Tag Archives: pandemic

COVID-19: ‘No Jeopardy’ – WHO warns as pandemic see resurgence

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The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that too many countries were bungling their response to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning there could be no return to normality any time soon.

After a daily record of 230,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday, the UN health agency said the pandemic was only going to get worse unless people stuck to the basics of physical distancing, handwashing, wearing masks and staying home if sick.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that some countries easing their way out of lockdowns were now witnessing a resurgence of the virus because they were not following proven methods to reduce risks.

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“I want to be straight with you: There will be no return to the ‘old normal’ for the foreseeable future,” Tedros told a virtual news briefing.

“Let me be blunt: Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.”

“The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.”

He said mixed messages from leaders were undermining trust.

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If governments do not roll out a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission of the virus, and if the public do not follow the basics, “there is only one way this pandemic is going to go,” Tedros said.

“It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”

The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 570,000 people and infected more than 12.9 million so far, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Tedros said four scenarios were now playing out around the world.

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They were: countries that were alert and avoided large outbreaks; those that got a major outbreak under control; those that eased restrictions but are now backsliding; those in an intense transmission phase.

Tedros said the heart of the crisis remains in the Americas – accounting for more than half of infections – but stressed it was never too late to bring “explosive transmission” under control.

Colombian soldiers patrol the streets after a strict quarantine was declared to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Bogota, Colombia on Monday. Photo: AFP

In a study released on Monday – the first of its kind – a team led by researchers from King’s College London said patients who recover from coronavirus infections might lose immunity to reinfection within months.

WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said that it was not yet known whether recovered COVID-19 patients could be infected again, but “with other coronaviruses, that is the case.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: 463 fresh cases hit Nigeria as total infections pass 33,500

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Cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria surges as it amounts to 33,616 with 463 fresh infections in a report from NCDC.

Stands•

463 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

Lagos-128
Kwara-92
Enugu-39
Delta-33
Edo-29
Plateau-28
Kaduna-23
Oyo-15
Ogun-14
Osun-14
FCT-12
Ondo-9
Rivers-9
Abia-8
Bayelsa-5
Ekiti-3
Borno-2

33,616 confirmed
13,792 discharged
754 deaths


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: WHO cancels Hydroxychloroquine trial

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For the second time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has discontinued Hydroxychloroquine clinical trial for the treatment of COVID-19, saying it has no positive effect on patient recovery.

Announcing this Saturday, the UN body said the decision to discontinue the research was due to recommendation from its International Steering Committee on Solidarity Trial, adding that it has also discontinued trial for lopinavir and ritonavir.

It said: “The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the July 1 and 2 WHO Summit on COVID-19 Research and Innovation.

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“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.”

It said for each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality, adding that there were however some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on discovery trial, a participant in the solidarity trial. These, it said will also be reported in the peer-reviewed publication.

Hydroxychloroquine

”This decision applies only to the conduct of the solidarity trial in hospitalised patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalised patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19. The interim solidarity results are now being readied for peer-reviewed publication,” it said.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Osun govt arrest ‘Face Mask’ violators.

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The Osun State Government on Tuesday went a step further in its attempts at enforcing the use of face mask by residents, when scores of violators were arrested in Osogbo and shown videos of isolation centres.

The arrests were made by the COVID-19 Joint Task Force on the order of the state government.

The JTF men, which was led by the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Security, Abiodun Ige, arrested many residents, especially those in public vehicles and motorcycles.

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Those arrested were taken to Salvation Army Middle School, Alekuwodo, where they were shown videos of COVID-19 patients that were being treated in isolation centres.

Expectedly, many residents who had left home without face mask rushed to buy from the roadsides to avoid being arrested.

Ige, who spoke on the rationale behind the state government’s action, said the exercise was meant to enforce compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.


#Newsworthy…

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We found 6 herbal products in fight against COVID-19 – Anambra claims

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The Anambra State government claimed it had identified six herbal products for the management of the deadly COVID-19 disease.

