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Showing posts with label Coronavirus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coronavirus. Show all posts
00:11

Scotland imposes nationwide coronavirus lockdown




Scotland is to impose a nationwide coronavirus lockdown for the rest of January because of a surge in cases, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday.

“We have decided to introduce from midnight (0000 GMT Tuesday), for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home, except for essential purposes,” she told the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

“This is similar to the lockdown of March last year.”

Sturgeon, the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, said a new faster spreading variant of coronavirus, first identified in the UK in December had been a “massive blow” in the battle against the virus.

She said the evidence was “compelling” that “the new variant already accounts for almost half of all new cases in Scotland”.

“We are now seeing a steeply rising trend of infections and it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March,” she added.

The move by the devolved government will heap fresh pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow suit, given pressures on health services from the new variant.

The announcement came as Britain began rolling out a new Covid vaccine developed by the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Some 530,000 doses are to be administered at new vaccination sites across the country, adding to those already giving the Pfizer-BioNTech jab since early last month.

As he promised tens of millions would be vaccinated by March, Johnson told Sky News the infection rate would force further tightening of anti-virus restrictions in England.
 
“If you look at the numbers, there’s no question that we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing them in due course,” the prime minister said.

Sturgeon told Scottish MPs at Holyrood the new vaccine rollout was “hugely positive” and it was “essential to speed up vaccination as fast as possible”.

The spread of the virus had to be halted, which was why “even tougher restrictions are necessary”, she added.

(AFP)
01:34

Coronavirus: NIS issues tough travel protocol for China, US passengers, others


The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, has directed that all intending passengers to China are to obtain a COVID-19 negative test certificate before departing Nigeria for the Asian country.

With effect from September 1, 2020, they are required to take a nucleic acid test three days before departure.

According to a statement on Friday by the NIS spokesman, DCI Sunday James, Chinese citizens are to apply for ‘Green Health Codes’ with ‘HS’ mark, while other foreign nationals, including Nigerians, are to complete the health declaration forms.
The statement titled ‘Travel advisory for China, Europe and North America-bound passengers due to COVID-19’ said foreigners travelling to China and Chinese citizens must submit COVID-19 negative test certificates to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in Nigeria for issuance of required clearance for their journey to China.

It added, “Non-resident Nigerians in Europe and North America are to avoid transiting France pending the lifting of travel restrictions due to COVID-19. Transit passengers to Europe and North America transiting through Paris must endeavour to present a valid permanent resident permit for their final destination and COVID-19 negative test certificate to enable them to gain entry into France.”

The NIS further stated that from July 1, 2020, only French nationals and residents were allowed into France with respect to the note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveying the travel advice from the French Embassy in Nigeria.

The immigration service advised all China, Europe and North America-bound passengers to strongly abide by the rules to avoid denial of departure from Nigeria and repatriation from the countries concerned due to non-compliance. Punch

01:12

Coronavirus: WHO warns there may never be an immediate solution to the virus



The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that there might not be an immediate solution or cure to the COVID-19 pandemic despite the positive outcomes at the different levels of trials of vaccines for the virus.


The WHO said that despite strong hopes for a vaccine, there might never be a silver bullet for COVID-19, and the road to normality would be long.

According to the latest data, the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 18.1 million people with more than 690,000 fatalities globally since late January, when the virus was first reported. This is just as some countries that thought they worst was over for them started experiencing a second wave of outbreak.


The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Mike Ryan, WHO head of emergencies, urged governments and citizens to focus on known basic steps to contain the pandemic such as testing, contact tracing, maintaining physical distance and putting on a mask.

Tedros in a virtual news briefing in Geneva, said, ‘’The message to people and governments is clear, Do it all. He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity around the world. A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be.’’

Chinese Investigation


The WHO officials revealed that an advanced investigation team that was sent to China where the virus started, are not yet back. The UN health agency sent an epidemiologist and an animal health specialist to China on July 10 to lay the groundwork for a probe aimed at identifying how the virus entered the human species.

Tedros said WHO and Chinese experts had agreed on the terms of reference and a programme of work for a WHO-led international team of scientists and researchers from around the world. They are to study the origins of the virus in the city of Wuhan.

The WHO boss encouraged mothers to continue breastfeeding even if they had COVID-19, as the benefits outweigh the risks associated with infection.


