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Residents wait in line to register outside a Discovery Ltd. mass vaccination site in the Midrand district of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. A third wave of coronavirus cases in South Africa’s commercial hub of Gauteng may have peaked after daily infections surged to a record last week. Photo Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

 

(Bloomberg) -- Uganda has added herbal remedies to treatments it recommends for the coronavirus even before concluding clinical trials as it battles a surge in cases driven by the delta variant.

The government gave five acres (two hectares) of land to Jena Herbals Ltd. to immediately build a factory and ramp up production of its Covidex product, the Uganda Investment Authority said Wednesday. The substance contains extracts of berberine and zanthoxylum gilletii plants used as supplements and treatments of viral ailments. Gulu University in northern Uganda is expecting 3.7 billion shillings ($1 million) from the national treasury to support the development of a different solution called Covilyce.

Government has moved to support clinical trials on the herbal remedies to obtain reliable data on the efficacy, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Monica Musenero said in an interview last week.

Africa, where about 1.3% of the 1.2 billion population are fully inoculated, is struggling to get more vaccines, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has said 20 nations face a severe third wave of the disease. That’s helped herbal solutions gain popularity in Uganda, where the variant first identified in India has fueled infections.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Uganda has more than doubled, while the death tally climbed more than six-fold since May 26, according to data from the Health Ministry. Cases so far stood at 91,162 and 2,425 deaths on July 19.

Production of Covidex reached 30,000 20-milliliter units daily after the National Drug Authority in June approved it for supportive treatment of viral infections. Patrick Ogwang, the scientist behind Covidex, said his Jena Herbals plans to more than triple production within months. The drug acts by supposedly preventing virus growth and has anti-inflammatory effects, according to information on the website of a Covidex distributor, Rocket Health. - Fred Ojambo, Bloomberg News

 

DAR ES SALAAM, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian police said on Wednesday they have discovered seven hectares of cannabis and arrested five suspects in connection with the cultivation of the cannabis.

Mtatiro Kitinkwi, the Lindi regional police commander, said the farms were discovered on Tuesday evening in an anti-narcotics crackdown conducted in Mangalanganda forest in Namkongo village in the country's southern region.

Kitinkwi told a news conference that the five suspects were reportedly owners of four cannabis farms in the forest.

"Police launched the crackdown after villagers provided information on the cultivation of the cannabis," he said, adding that one of the suspects was found in possession of a rifle.

Kitinkwi said police also found a number of plastics bags with dried cannabis in some parts of the forest.

In June 2020, police discovered about 100 hectares of cannabis in Morogoro region's five villages and arrested 12 suspects. - Xinhua

  • Skyward aircraft crash-landed at Burahache on Wednesday, July 21, 2021/TWITTER

    The Kenyan aircraft operated by Skyward Airlines, Reg 5Y -GRS  made an emergency landing at Burahache closed airstrip veering off the strip. 

    Last week on Monday, July 12, one person was confirmed dead after a plane crashed in Naivasha. The plane crash which happened in the Ndabibi area left two people with injuries. 

    The light aircraft was monitoring a locust invasion when it crashed. Nakuru Deputy County Commissioner Steve Mwonge confirmed the incident. 

    The aircraft was reported to have been making strange sounds before crashing down.

    One witness explained the scenes on the ground in graphic detail saying, "one of the victims' heads burst open, and the body is completely burnt."

    Scouring through the remains in the aftermath of the tragedy, the witnesses moved debris and other burnt plane wreckage trying to identify the victims of the accident.

    On-scene residents threw sand onto the sections still on fire in an attempt to snuff the fire.

    And on Thursday, June 24, a military chopper with passengers on board crashed and burst into flames in Kajiado County leaving 10 soldiers dead and 13 others injured. 

    A statement by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), stated that the plane was a Mi 171e Air Force Helicopter and it crashed at around 9 am.

    "It was on a training mission and crash-landed at the Ol Tepesi area in Ngong, Kajiado County.

    Passenger plane crash-landed at Burahache Airstrip on Wednesday, July 21 2021
    Passenger plane crash-landed at Burahache Airstrip on Wednesday, July 21 2021/TWITTER Source: Kenyans.co.ke
 
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) during the famous March 2018 handshake that birthed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)
    FILE 
  • As the 2022 General elections draw closer, all eyes are on the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga to see his next move in the chess game that is politics. 

    In the recent past, the political scenario has shifted with Raila's National Super Alliance (NASA) counterparts alienating ODM and forming their own outfit.

    Amani National Congress(ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya's Moses Wetangula, and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka have all claimed that the NASA coalition is in the past as they focus on the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) alongside their KANU counterpart Gideon Moi.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta's shakes hands with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on March 9, 2018.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta's shakes hands with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on March 9, 2018.
    TWITTER

    The ODM leader, through the 2018 handshake agreement, has formed an alliance with President Uhuru Kenyatta- a play that many argue would aid him in appeasing the Mt Kenya region should he announce his candidature. 