This was revealed on Tuesday by Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, the Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra on Indigenous Medicine and Herbal Practice.

Ibezim who gave the information during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka, said that the agency had forwarded the products to the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

According to him, the process of producing the six herbal products which are in capsule, powder and liquid forms were reviewed by a team of medical experts before they decided to take the products to NAFDAC for its final confirmation and approval for public consumption.

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He said; “We have a team of medical experts in all areas of medicines who are saddled with the responsibility of reviewing herbal products in the state before they would be made public for use.

“We will give approval if the products fit our standard. We do not discriminate, the government has provided a friendly environment for business to thrive for all genuine herbal practitioners despite their states of origin.

“Anambra Traditional Medicine Board has been assigned the responsibility of properly analysing herbal products in the state and declare them fit for use by the public or otherwise before they are pushed out; all practitioners are advised to comply,” Ibezim concluded.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: WHO reveal amount needed to develop vaccines, others

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The World Health Organization said Friday that a global initiative to speed up the development and production of COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments will require more than $30 billion over the next year.

Providing details of the so-called ACT accelerator, launched in April and aimed at pooling international resources to combat the pandemic, WHO said “the costed plans presented today call for $31.3 billion in funding”.

So far, $3.4 billion of that had been pledged, the UN health agency said, pointing out that an additional $27.9 billion was needed over the next 12 months, including nearly $14 billion to cover immediate needs.

The announcement came ahead of a major pledging event in Brussels in support of the ACT accelerator, set to take place on Saturday.

“This is an investment worth making,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a special envoy for the ACT accelerator, told a virtual briefing.

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“If we don’t rally now, the human costs and the economic pain will deepen,” she said.

“Though these numbers sound big, they are not when we think of the alternative. If we spend billions now, we will be able to avoid spending trillions later.

“The time to act is now, and the way to act is together,” the former Nigerian finance minister said, stressing the need for equal access for all to any safe and effective vaccines and treatments developed.

– ‘Unprecedented speed’ –

Her comments came as the world counts nearly 490,000 deaths from COVID-19 and over 9.6 million cases since the new coronavirus emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

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“It’s clear that to bring COVID-19 under control, and to save lives, we need effective vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, in unprecedented quantities and at unprecedented speed,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the briefing.

He stressed though that a core principle of the initiative is to ensure equal access for all.

“Vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are vital tools,” he said.

“But to be truly effective they must be administered with another essential ingredient, which is solidarity.”

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The funds requested should make it possible to deliver 500 million tests and 245 million courses of treatment to low and middle-income countries by mid-2021.

They also aim to deliver two billion vaccine doses by the end of next year.

Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, pointed out during a separate briefing on the vaccine pillar of the project, known as COVAX, that antibody studies indicate that “a large, large proportion of the world’s population, 90 percent, continues to be susceptible.”

“The best bet we have really if we are going to end it… is to have a vaccine as soon as possible.”

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– Vaccinate the most vulnerable –
There are currently around 220 vaccine candidates, with 15 in clinical trials, and experts are hoping a handful of them will prove successful.

The problem is that investing in vaccine development can be risky, since 80 percent of vaccines in early stage development fail before reaching clinical trials.

And since there will be a need to produce billions of doses quickly, manufacturing capabilities need to be scaled up before it is even clear whether a candidate will be successful.

To address this obstacle, COVAX is aimed at pooling financial and scientific resources, making it possible to hedge the risk of backing an unsuccessful candidate, and ensuring that lower-income countries receive equal access to successful vaccines.

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“The critical issue (is) speed. If we lose a month now, that could mean 200 million fewer doses in 2021,” Seth Berkley, head of the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, told reporters.

Even producing two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 will be far from enough to vaccinate everyone.

Experts therefore insist on the need to guarantee that vulnerable groups and health workers worldwide receive the first jabs.

“Having a subset of populations of high risk vaccinated around the world is the best way to control the pandemic,” Berkley said.


