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African press review 8 February 2016

media DR

In today's African press review, Egypt sees red over a presidential carpet, scientists think the Zika virus won't be threatning Africa anytime soon and the South African government hopes for more rain.

Regional paper The East African says the Zika virus is unlikely to spread in Africa. The virus is transmitted by mosquito bite and although the symptoms associated with Zika virus are relatively mild, the scourge currently sweeping Latin America and the Caribbean is suspected of causing severe birth defects in newborns.

According to a team of Ugandan and Kenyan researchers, "it is unlikely that the Zika virus outbreak will spread to Africa". The two teams of scientits say they will launch a study to see "if people are silently suffering from the disease in the region".

Zika was first detected in East Africa "seven decades ago" and the scientits plan to establish wether it still exists in the region" explains The East African.

But because the Aedes mosquitoes have been in Africa for a long time, scientists think most people are immune to them.

"Africans may have developed immunity to the Zika virus as a result of their exposure to the many related viral infections" concluded the paper.

Business Day's front page is devoted to South Africa's drought and the fact that the South African government is refusing to declare it a national disaster. The drought is "the worst in a century" explains the paper, but agriculture minister Bheki Cele "hopes ample late rains will improve the situation".

What happened is that the "country's largest grain producer group Grain SA called the government last week to declare a national disaster". Such a move "would trigger the release of emergency relief funds to farmers" explains Business Day.

But Cele argues that the drought has already been declared a disaster in some states and that some farmes were already given money. If this drought continues though, the country might start importing maize, the main source of calories for many houselholds, says the paper.

"We'll have money to import it, but the problem is the availability" says Cele.

Egyptians are seeing red this morning and all that because of a red carpet.

The Egypt Indepedent reports on the red carpet "on which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s procession passed for several kilometers during a visit to 6 October City on Saturday to open several projects".

This image has apparently "provoked anger" due to Sisi's austerity policies. "Do we now put down the red carpets for cars too?" asked a radio host.

Ironically, Sisi gave a speech on Saturday where he said Egypt wouldn't be able to continue "its subsidy on water bills" and "called on citizens to not complain about the increase in bills of water and electricity".

The paper has a funny tweet on the topic: “Guess what’s the price of one meter of that red carpet? Or what’s the price of several kilowatts of electricity? Let people know.”

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