given information on causes of the deaths, prompting speculation after Covid-19 cases in the country jumped to 480 and 16 deaths in one month.

The Tanzanian opposition has called on its members to stop attending parliamentary sessions. The government has not provided new data on the spread or decline of the virus since April 29.

Tanzanians may not be taking social distancing measures seriously because politicians, including President John Magufuli, and Tanzanian religious figures have urged people to attend church “in throngs”  to pray for the virus to go away rather than stay home.


Uganda’s coronavirus cases rise to 83 as two Kenyan truckers test positive for COVID-19.

Via Daily Monitor:

They are among the 2,017 people whose samples were tested on Thursday.
The Ministry of Health said on Friday morning that out of the total samples sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), all 492 samples from the community tested negative for COVID-19.

Uganda, which is under virus lockdown until May 5, has in the past few weeks seen an increase in confirmed cases among truck drivers, especially from Kenya and Tanzania. A total of 25 truck drivers have so far tested positive for the virus in Uganda.


Via Reuters:

The Rwandan government will allow limited movement of people and allow restricted openings of businesses including restaurants and hotels from next Monday as it starts to ease its coronavirus lockdown.

Movement between provinces in the central African country will still not be allowed, while schools will also remain shut until September, according to a government statement released late on Thursday.

The piece includes a fascinating photo of Rwandan police employing drones fitted with a megaphone to enforce quarantines in the capital Kigali.

The New Times has a list of 10 guidelines that Rwandans must follow.

Categories: Around the Horn, Coronavirus

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