#Newsworthy…

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Globe in fresh phase of deadly ‘Pandemic’ – WHO

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The new coronavirus pandemic is now in a “new and dangerous phase”, the World Health Organization said Friday, with the disease accelerating at the same time as people tire of lockdowns.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged nations and citizens to remain extremely vigilant, as the number of cases reported to the UN health agency hit a new peak.

“The pandemic is accelerating. More than 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO yesterday — the most in a single day so far,” Tedros told a virtual press conference.

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He said almost half of those cases were reported from the Americas, with large numbers also being reported from South Asia and the Middle East.

“The world is in a new and dangerous phase. Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies,” he said.

“But the virus is still spreading fast, it’s still deadly and most people are still susceptible.”

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 454,000 people and infected more than 8.5 million since the outbreak began in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.


#Newsworthy…

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Top Story: COVID-19 not done with U.S

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It’s been months now since U.S. President Donald Trump predicted his miracle. That was back in February, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the president announced that come April, when the weather got warmer, the coronavirus would “miraculously [go] away.”

It didn’t. And nor has it been reduced to “ashes,” as Trump claimed on June 5 when, arguing for a rapid reopening of the economy, he said, “We want the continued blanket lockdown to end for the states. We may have some embers or some ashes, or we may have some flames coming, but we’ll put them out. We’ll stomp them out.”

Instead, the U.S. is very much on fire, well into a second phase of the crisis, with the COVID-19 caseload steadily rising to more than 2 million confirmed cases and more than 113,00 deaths.

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According to a NRM analysis, 25 states are continuing to see case counts grow day by day. Four of those states—Arizona, California, Mississippi and North Carolina—have yet to decline for any extended window even temporarily; the rest appear to have initially bent the curve downward and are now experiencing a second wave of infections.

And in many of those cases, the second phase is worse than the first, or on track to erase any encouraging declines in the past month. In Oregon, for example, the state appeared to flatten the curve very early, peaking at 1.76 cases per 100,000 people on April 2 and declining to 0.8 by May 24. In the intervening two weeks, a resurgent wave has pushed that figure past its previous peak to 2.3 as of June 8—and still likely to grow.

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These disparate trends are invisible on a national level. Improvements in some areas—New York, New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast—have been offset by worsening conditions elsewhere, leaving the U.S. as a whole stubbornly plateaued at about 6 cases per 100,000 people.

In Texas, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases per day has been over 1,000 since May 25. This development led Governor Greg Abbott to concede on a local news broadcast, “I am concerned, but not yet alarmed.” He should be, though. On May 14, the state’s seven-day average crested at 1,305 cases per day and then started to fall. But in recent weeks, it’s climbed back up, and is now at 1,703.

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These alarming spikes are apparent even when a state never enjoyed a temporary lull. Arizona, which has yet to appear to peak even momentarily, has seen 7,700 new cases in the first week of June, with patient load tripling in the past three weeks in hospitals owned by Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital provider.

Yet the pandemic, if not remotely yesterday’s news, has begun to fade as a front-of-mind issue, pushed out both by the recent demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism, triggered by the May 25 murder of George Floyd, and perhaps a sort of cultural numbing to all things COVID. The White House Coronavirus Task Force, whose press conferences were daily fixtures in the early months of the crisis, now convenes three times a week instead of daily—with Vice President Mike Pence, the group’s chair, attending only one of those three regular sessions—and there has not been a press conference in the last month. On June 12, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had its first media telebriefing since March 9; previously these were held at least weekly.

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“I’m worried that people have kind of accepted where we are as a new normal, and it is not normal,” says Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of John Hopkins’ Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School. “Some states have hundreds or even thousands of new COVID cases every day, and we can do better than this. Some countries have driven their [daily] cases down to zero.”

The U.S. most certainly hasn’t, but the pain is not spread evenly across the map. New infections are falling precipitously in some states, including New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Kansas, while resuming a rise after initially plateauing or falling elsewhere, including in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Michigan.

