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New Zealand falls silent for mosque attack victims

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New Zealand has broadcast the Islamic call to prayer and observed a two-minute silence in ceremonies to mark a week since the Christchurch attacks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined thousands of mourners near the Al-Noor mosque, one of two places of worship targeted in last Friday’s shootings.

Imam Gamal Fouda, who led the prayers, said: “We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken.”

Fifty people were killed and dozens more wounded in the attacks.

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Australian Brenton Tarrant, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, has been charged with one murder and is expected to face further charges.

On Thursday Ms Ardern announced a ban on all types of semi-automatic weapons.

What is happening on Friday?

Thousands of people have gathered in Hagley Park, near the Al-Noor mosque, to mark Friday’s national day of reflection for the victims.

The Muslim call to prayer, or adhan, was broadcast on national television and radio at 13:30 (00:30 GMT) and was followed by a two-minute silence.

In an address beforehand, Ms Ardern said: “New Zealand mourns with you, we are one.”

“According to the Prophet Muhammad… the believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain.”

The Imam of Al-Noor mosque, Gamal Fouda, was there when the attack happened and said the gunman “broke the hearts of millions around the world”.

“Today, from the same place, I look out and I see the love and compassion,” he said.

“We are alive, we are together, we are determined to not let anyone divide us.”

One observer, John Clark, said the message was profound: “People will be rethinking how they react, how they think, and how they speak sometimes – it’s penetrated to that level of society.

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“We like to think that we’re a liberal community, but we know that there are dark parts,” said Mr Clark, 72. “It will positively affect New Zealand and maybe we’ll have even more to offer the world.”

Gamal Fouda, the imam (lead cleric) of tragedy-stricken Al Noor mosque, delivers a sermon ahead of a two-minute observation of silence for victims of the twin mosque massacre, during congregational Friday prayers and memorial gathering at Hagley Park in Christchurch on March 22, 2109.
Imam Gamal Fouda delivered a sermon: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Many mosques across the country are opening their doors to visitors, and human chains will be formed outside some in symbolic acts of protection and support.

A mass funeral is being held for 30 of the dead, including the youngest victim Mucaad Ibrahim, aged three , who was killed at the Al-Noor mosque.



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Uganda pursues truckers who escaped after positive tests

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DAILY MONITOR

By DAILY MONITOR
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Uganda’s Ministry of Health says it has intensified the search for contacts of the seven truck drivers with Covid-19 who were found in Ndeeba, a city suburb, on Saturday night.

The National Covid-19 Response Incident Commander Ateka Kagirita told Daily Monitor Monday that the truck drivers had escaped into the community after finding out their status.

Dr Kagirita said the truckers are among the 25 drivers who previously disappeared into the community after they tested positive at Elegu and Malaba border posts.

“The 24-hour operation is ongoing to hunt down all the truck drivers who escaped into the community after testing positive. We are working day and night to get who they got into contact with, establish where they slept to ensure there is no positive case in the community,” he said.

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Asked whether any action will be taken against the drivers for disappearing into the communities, aware that they could spread the disease, Dr Kagirita said he would give details later.

The Uganda Professional Drivers Network (UPDN) revealed that the Saturday night development, which they attributed to their intervention to help the government to come up with a more comprehensive plan to manage the truck drivers.

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UPDN Executive Director Ndugu Omogo said the seven are Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian nationals.

“Some of them have been in the community for more than a week. Many of them ran away because there is no existing case management system. Many of them think the disease doesn’t exist and that the government just wants to steal money,” he said.

Mr Omogo explained that the drivers believe the disease is a hoax because they have not been adequately sensitised about it.

He added that many of them run away because they are freelance drivers who do not have contracts with the truck owners and when they are arrested and quarantined for 14 days, they are certain of losing jobs.

“100 per cent of the drivers who have tested positive are freelance. They do not have jobs. The only way they get money is when they return the trucks. Nobody accepts them in the community when they test positive,” he said.

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Kenya: Wrong Contact Details Hurt Efforts to Trace Suspected Cases

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Kenyans are on the spot for providing wrong contacts during Covid-19 testing, hampering efforts to trace suspected cases.

During a press conference Sunday, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said the trend is endangering lives.

“Once the results are out, such individuals become unavailable. This is serious considering some of them have tested positive and we are unable to trace them,” he said.

Dr Aman called on those who are being tested to provide the correct information. He said a mobile laboratory is being set up in Namanga for truck drivers.

“We are hoping the turnaround time is going to be reduced,” Dr Aman said, adding that the government had established holding facilities for truckers as they wait for their results.

He said the Health ministry is collaborating with county commissioners to ensure truckers do not mingle with the community, to reduce the rate of virus transmission.

Dr Aman reiterated that the government will meet costs of treatment and quarantine. “It is a concern for the people because most shy away when they hear that costs are their own,” he said.

OBEY GUIDELINES

The CAS warned Kenyans who are not adhering to guidelines, saying containment measures can only be eased depending on their behaviour.

“I can assure you, just like the President said yesterday, the partial lockdown measures would not go on longer than necessary, and will be reviewed if Kenyans follow the containment measures in order to reduce the number of infections,” he said.