Headlines
  • Iraqi Forces Use Pellet Guns, Slingshots to Confront Anti Government Protesters
  • Coronavirus Toll Reaches 1,900 Worldwide
  • Afghan Security Forces Freed a Man Abducted from Dasht-e Abedan, Imam Sahib district, Kunduz
  • Netanyahu Corruption Trial Set to Open on March 17, Two Weeks After Presidential Election
  • Iran: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Calls for Massive Election Turnout to Frustrate U.S.
  • Five Civilians Injured in Explosion of IED in Car in Bab Musalla, Damascus: SANA

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Africa Scaling Up Coronavirus Detection, Prevention

African countries are scaling up their ability to detect the coronavirus as fears mount that the continent’s first confirmed case could soon be announced.

With more than 64,000 cases of the novel coronavirus confirmed across the globe, officials in Africa are rushing to train health workers, enhance screening at airports and set up laboratories in all 54 African states to detect the virus.

“As we speak today, more than 16 countries now have that capacity to test,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday. “And by the 20th of this month, an additional 20 labs — that is 16 plus 20 — will have the capacity to test. So, we are scaling up very rapidly across the continent in terms of diagnostics. As we speak here now there is a training going on in Nairobi, Kenya, on enhanced surveillance at airports and ports of entry screening. Over 40 countries will be trained in two sets.”

Despite the efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, Nkengasong said there is a possibility the coronavirus has already entered Africa.

“I think that should remain a possibility because of our weak surveillance systems that might not be picking up cases,” he said. “But we also know that the entire continent is at a very heightened state of preparedness and alertness.”

Several African countries have reported suspected cases in the two months since the virus first emerged in China, but none have been confirmed.

Nkengasong underscored the risk, should the coronavirus be found in Africa.

“We are seeing what is happening in China, that even with the amount of resources, that in China it has been a struggle,” he said. “This is a fast-evolving and fast-replicating virus. So, if the virus was to hit a fragile state in Africa, the concern is that the consequences would be very, very devastating.”

Students in Wuhan

The Africa CDC called on African governments to bring back students trapped in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, after the government locked down the city.

Nkengasong said it could easily become a humanitarian crisis if students in China run low on supplies. However, some African governments have been reluctant to evacuate their nationals in Wuhan because of weaker surveillance and health care systems back home~VOA

Pakistan Suicide Bomb Attack

Police in Pakistan say a suicide bomber killed at least eight people and wounded more than a dozen others on February 17 at a radical Sunni Islamist rally in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. Quetta Police Chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema said the February 17 rally was being staged by dozens of Sunni Muslim followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) party..Shops throughout Pakistan’s southeastern city of Quetta were closed to protest against a lack of security after a suicide bombing killed at least 10 people and wounded dozens
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Kenya al Shabab Raids

Kenya launched an operation to flush out Al-Shabab terrorists from the northeast Boni Forest on the border with Somalia in 2015. The operation was meant to last a few months but – nearly five years later – security forces are still struggling to stamp out the Islamist militants. Villagers are afraid to venture into the forest and a deadly January attack on the county’s joint Kenya-US military base has highlighted ongoing insecurity
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Afghan Refugees

As Afghanistan grapples with the possibility of a peace deal, the future of millions of Afghan refugees also looks a little more hopeful. United Nations and other officials at a refugee conference in Pakistan warn that peace alone will not be enough to send them home
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India Economy Slowdown

India’s economic growth has plummeted to a decade low a sharp contrast to only a year ago when it was the world’s fastest growing major economy
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Video News Digest

Dozens of protesters from across Kazakhstan gathered in the capital, Nur-Sultan, to protest against what say are “faulty mortgages” and “wrongful” court decisions by the courts…Kosovo marked the 12th anniversary of the country’s independence with a special theme for an important cultural and national icon
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