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If there is concern among residents and leaders of affected states, it’s hard to spot. In Florida, most beaches are open, as are the Universal Orlando theme park and all five SeaWorld Parks. Disney World plans a phased reopening beginning July 11. Like Abbott in Texas, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis does not seem especially alarmed at the rise in cases in his state.

“As you’re testing you’re going to find more cases,” he said at a June 11 press conference. “Most of the cases are sub-clinical cases, and we expected that from the beginning.”

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Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona has been similarly sanguine—if more defensive—claiming that reports of dwindling hospital-bed capacity are exaggerated. “The information that was out there nationally was inaccurate,” he said at a Thursday briefing, according to the news site Arizona Central. “I’m listening to the experts inside Arizona that serve the people of Arizona.”

But at least some of those people do not share Ducey’s confidence. “I agree with him that we have hospital capacity today and probably we will next Friday,” Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, told the Central. “If we don’t change course and put in some simple interventions now, it might not be that way on July 4.”

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In South Carolina, most beaches and retail businesses remain open, even as the state recorded its highest one-day total of 687 new cases on June 10. Thirteen people died of the disease in that 24-hour period. Governor Henry McMaster extended South Carolina’s state of emergency—originally imposed in April and set to expire on June 11. The state of emergency authorized school and business closures, activation of the National Guard, postponement of elections and more. Still, McMaster made it clear that the extension would not require businesses that have reopened to close again, nor would he mandate mask use. “It is a matter of personal responsibility,” he said at a press conference. The farthest McMaster said he would go is to encourage people to wear masks and practice social distancing.

If the governors of the stricken states aren’t feeling skittish yet, the markets are. On June 11, the Dow Jones Industrial average shed 1,900 points, a 6.9% plunge, and the S&P 500 lost 5.9%, as reports of the second wave of infections made it clear that the overall economy would not be bouncing back to its pre-viral vigor any time soon. “This is the biggest economic shock in living memory,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a June 10 news conference. “The extent of the downturn remains extraordinarily uncertain.”

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The health of the nation, three months into the COVID crisis, does too.

Trump was not alone in optimistically predicting that a combination of warm weather and a period of sheltering in place would be sufficient to snuff the COVID-19 wildfire by summer. Every state in the country, plus Washington D.C., imposed some kind of quarantine rules, the earliest going into effect in mid-March—and, since the middle of springtime, all of them have slowly been reopening, pressed by a combination anxiety over the economy, a restive population, and no small amount of epidemiological hope. That hope has not always been fulfilled.

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South Carolina was the first state to begin lifting restrictions, on April 20. Others went much later, especially New York, which remains the epicenter of the crisis, and did not begin opening back up in some regions of the state until May 15—pointedly excluding hard-hit New York City. Only on June 8 was the city permitted to resume non-essential construction and manufacturing and reopen non-essential stores. Museums, theaters, restaurants, bars and other high-traffic venues remain shuttered.

The apparent result of this disparate approach: South Carolina is back in crisis mode, while New York is seeing its lowest infection levels since March 1.

But that recovery is fragile.

“You can make a mistake today that wipes out everything we’ve done so far, so we have to stay smart,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, at a June 11 briefing.

The biggest of those mistakes may involve timing. Overall, as NRM analysis of state-by-state data found, the date that states closed and reopened had at least some effect on how severe their second wave has been—or whether they have had one at all.

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From closing schools to mandatory stay-at-home orders, the Northeast was both the earliest region in the country to institute interventions, and the most hesitant to roll them back. On average, Northeast states put restrictions into place on March 25, followed by the West on March 27, the South on March 29 and the Midwest on March 31, according data collected by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

More telling is how many of these intervention measures remain in place as states cautiously crack open once-shuttered doors. In the Northeast, only 30% of restrictions had been lifted on May 21 on average, when one totals all unique measures, counting each state several times. The other three regions have lifted around 40% by the same metric. The West was the first to do so, on May 17 on average, followed by the South on May 20 and the Midwest on May 23. (These dates do not account for programs that have yet to conclude.)

