Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2018 20:21:12 +0200

Conakry, July 9, 2018 (AFP) - The Guinean capital of Conakry was paralysed on Monday as a 25 percent hike in oil prices fuelled a general strike marked by clashes.   A taxi was set alight by young protesters who threw rocks at police in Kissosso, a southern suburb, AFP correspondents said. Riot police responded with teargas.
 
Buses and shared taxis in the seaside capital stayed parked as young people blocked some of the main roads.   "Even if public transport was working, no one would dare go out in this half-peace, half-war atmosphere," a senior civil servant told AFP. "The government needs to assume its responsibilities."   Rights groups regularly hit out at the large number of casualties during political and social protests in Guinea.   "Rising global oil prices have led to higher costs for importer countries," Diakaria Koulibaly, the minister of hydrocarbons, told AFP.

Keeping oil prices at 8,000 Guinean francs (0.75 euros) per litre "has forced the government to provide ever-higher subsidies as it has partly renounced levies and taxes since October 2017 -- around 736 billion Guinean francs" (70 million euros), he said.
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 16:54:32 +0100

Conakry, March 14, 2018 (AFP) - Guinea's powerful teachers' union called off a month-long strike on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the government on pay.   The strikes have paralysed the country's education system and fractured relations between teachers, parents and the state, while President Alpha Conde has faced criticism for allowing the industrial action to drag on.

They have run in parallel to protests by the opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), one of whose supporters was killed during a demonstration on Wednesday, his family told AFP.   Aboubacar Soumah, the secretary general of the SLECG teachers' union, declared the strike over after signing an agreement with the Inspector General for Work, Alya Camara.   The union has gained a guarantee of a 40-percent pay increase agreed in 2017 which was only partially implemented in February.

The two sides have also agreed to negotiations on May 2-25 for a base salary of eight million Guinean francs (717 euros, $880) and to a promise that strikers would not be punished.   "Each of us put the interests of Guinea first, through the children who should be back at school," said government mediator Mohamed Said Fofana.   President Conde's authority has been sorely tested by the strike, which followed similar industrial action last year.    Rights groups regularly criticise the heavy death tolls during protests and industrial action in Guinea.
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2018 07:07:06 +0100

Conakry, Feb 26, 2018 (AFP) - Guinea braced Monday for a general strike by unions and a complete shutdown of economic activity demanded by the country's opposition after disputed local elections.   The victory by the ruling party of President Alpha Conde in the February 4 vote was marred by post-electoral violence involving supporters of the losing parties.   An on-off teachers' strike that has paralysed the education system also restarted two weeks ago and shows no signs of stopping.   Now the powerful Guinea General Union of Workers (UGTG) has joined the movement by teachers and opposition figures by calling for workers to stay at home on Monday.

The union has cited the mismanagement of the national social security system, poor regulation of subcontracted jobs and a perceived indifference to workplace accidents and arbitrary firings for the strike.   The UGTG has called on public and private sector employees alike to boycott their workplaces.   Former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo's Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) has meanwhile called for a "ville morte" or "dead city" protest, demanding that all economic activity cease and people stay inside.   The party has condemned what it terms "massive fraud" during voting, leading to unrest and the deaths of at least 10 people.   "We want the truth out of the ballot box, nothing more," the party said in a statement on Friday, calling for the "real results" to be published".

Finally, the government urged teachers who have held various walkouts since December to head back to class on Monday and end their most recent strike, a demand they have flatly refused despite the offer of a 10 percent pay increase over the weekend.   The triple challenge will add to the pressure on President Conde to complete promised reforms and speed up negotiations with all parties concerned.   Guinea's education ministry said "all measures have been taken to make schools secure so that classes can take place in the best possible conditions," following protests near some establishments by disgruntled students.

Classes will be repeated and examinations potentially delayed to address the days lost by the strike, the ministry said.   Teachers have requested that a pay rise of 40 percent agreed in October 2017 be implemented, with back pay.   "For as long as the 40 percent (increase) with back pay is unpaid... we will not be going back to school," the teachers' unions said Saturday.   "Even we are sick of ourselves," following weeks of strikes, admitted teacher union spokesman Oumar Tounkara, but added: "We cannot prepare the future of our students while forgetting our present."
Date: Thu 8 Feb 2018
Source: WPXI [edited]
<http://www.wpxi.com/news/national-news/ap-top-news/west-african-nation-of-guinea-reports-lassa-fever-death/696393595>

Authorities in Guinea announced the 1st death from Lassa fever in more than 2 decades [Thu 8 Feb 2018], heightening anxiety about another haemorrhagic fever in the West African country where an Ebola epidemic 1st emerged.

