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South Africa experienced over 50% infections in 24 hours as new Covid-19 wave hits town

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There has been a major setback in the fight against the global pandemic, Covid-19 in South Africa. Health authority says a new wave of the deadly virus driven by two new Omicron sub-variants in the country has led to a more than 50% increase in infections in 24 hours.

South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla, hinted last week that the country may be entering a fifth COVID-19 wave earlier than expected following a sustained rise in infections over the past 14 days.

Worldometers reports that South Africa ranks 20 in the global ratings of death cases amongst 226 countries it collected data. That puts the country at the top of the list of cases and casualties in African countries.

The country relaxed mandatory negative results for inbound fully-vaccinated travellers, and other Covid-19 protocols last month but it appears the country might be forced to return to the relaxed rules with the development of the new wave.

According to official figures released on Thursday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases counted 9,757 new cases of Covid-19 in the country, 50% more than the 6,170 new cases counted the day before on Wednesday. 64 new deaths were also reported.

Two new Omicron sub-variants, whose virulence has yet to be determined, are causing the new wave of Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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M23 rebels take control of Kitshanga in eastern DR Congo

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The M23 rebels have announced that its fighters have seized control of the strategic town of Kitshanga, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after days of intense fighting.

The DRC military authorities also confirmed in a statement late on Friday that its forces have withdrawn from the town in a tactical move to protect civilians in the face of a renewed offensive by the rebel militia.

“We have tactically withdrawn from the city in order to attract these genocidal forces deep into the city and avoid the worst for our people in Kitshanga,” spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, said in the statement.

“We are making every effort to dislodge this enemy,” he added.

Videos then emerged on social media showing the M23 fighters celebrating and claiming they had captured the town.

The M23 rebels said it took control of Kitshanga town on Thursday night after capturing several villages on the road linking the town of about 60,000 people to the provincial capital, Goma.

In an earlier statement, M23′s spokesman, Lawrence Kanyuka, has accused government troops of attacking civilians in Kitchanga and elsewhere, and said the rebel group was “obliged to intervene and stop another genocide”.

While condemning the recent development, the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), said more than 500 people, including women and children, are seeking refuge at its base in the town of Kitshanga.

MONUSCO spokesperson, Ndeye Khady Lo, said civilians fleeing from Kitchanga have been given tents, food, water and first aid.

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Metro

237 African migrants rescued off Libyan coast

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Not less than 237 African migrants were on Friday, rescued after their makeshift boat capsized off the Libyan coast while navigating the dangerous Mediterranean Sea, on their way to Europe.

French medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which carried out the rescue mission, said the migrants were rescued by its chartered rescue vessel, Geo Barents, which was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, north of the country’s capital Tripoli, when it received a distress call.

“The Geo Barents ship encountered other overcrowded rubber dinghies with migrants attempting to reach Europe and took them on board,” the NGO said.

“Following instructions by the maritime rescue coordination centre, the ship then sailed towards the northern Italian port of La Spezia.l,” it added.

The MSF and other NGOs operating rescue vessels off Africa’s northern coast have accused the Italian government of deliberately assigning far away ports to discourage their operations, an accusation the Italian Interior Ministry had denied.

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