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The result of those policies seems clear: The Northeast, which was far and away the hardest-hit part of the country, has now seen the greatest improvement and seems to be on the best trajectory—driven mostly by New York’s and New Jersey’s aggressive policies. The region’s rates of new daily infections per capita peaked on April 6 at 31.5 new cases per 100,000 residents. The Midwest, a distant second, peaked at 10.3 on May 4, while the South and West have remained relatively static at about 5.

As of June 10, that sequence has reversed. The Northeast is now the region with the lowest daily case rate, at 3.7. The Midwest, at 4.4., isn’t too far behind. Both have flattened the curve significantly in the last month or so. Meanwhile, daily case rates in the West and South have been on the rise, and are both now at about 6.5 per 100,000 residents.

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But while the timing of a state’s closing and reopenings certainly play a role in its current disease arc, there are other state-by-state considerations that make things more complicated. That might be best exemplified by California, with its massive 39.5 million-person population, huge geographic range and aggressive approach to testing. The state closed its doors on March 19 and did not begin to reopen them until May 8, yet case counts are rising.

“We have seen cases increase in some areas, which is expected as testing capacity increases and people leave home more,” says Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, “but we are prepared for that.”

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Johns Hopkins’ Inglesby backs California’s position that at least some of its rising caseload may simply be an artifact of better screening. “Even though the number of daily cases is higher on a day-to-day basis than it was weeks ago, the overall hospitalization rate on their dashboard is stable,” he says. “So that would suggest perhaps there’s more testing going on in California and maybe they’re finding more mild and moderate cases.”

Other states get no such pass from Inglesby. “In Texas, you can see that the hospitalization rate is going up,” he says. “Similarly in Arizona, ICU beds [and] hospitalization rates for COVID patients are going up. So those are real changes. There are more sick people than there were a month ago. Substantially more.”

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And nationwide, they’re coming substantially faster too. It took more than three months for the U.S. to record its millionth case of COVID-19. The jump to two million took just 44 days, and the numbers continue to rise. The U.S. is a loud, sprawling, brawling nation, and it’s no surprise that, as with so much else, regional differences are determining how we meet the current crisis. At the CDC’s June 12 media briefing, the agency’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Dr. Jay Butler, noted that “If cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more extensive mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again. The decision really needs to be made locally based on what is happening within the community regarding disease transmission.”

But with lives on the line we need to do better—to address the problem with a discipline and uniformity we have yet to show.

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“Are we resigned to losing a thousand Americans a day until we have a vaccine?” Inglesby asks. “I hope we aren’t.”

On that score, at least, he could likely claim a national consensus.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Over 11,000 total cases in Nigeria.


On the 3rd of June 2020, 348 new confirmed cases and 1 death were recorded in Nigeria
No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

Till date, 11166 cases have been confirmed, 3329 cases have been discharged and 315 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory

The 348 new cases are reported from 19 states- Lagos (163), FCT (76), Ebonyi (23), Rivers (21), Delta (8), Nasarawa (8), Niger (8), Enugu(6), Bauchi (5), Edo(5), Ekiti (5), Ondo (5), Gombe (5), Benue(4), Ogun (2), Osun (1), Plateau (1), Kogi (1), Anambra (1)

Lagos-163
FCT-76
Ebonyi-23
Rivers-21
Delta-8
Nasarawa-8
Niger-8
Enugu-6
Bauchi-5
Edo-5
Ekiti-5
Ondo-5
Gombe-5
Benue-4
Ogun-2
Osun-1
Plateau-1
Kogi-1
Anambra-1


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: 389 new infections – Nigeria records 8,733 total Cases.


COVID-19 cases in Nigeria increased further on Wednesday with 389 cases reported by the country, despite efforts by authorities to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

The new cases were confirmed by the specialist agency, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Twitter.