Tedros also said the international hunt for a vaccine has been historic against the backdrop of the coronavirus disease being the biggest global health emergency since the early 20th century.

Tedros said, ‘’There are many vaccines under trial, a couple in the final stage of clinical trials – and there is hope. It does not mean that we will have the vaccine, but at least the speed with which we reached the level we reached now is unprecedented.”

“There are concerns that we may not have a vaccine that may work or its protection could be for just a few months, not more. But until we finish the clinical trials, we will not know.” Nairametrics
00:30

South Africa shuts schools as coronavirus cases exceed 400,000


South Africa has again announced the closure of Public schools from next week as confirmed cases of coronavirus hit 408,052 in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement during a nationwide address on Thursday, saying the decision was necessary in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“In a bid to limit the spread of deadly disease in the country, public schools will be shut down for a month.

“Cabinet has decided today that all public schools should take a break for the next four weeks,” he said.

He added that the academic year due to end in December would now be extended
“Public Schools will therefore be closed from 27 July and scheduled to reopen on August 24,” Ramaphosa announced.

So far, South Africa has recorded more than 6,000 COVID-19 related death cases since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The African country is now rated fifth with the highest case of the novel virus in the world. Dailypost
23:13

Coronavirus: Only residents of Saudi Arabia will perform Hajj 2020 – Official


Saudi Arabian authorities Monday said only residents of the country will be permitted to undertake the annual Hajj pilgrimage next month.

The country said the measure was necessary to combat the spread of coronavirus, which has already infected over nine million and killed over 405, 000 people worldwide.


“It has been decided that Hajj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia would be able to perform it,” Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a statement.

“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings.”

A few countries had earlier announced their withdrawal from the pilgrimage this year.


Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, withdrew from the pilgrimage this month after pressing Riyadh for clarity, with a minister calling it a “very bitter and difficult decision”.

Malaysia, Senegal and Singapore followed suit with similar announcements.

Many other countries with Muslim populations — from Egypt and Morocco to Turkey, Lebanon and Bulgaria — have said they are still awaiting Riyadh’s decision.

In countries like France, faith leaders have urged Muslims to “postpone” their pilgrimage plans until next year due to the prevailing risks.

The hajj, a must for able-bodied Muslims who can afford it at least once in their lifetime, represents a major potential source of contagion as it packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites. Theguardianng
22:56

Coronavirus: FCTA issues warning to nightclubs, bars, sex workers in Abuja



The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has warned operators of bars, nightclubs and gardens not to open for business until the COVID-19 restriction was lifted.


Chairman of the FCT Ministerial Enforcement Task Team on COVID-19 Restrictions, Mr Ikharo Attah, gave the warning on Sunday while monitoring compliance by operators in Kubwa, Gwarinpa and Wuse.


Attah said the team would be extending its checks on nightclubs in the suburbs as he appealed to FCT residents to stay at home during the curfew periods to avoid endangering their lives.

The Chairman also expressed concern over the high number of suspected commercial sex workers around buildings housing the nightclubs at Kubwa, NAN reports.

“We believe that if we relax too much, with the number of positive coronavirus cases on the rise, it wouldn’t be good for the city,” he said.



“The presence of the ladies of the night is a violation of the curfew because they are not on the exemption list of essential workers.

“Their presence made us carry out full checks on some nightclubs which are truly closed.

“At moments like this, we expect them to stop the unholy trade in their own interest because the men who may patronise them may be COVID-19 positive,” he said. NAN
23:17

Coronavirus: WHO makes u-turn on Chloroquine trial


The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a u-turn and is resuming hydrochloroquine trial for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Last week, WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, announced a “temporary pause” in the solidarity trial of the drug.


However, speaking during a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Tedros said the drug trial will now commence.

According to him, findings by the health agency’s data safety monitoring board, showed that there was no reason to discontinue the trial.

Tedros said the executive group endorsed the recommendation, adding that “all arms of the solidarity trial” will continue.


“The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed continuation of all arms of the solidarity trial, including hydroxychloroquine.

“The executive group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial.

“The data safety and monitoring committee will continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in the solidarity trial,” he added. Dailypost
04:30

Coronavirus: Buhari’s aide insists President did not ‘order’ Madagascar cure




One of President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aides, Tolu Ogunlesi, has insisted his principal did not “order” the reported COVID-19 cure from Madagascar.

