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Covid-19: Kenyan researchers identify virus strains

Rhoda Odhiambo

BBC Africa Health, Nairobi

A medical officer takes a sample for coronavirus at the laboratory of Kenya Medical Research Institute
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Kenyan researchers have identified at least nine strains of Covid-19 circulating in the country in efforts to track mutations of the virus.

The nine strains are not any different from the ones circulating globally.

The team of scientists analysed 122 genomes collected from symptomatic and asymptomatic patients in the capital, Nairobi, and the coastal city of Mombasa.

"The analysis further suggests that infections detected and confirmed in March 2020 were largely from virus importation into the country, " read the report by Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).

The samples were collected from cases detected in Kenya between 12 March and 25 May.

"This successful sequencing for the novel coronavirus SARS Cov-2 in Kenya is a significant milestone in the response to the pandemic in Kenya as this will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus and aid in the tracing of the sources of community infections,” Prof Yeri Kombe, head of the institute, said in a statement.

Nigeria to reopen airports for domestic flights

Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos
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Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos is among those to be reopened

Nigeria's aviation authority has announced plans to reopen five airports across the country for domestic flights only as restrictions are eased.

The airports will be reopened on 21 June.

The five are located in the capital Abuja, the commercial hub Lagos, the southern city of Port Harcourt, the northern Kano state and south-eastern Imo state.

Musa Nuhu, the head of the aviation authority, said other airports "will be gradually added to the network after a review and assessment".

"The closure of Nigerian airports to international flights will continue until date of the resumption is announced," he said in a statement.

Flights repatriating Nigerians from abroad and humanitarian flights are allowed to operate, but under strict protocols.