This takes the country’s total infections to 8,733 out of which 2,501 have been discharged with 254 losing their lives.

Data from the NCDC showed that the cases were spread across 22 states and with Lagos accounting for the highest number of infections for the day with 256 cases.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: Spain city begin 10-day crying for COVID-19 victims.

Flags across nation to be lowered to half-mast until June 5 to honour more than 27,000 lives lost so far to COVID-19.


Spain has begun an official 10-day mourning period for the tens of thousands of victims of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Starting from Wednesday, all flags on public buildings across the nation and on Spanish naval vessels will be lowered to half-mast until June 5 to pay tribute to the more than 27,000 people that have so far lost their lives.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter this would last for “10 days, the longest period of mourning in our democracy, in which we will all express our sorrow and pay homage to those who have died”.

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The mourning period, which was approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, would also include a solemn memorial ceremony presided over by Spain’s head of state, King Felipe VI, according to government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero.

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Spain suffers more than 19,000 cases with 551 new COVID-19 infections.

The dead are “men and women whose lives have been suddenly cut short, leaving friends and family in great pain, both from the sudden loss and from the difficult circumstances in which it has occurred,” she said following the cabinet meeting.

“Eight out of 10 victims were older than 70, they were those who helped build the country that we know today.”

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Spain, where a nationwide lockdown was first imposed on March 14, is one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, registering the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases and deaths.

As of Wednesday, at least 27,111 people had died of COVID-19, the highly contagious disease caused by the new coronavirus. The overall number of known infections stands at more than 236,000, with some 150,000 recoveries.

Spain’s healthcare workers have been severely affected by the virus, with up to 20 percent infected out of the total confirmed case, Al Jazeera’s Marta Herrero reported.

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“In the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, the Spanish government decided to consider work accident for all the people that have died and been infected by COVID-19 in the healthcare sector,” she said from the capital, Madrid.

Easing of restrictions
The government has so far renewed a state of emergency four times, which has allowed it to impose some of the world’s tightest restrictions on the country’s nearly 47 million people.

But in recent weeks, strict home-confinement orders and bans on public activity have been gradually relaxed.

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Since May 11, half of Spain’s population has experienced an easing of the restrictions, with cafe terraces reopening and people allowed to meet in groups of up to 10 people – although these measures have not yet been rolled out in the worst-hit areas such as the Madrid region and Barcelona.

Check:

COVID-19: Cases in Spain reach 172,541 with 18,056 death.

COVID-19: Spain surpass China, death toll more than 4,000.

Spain record 100 deaths in 24 hours – Other countries tighten their bosom.

On Saturday, far-right protests erupted in Madrid as thousands of people, many honking car horns, rallied against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and the lockdown measures

No other country has so far announced an observance on the scale of Spain’s 10-day mourning period, an event unprecedented since the country reinstated democratic rule in 1978.

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Opposition parties had criticised Sanchez’s left-wing coalition government for not paying tribute to the victims of the pandemic as Spain’s high death toll became a point of political debate.

“They should have declared the mourning days ago,” Madrid resident Conchita Hernandez, 77, told The Associated Press news agency. Her husband, Agustin Alvarez, 77, compared the nearly 9,000 virus-related deaths in Madrid to the casualties during times of war.

“The mourning would have made more sense when we were all homebound, but I still think it makes a lot of sense,” Alvarez said.

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China, where the virus emerged in late 2019 and has now officially killed 4,638 people, held a national day of mourning on April 4, while Italy, which has so far counted almost 32,900 deaths, mourned its victims on March 31.

And this week, the United States lowered its flags to half-mast for three days to remember its dead, who now number more than 98,900, the heaviest toll in the world.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: With 276 fresh cases – Nigeria in Doom


There seems to be no respite for Nigeria as it continues to record high Coronavirus cases, ramping up 276 new cases on Tuesday to take its overall tally to 8,344.

