Eyder Peralta

This morning, human rights activist Rinu Oduala could still hear gunfire outside her house in Lagos, Nigeria.

"I can't even describe it," she said, growing emotional. "It seems like our whole hope is lost."

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Nigerian security forces opened fire on protesters tonight in Lagos.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Everyone, sit down. Sit down. Sit down.

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This past Sunday at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, it was life as usual.

Kids took rides on horses and camels. Families and lovers shared paddle boats in the lake at the center of the park.

Alice Nyambura and Lucy Wahu, both college sophomores, sat on the grass watching the boats. The sun was shining; the lily pads blooming. They had come here to get their minds off the pandemic.

"I don't think there is anything like corona," Nyambura said.

"It is there," Wahu corrected her. "But I think they are exaggerating the numbers."

These days, downtown Nairobi feels almost back to normal after Kenya's lockdown lifted in July. People are back on the streets navigating broken sidewalks — and alongside them are thousands of hawkers.

They're selling face masks and hand sanitizer — and dawa — fruit and herbal juices that Kenyans imbibe to treat all kinds of ailments.

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In a somber speech broadcast in prime time on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa painted a worrying picture as the new coronavirus spikes in the country.

"The storm is upon us," he said.

As Zuleika Yusuf Daffala walks across Kibera, one of the big informal settlements in Kenya's capital, she greets dozens of kids on the streets. Some are jumping rope, others chasing each other through the alley and another group is trying to make a tiny cooking pan out of an aluminum can.

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Uganda has implemented one of the harshest lockdowns in Africa in response to the coronavirus. But now the government is also using it to silence its critics. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

The picture is stunning. It shows One Africa Place, a bullet-shaped glass high-rise in Nairobi, framed by the jagged, snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya.

All of the COVID-19 social distancing measures have reduced pollution so much that suddenly, the second-highest mountain in Africa, with an altitude of 17,057 feet, is visible from Kenya's capital city, about 85 miles away.

Njube Mpofu normally runs a beer garden in Zimbabwe's capital city Harare. Zimbabwe is not an easy place to run a business. Water and electricity are rationed and the dollars are hard to come by.

Almost two weeks ago, and with just eight reported cases at the time, Zimbabwe announced a three-week nationwide lockdown to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Mpofu had to close his beer garden and, he says, the situation in the country has gotten worse.

"To tell you the truth, I really don't understand how we are doing it, but somehow we seem to be surviving," he said.

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Authorities around the world have issued their own guidelines and rules designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. And as they've sought to enforce these rules, some efforts have sparked backlash and concerns about privacy.

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