Ogunlesi stated this in a tweet on Tuesday, explaining that Nigeria is simply picking up its allocation.



“Worth saying again: Nigeria did not “order” the alleged Covid-19 cure from Madagascar. We got an allocation. Many other African countries did.

“We are simply picking up our allocation. And it will be subjected to standard NAFDAC procedures. No validation no use. It’s that simple,” he tweeted.



DAILY POST reported that the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 yesterday confirmed that Buhari approved the collection of Madagascar’s reported cure.

Also, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire had disclosed that plants used in producing Madagascar’s COVID-19 cure can be found in Nigeria. Dailypost
04:28

Coronavirus: CBN to fund Nigerian researchers, institutions that develop vaccine


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop COVID-19 Vaccine.


The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at the unveiling of the THISDAY Dome Testing, Tracing and Treatment Centre, Abuja on Tuesday.

Emefiele said if Nigeria was to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, it would be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for the teeming population.

“The CBN today challenges Nigerian scientists at home and in the diaspora to go back to their laboratories and develop a Nigerian vaccine.


“Once validated by the Health Authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful for the sake of over 200 million Nigerians now confronted by COVID-19.

“Our inability to accurately predict the extent to which the coronavirus could spread, and how long it would last, requires that we build sufficient capacity within our health system in order to contain the spread of the virus, state by state, city by city and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.


“This requires that we all come together to support the work of the Presidential Task Force in its determination to save lives and stem the pandemic,” he said.

He, however, commended the Nigerian private sector, who had come together under the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID) to support the government, by raising funds to provide needed Isolation Centres, medical equipment among others.

He disclosed that so far, the CA-COVlD-19 had raised up to N27 Billion to fund these initiatives, adding that these donations were being used to build well equipped isolation centres across the 36 states of the federation.


According to him, the Testing, Tracing and Treatment Centre being inaugurated represents a part of the support being provided by the CA- COVID alliance.

He noted that these measures would result in the addition to over 4,000 hospital beds across the country and would also serve as a significant boost towards the efforts at containing the spread of COVlD-19.

Emefiele said CACOVID had so far equipped and handed over Isolation Centres in Rivers, Enugu, Kwara, Ondo, and Borno States.

He said it was expected that all other isolation centres would be handed over in other states of the country by May 23, 2020. NAN
20:07

16 doctors infected with Coronavirus – Lagos Medical Guild

   

   

The Medical Guild Lagos has raised the alarm that 16 of its members have contracted COVID-19 in the discharge of their duties.

The Chairman of the Guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, at a briefing on Monday said his members had been playing critical roles in the response to the pandemic by engaging in training, contact tracing and surveillance, as well as enlightening the public and providing clinical care at isolation centres and hospitals.    

   

He said, “There may be more doctors who are infected but from the information available to us, 16 of our members are infected with COVID-19. The current community transmission of COVID-19 has led to a situation where everyone can be designated as a COVID-19 suspect, especially as there are asymptomatic patients as well as those with atypical symptoms.”

Sodipo said the infected doctors were doing fine, adding that none of his members had died in the fight against the pandemic.

   


   
He urged the Lagos State Government to enforce physical distancing, hand washing and use of face masks with penalties for defaulters.

Speaking on the recent relaxation of the lockdown in the state, Sodipo called for prompt and widespread testing of suspected cases.

   


   
“This should be in place to reduce exposure of health care workers and the populace, with results released within a maximum of 48 hours.

“Modalities for enforcement of the proposed guidelines for the people of the state as announced by the state government must include the use of social distancing, use of face masks, having adequate hand sanitisers in place with appropriate measures to checkmate defaulters. We do not support the use of gloves, if they are not changed regularly and hand hygiene practised, as it could lead to increased spread,” Sodipo added. Punch
03:50

Coronavirus: Face masks use not freedom of movement, says Sanwo-olu’s aide


Gawat Jubril, Senior Special Assistant on New Media to Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says his principal’s directive compelling all residents of the state to wear face masks in public spaces is no license to defy the lockdown order currently in place.


Jubril made this known via Twitter on Sunday shortly after the governor kicked off the “Mask Up Lagos” campaign as part of efforts to curb the circle of transmission of the coronavirus disease in the state.