In the new figures released by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Lagos took the lead as usual, with 161 cases, followed by Rivers which recorded 36 new cases and Edo, 27 cases.

While Kaduna and Nasarawa recorded 19 and 10 cases respectively, Oyo and Kano raked in six and four cases respectively while Delta and Ebonyi hit three cases each.

Others are: Gombe, two cases, just as Ogun, Ondo, Abia and Bauchi recorded one case each.

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Nigeria recorded 16 new deaths on Tuesday alone to take its total deaths to 249.

Also, 2,385 patients who survived the pandemic have been discharged.


#Newsworthy…

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WHO sends warning on COVID-19 2nd peak.

Warning comes as Europe and United States ease lockdowns and people flock to crowded beaches at start of summer season.


  • The WHO has warned of the risks of an “immediate second peak” as countries ease up on lockdowns, urging governments in Europe and the US to step up surveillance, testing and tracking measures.  
  • Spain has revised its death toll downwards by nearly 2,000 people after checking regional data and discovering some deaths had been recorded twice while others had not been coronavirus-related. 
  • Public anger continues to simmer in the UK over Dominic Cummings, PM Boris Johnson’s chief political adviser, who apparently flouted lockdown to drive from his London home to his parents’ house in the north when he suspected he had coronavirus.  
  • More than 5.5 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 346,000 people have died, while more than 2.2 million have recovered.

#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Over 8000 cases in Nigeria as infections surge by 229 in single day


Nigeria’s Coronavirus cases have surpassed 8,000 mark after the nation recorded 229 fresh cases of the virus on Monday.

According to figures released by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Nigeria now has 8,068 confirmed cases.

In today’s figures released by the NCDC, Lagos top with 90 new infections, with Katsina ramping up 29 new cases and Imo, 26 fresh infections.

Kano recorded 23 new cases; FCT, 14 cases; Plateau, 12 cases, Ogun, nine cases; Delta, seven cases, while Borno and Rivers recorded five cases each.

Others are: Oyo, four cases; Gombe, three cases; Osun, two cases, Anambra, one case; Bayelsa, one case.

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Nigeria makes record of seven new Coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 233 deaths.

Also, 2,311 Coronavirus patients who survived the virus have been discharged.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: 313 fresh infections as total cases near 8,000


Nigeria has recorded a daily rise in Coronavirus infections, ramping up 313 new cases on Sunday.

This took the nation’s total coronavirus caseload to 7,839.

In the figures released by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Lagos recorded 148 new infections, while FCT recorded 36 new cases and Rivers 27.

Edo registered 19 new cases, Kano 13, Ogun 12 and Ebonyi 11 cases.

Nasarawa and Delta got eight cases each, Oyo seven cases, Plateau six cases; Kaduna five cases.

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Kwara recorded four cases, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa, three cases each; Niger two cases and Anambra one case.

Five new deaths were recorded on Sunday in Nigeria, while the nation has been able to discharge 2,263 survivors of the virus.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: China set to find pandemic source as they are ‘Open’ to international effort


China is “open” to international cooperation to identify the source of the novel coronavirus but any investigation must be “free of political interference”, China’s foreign minister said Sunday.

Wang Yi blasted what he called efforts by US politicians to “fabricate rumours” about the pathogen’s origins and “stigmatise China”.

The United States and Australia have called in recent weeks for an investigation into the origins of the pandemic.

Both US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused China of a lack of transparency over the issue, and repeatedly pushed the theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese maximum-security laboratory.

Most scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, possibly from a market selling exotic animals for meat in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

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“China is open to working with the international scientific community to look into the source of the virus,” Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament session.

“At the same time, we believe that this should be professional, fair, and constructive,” he added.

“Fairness means the process be free of political interference, respect the sovereignty of all countries, and oppose any presumption of guilt.”

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The World Health Organization has also called on Beijing to invite them in to investigate the source, with China proposing that the “global response” to COVID-19 should only be assessed when the pandemic is over.

