Covid-19 wrap | Kenya to cordon off some places, France to discard 10 million litres of stale beer

Kenya’s health minister announced on Wednesday that one suburb of the capital Nairobi, as well as a part of the port city of Mombasa, will be cordoned off due to skyrocketing cases of coronavirus in those areas, AFP reports.

Cases of the virus have crept up slowly in Kenya, as in many other African countries, however in recent days it has become clear the virus is fast spreading in several hotspots.

Eastleigh, a suburb in Nairobi with a large Somali population, has recorded 68 cases, while Mombasa’s Old Town has 64 infections, out of a total 582 cases in the country. There have been 26 deaths nationwide.

Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said that from Wednesday, for the next 15 days, “there shall be cessation of movement” in and out of Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town.

“Let me be clear, there will be no movement to or out of the two places from 19:00 today. Within those areas people are free to move but we encourage people to stay in their houses.”

No such measures were announced for the informal settlement Kawangware, where 24 cases of the virus have been recorded.

Kenya has stopped short of ordering a full lockdown, like many of its neighbours. Observers have warned to do so would be a disaster for the millions of urban poor who live hand to mouth in slums in the capital.

The country has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and blocked movement in and out of Nairobi, three coastal towns, and the north-eastern county of Mandera, as well as two refugee camps housing some 400 000 people.

France to throw out 10 million litres of beer that expired because of lockdown regulations

France will discard 10 million litres of beer – four Olympic-sized swimming pools full – due to expire, undrunk, with consumers in coronavirus lockdown, the national brewers’ association said Wednesday, AFP reports.

Most of the wasted brew is craft beer, which is often unpasteurised unlike traditional blonde lagers, and quicker to spoil, said the Brasseurs de France.

“These are very hoppy beers, and if they are kept for too long, when they spend more than two to three months in storage, the olfactory and taste effects, the aroma, disappears,” brewery association boss Maxime Costilhes told AFP.

The body blamed the closure of cafes and restaurants, an abrupt halt to tourism and the cancellation of festivals and expos under France’s strict epidemic lockdown for leaving more than 10 million litres of beer unconsumed, most still in casks.

The number was compiled from the association’s 300-odd members, which represent 98% of beer production in France.

It represents but a drop of the estimated 22.5 million hectolitres of beer the country is set to produce in 2020, but nevertheless comes at a loss of millions of euros to producers.

The country, better known for its wine, has seen beer sales soar in recent years, spurred by an increase in craft brewing.

Germany accelerates resumption of normality

Germany is planning an almost complete return to normality in May, with schools and shops reopening and the return of top-flight Bundesliga football matches, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

AFP reports that all schools and shops will now be able to open as long as they observe hygiene and social distancing rules, with the Bundesliga resuming behind closed doors, Merkel said after a meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states.

“I believe we can say today that we have the very first phase of the pandemic behind us,” Merkel said, adding that Germany had “achieved the goal” of slowing the spread of the virus.

Schools had already been allowed to open, but only so far to older children.

Likewise, only shops up to a certain size have previously been allowed to do business.

In theory Germany’s reopening is immediate. but In practice the 16 states will make separate announcements.

The exact date of the Bundesliga’s restart will be determined by the league, as players will have to undergo a week-long quarantine before matches resume.