Sanwo-Olu said, “Dear Lagosians, even as we observe the lockdown, we are kicking off #MaskUpLagos; the COMPULSORY wearing of face masks in Lagos. Face masks help to protect us from droplets and secretions from coughing, sneezing, etc as not everyone that is infected will show symptoms.


“Face masks, combined with frequent hand washing, being conscious about NOT touching our face, as well as #SocialDistancing, are effective in slowing the spread.

“The state government is currently producing about 3 million facemasks for distribution to the vulnerable. N95 and surgical masks help our medical workers stay safe while cloth masks made to specifications that will be released by the Ministry of Health combined with other guidelines will help protect our residents from COVID-19.”


Subsequently, the governor’s aide tweeted, “Some people are automatically translating Mr Governor’s directives on compulsory face masks in public as “freedom of movement” ….. You are on your own ooo…”

The PUNCH reports that the state has been on Federal Government-ordered lockdown since 11pm March 30 as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the pandemic.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as of Sunday night, more than 50 percent of the over 1000 coronavirus cases in the country were reported in Lagos State. Punch
21:43

Britain injects 2 persons as COVID-19 vaccine trial begins


The first human trial in Europe of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in Oxford, Britain.

Two volunteers were injected, the first of more than 800 people recruited for the study.


Half will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and half a control vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus.


According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the design of the trial means volunteers will not know which vaccine they are getting, though doctors will.

Elisa Granato, one of the two who received the jab, told the BBC: “I’m a scientist, so I wanted to try to support the scientific process wherever I can.”


The vaccine was developed in under three months by a team at Oxford University. Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, led the pre-clinical research.

“Personally I have a high degree of confidence in this vaccine,” she said.

“Of course, we have to test it and get data from humans. We have to demonstrate it actually works and stops people getting infected with coronavirus before using the vaccine in the wider population.”


Professor Gilbert previously said she was “80 per cent confident” the vaccine would work, but now prefers not to put a figure on it, saying simply she is “very optimistic” about its chances.

The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees that has been modified so it cannot grow in humans.


The Oxford team has already developed a vaccine against Mers, another type of coronavirus, using the same approach and that had promising results in clinical trials.

Notably, the only way the team will know if the COVID-19 vaccine works is by comparing the number of people who get infected with coronavirus in the months ahead from the two arms of the trial.


Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who is leading the trial, said: “We’re chasing the end of this current epidemic wave. If we don’t catch that, we won’t be able to tell whether the vaccine works in the next few months. But we do expect that there will be more cases in the future because this virus hasn’t gone away.” Tribuneonlineng
21:42

Coronavirus: NABTEB postpones 2020 May/June certificate exams


The National Business and Technical Examinations Board has announced the indefinite postponement of the Board’s 2020 May/June Ordinary Level Certificate Examinations.


Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of NABTEB, Prof. Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Benin.

“The 2020 May/June series of the NABTEB Certificate Examinations, which are for in-school candidates, originally scheduled to begin on Monday, May 4 2020, have now been postponed on account of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the whole world.


“A new date will be announced in due course.

“Meanwhile, registration for the examinations continues.

“NABTEB enjoins candidates to continue to positively and productively engage in their studies through e-learning resources made available through radio, television and other safe means while they await further information from the Board,” she said.

(NAN)
20:09

Why some Nigerians are gloating about Coronavirus



In our series of letters from African writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani reflects on the different attitudes of the rich and poor towards coronavirus.



Many Nigerians gloat that Covid-19 is mainly targeting the country's elite, particularly politicians, despite warnings that the life-threatening respiratory illness could hit the poor as well.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has recorded more than 600 cases since the end of February - most of them people who had been abroad, and those they had interacted with after their return to Africa's most-populous state, which has a population of about 200 million.


So far, Nigeria's list of people who got or have died from Covid-19 includes President Muhammadu Buhari's chief of staff, politicians, heads of government agencies, former ambassadors and their aides or relatives.

These are the kind of people who normally jet off to the UK, Germany, or the US at the slightest headache because Nigeria's state hospitals are poorly funded, run-down, and lack adequate equipment.


The 2020 government budget allocates only about 4.5% of spending for health, less than the 15% target the African Union had set for governments in 2001.

Doctors frequently embark on strikes over salaries not paid for months.  BBC
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