    Political analyst Herman Manyora, however, addressed Raila's chances should Uhuru revert and back his Deputy William Ruto.

    "If Uhuru went (and backed Ruto) it would be a difficult game for Raila but the ODM leader is a political analyst he can make a move like supporting somebody else and the game is done," Manyora stated.  

    He noted that both Uhuru and Raila should not try to play each other.

    "So Raila can leave Uhuru and Ruto in the corner and mobilise the rest of the country into a political formation that would kick these guys out," Manyora stated.

    His sentiments were echoed by analyst Mark Bichache who affirmed that Raila's chances are pegged on his political alliances. 

    "If Uhuru backs Ruto, status quo for the Deputy President remains the same because he's banking on the Central region and the Rift. It would make it easier for him to score 100 percent in Mt Kenya but what about the rest of the country? The ideal thing is for Uhuru to back Raila.

    "Raila knows if he backs down and supports someone such as Mudavadi, they have a greater chance of winning, he also knows that if he stays in the race and his NASA counterparts back him, then he's assured of the presidency," Bichache spoke to Kenyans.co.ke 

    Political analyst Martin Andati differed with his two counterparts alleging that despite Raila being a kingmaker and a key player in the political industry, he would not stand a chance. 

    "The Kamba nation is not with him, section of Mt Kenya has rejected him, but you cannot wish him away, he will be a kingmaker.

    "You can not wish them (Uhuru and Raila) away and that is the greatest mistake Ruto is making and he will always live to regret," Andati opined. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) with Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Opposition leader Raila Odinga during the launch of the BBI report at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi on November 27.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) with Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi YOUTUBE Source:Kenyans.co.ke

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. PHOTO | FILE | NMG/Photo Courtesy EA

The United Kingdom has retained Kenya in the list of countries whose nationals are barred from entering Britain, dealing a blow to Nairobi’s efforts for review of the travel embargo.

The UK last week updated countries on England’s “Red List” amid concerns about the spread of new Covid-19 variants.

Kenya remained on the travel ban list where it was first included in April, triggering a tit-for-tat travel blockade from Nairobi.

The UK travel ban comes amid fears that the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant may spark a fourth wave of infections in Kenya over the next two months.

It also signals that reconciliatory talks initiated in mid-April to review the travel restrictions between Kenya and the UK, which threatened bilateral trade, economic and security relations, have not prompted England to downgrade the movement limits.

The UK ban has added weight to the decision of more than 50 countries to deny access to Kenyans in the global race to protect nations against new variants of coronavirus. 

In May, Kenya lifted the ban on flights between Nairobi and London and eased restrictions imposed in retaliation to its inclusion in the red list.

The UK has segmented countries into a green, amber and red lists, each carrying different degrees of restrictions for arrivals back into the UK.

A British citizen travelling from a Green List is not required to undergo a mandatory quarantine.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the Red List will be denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels.

Kenya has relaxed punitive requirements that it had imposed on British citizens that required them to be isolated for 14 days before they can be admitted to the country.

In mid-June review, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said the British nationals and non-citizens travelling through London are required to self-isolate for only seven days.

The UK claims its decisions are based on scientific evidence on the incidence of deadly and highly contagious Covid-19 strains. The rapidly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant, first identified in India, is dominant in western Kenya, where it was initially detected in the country.

The government imposed restrictions on movement in the region to try and stem it from spreading nationwide.

Most countries are preparing to sign off on plans for unrestricted travel for people who have had both jabs.

About 1.61 million people have been inoculated so far in Kenya, of which 581,003 got their second doses.

The government expects to receive 13 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses from August and targets to inoculate more than 10 million people by the end of December and the entire 26 million adult population by the end of 2022.

Kenya had 192,435 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,760 deaths as of July 17, with a positivity rate of 10.5 percent.

The UK decision has delivered yet another devastating blow to tourism not only in Kenya but across the continent. With a number of Middle East and African countries on the Red List, Nairobi has been the last major hub for connecting flights into the UK.

Britain is one of Kenya’s main trading partners and in 2019 accounted for the fourth largest arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with 181,400 visitors.

Tourist arrivals from the UK stood at 16,264 in the first half of this year from 42,341 in the same period last year, representing a 62 percent drop.

Besides the UK, Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Portugal, Denmark, Bulgaria and Singapore top the list of countries that have banned or placed restrictions on holders of Kenyan passports. Others are Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Chile, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Cameroon, which Henley & Partners lists as the only African country to place restrictions on Kenya.

The Henley Passport Index made the revelations showing how the virus has hurt travel. By Gerald Andae, East African

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