The Ebola outbreak in late 2013 went on to kill more than 11,000 people in part because local authorities and the international community were slow to act when cases 1st popped up in a rural part of the deeply impoverished nation.

In a government statement, health authorities confirmed that at least one person was dead and more than 2 dozen others had been monitored for possible symptoms. However, critics questioned why the government was only now making the news public when the victim died [Thu 11 Jan 2018].

Further complicating the situation was the fact that the Guinean citizen died across the border in Liberia - the same way that Ebola initially spread. Guinea's government had vowed to improve its response to crises after initial efforts were disorganized and met with mistrust.  "This official silence in the face of an epidemic is the reason I buried 8 members of my family who became victims of Ebola," said student [AB] in the capital, Conakry.

Authorities in Guinea, though, said appropriate contact tracing was done and that there was nothing for people to fear.  "None of the patient's contacts in Liberia became sick or tested positive for Lassa," the statement said. It did not mention whether Liberian authorities had been informed. It said the World Health Organization was told 2 days after the death.

There is no approved vaccine for Lassa fever, whose symptoms are similar to Ebola. After starting as a fever with aches and pains it can progress to headache, vomiting and diarrhea. According to WHO, severe cases can cause victims to bleed from the mouth and nose.

Like Ebola, Lassa fever can be spread through contact with the bodily fluids of sick people. Humans also can contract it from eating food that has been tainted by the urine or feces of rodents.

Dr. Sakoba Keita, who coordinated Guinea's national response to the Ebola outbreak from 2014-2016, told private radio station Espace FM that the new Lassa fever case was the country's 1st known one since 1996.

The disease, however, has long existed in West Africa. Nigerian authorities have reported more than 440 suspected cases throughout the country so far this year [2018], according to the non-governmental organization known as ALIMA. At least 40 people are believed to have died from Lassa fever there.  [Byline: Krista Larson and Boubacar Diallo]
====================
[This is the 1st Lassa fever case that ProMED-mail has posted for Guinea. The report above indicates that the affected individual actually died in Liberia, but implies that the infection was acquired in Guinea. Liberia, also a West African country, is endemic for Lassa virus. Lassa fever cases have been reported sporadically there.

The Lassa fever belt in Liberia primarily occupies Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties across the northern tier of counties bordering Guinea. West Africa, including Guinea and Liberia, is endemic for Lass fever virus, although cases are far fewer than in Nigeria. The situation where the person acquired Lassa fever virus is not indicated in this case. Lassa fever remains a problem in West Africa because the virus is endemic there.

Virus transmission to humans occurs when people are in contact with the reservoir rodent host, the multimammate mouse (in the genus _Mastomys_) or its excreta, as was likely the situation in this case. Rodent control has to be undertaken at the village level with individual households. This requires an extensive and continuous public education effort.

Transmission also occurs in health facilities when personal protective equipment is not employed and barrier-nursing practices are not adequate to protect staff from blood and secretions of infected patients, as happened with the cases of the 10 healthcare workers in Nigeria. Early in the course of Lassa fever, patients present with a general febrile disease with symptoms common to a variety of infections, including malaria, making it more difficult for healthcare workers to know when personal protective equipment should be used.

Images of the _Mastomys_ mouse, the rodent reservoir of Lassa fever virus, can be seen at
<https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/45326-Mastomys-natalensis>. - ProMED Mod.TY]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map showing the location of both Guinea and Liberia can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/54>. - ProMED Mod.TY]
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:11:04 +0100

Conakry, Feb 22, 2017 (AFP) - Schools began to reopen across Guinea on Wednesday after a three-week strike and violent protests that left seven people dead in the capital this week, an AFP journalist and school staff said.   The violence in Conakry on Monday and Tuesday capped weeks of protests mainly by young people and students that prompted the government to close schools on 1st February.

The protests were in support of a strike by temporary teachers demanding full-time government contracts.   On Wednesday, students began trickling back into classrooms in the capital and in other cities, with the country's biggest secondary school, Lycee Donka, seeing 60 percent attendance, teacher Bangaly Traore told AFP.

But staff at a nearby school reported only 20 percent of students and 15 percent of teachers present, while schools in the cities of Labe and Kankan were reported to be 33 percent full.   Schools reopened after unions struck a deal with the government late Monday, but some teachers told AFP the deal fell short of their demands.
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