WHO members on Tuesday adopted a resolution at the UN body’s first virtual assembly to review international handling of the pandemic.


#Newsworthy..

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WHO vows to intensify COVID-19 fight amid Trump’s threat.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has vowed to use every tool at its disposal to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, its Director General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, has said.

Ghebreyesus spoke at the closing of two-day virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva.

In his speech posted on WHO website, Ghebreyesus said some of the recommendations from the assembly would be shared and be implemented.

“WHO’s focus now is fighting the pandemic with every tool at its disposal.

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“Our focus is on saving lives. At the end of the day, what matters is life. That should be at the centre of everything we do and everything we say.

“I’ve been heartened by the way countries have shared experiences, best practices through our regular Member State briefings and at this Assembly,’’ he said.

The director general said the agency would continue to provide strategic leadership to coordinate the global response and support efforts by countries.

“We will continue providing the world with epidemiological information and analysis.

“We will continue to keep the world informed and give people and communities the information they need to keep themselves and each other safe.

“We will continue shipping diagnostics, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies all over the world.

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“We will continue bringing together leading experts from around the world to develop technical advice, based on the best science.

“We will continue driving research and development to develop evidence about vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics,’’ he said.

Ghebreyesus, also said the agency would continue to work with countries and all relevant partners to ensure equitable access to the tools to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.

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“We will continue supporting countries to prepare and respond. We will continue working with countries to sustain essential health services.

“We will continue to work day and night to support the most vulnerable countries and populations.”


#Newsworthy…

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Bots to start treating COVID-19 patients in Rwanda.


Rwanda is set to fight COVID-19 with humanoid robots that will help minimise risks of infections among health care workers, authorities.

Five anti-epidemic robots – named Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri – will be mainly used to administer temperature checks, monitor patient status, and keep medical records of COVID-19 patients, the Health Ministry announced in a series of tweets..

“These high-tech robots have the capacity to screen 50 to 150 people per minute, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, capture data and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities,” the ministry disclosed.

Health Minister Ngamije Daniel said the robots will fasten service delivery and help protect the lives of valuable health workers.

“Medics and other frontline workers visit patients’ room many times to deliver medication, meals, carry out tests, among other things – and this may increase their risk of contracting the virus,” he said.

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The robots are the result of joint efforts by the Rwandan Ministry of Information, Communications, Technology and Innovation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“The infectious nature of COVID-19 calls for technological innovations to tackle the pandemic. This is why Rwanda has introduced robots and drones among other high-tech initiatives to enhance efficiency in the fight,” ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire said.

UNDP representative Stephen Rodriques said the project marks the “beginning of a great collaboration and it’s part of a broader partnership” with the East African country.

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Rwanda, a major innovation and technology hub in Africa, has recorded 308 coronavirus cases so far, with zero deaths and 209 recoveries, according to official figures.

To date, more than 52,300 tests have been carried out in the country of over 12 million.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: 200 total deaths as Nigeria report 284 new cases


Coronavirus cases in Nigeria increased further on Wednesday with 284 cases reported by the country, despite efforts by authorities to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

The new cases, confirmed by specialist agency the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Twitter took the country’s total infections to 6,677 out of which 1,840 have been discharged with 200 losing their lives.

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Data from the NCDC showed that the cases were spread across 12 states and the FCT with Lagos accounting for the highest number of infections for the day with 199 cases.

A further breakdown of the figures showed that Rivers had 26 new cases, Oyo 19 cases, the FCT and Borno eight each, Plateau seven, Jigawa six, Kano, five, Abia two, and the quartet of Ekiti, Delta, Kwara, and Taraba each recorded one case.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigeria Medical Association in Zamfara state confirmed that eight of its members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Bauchi State Government announced the lifting of the ban on religious activities in the state, suggesting that parts of the country are now choosing to resume normal activities.

More than 325,000 people worldwide have now died from the novel coronavirus, three-quarters of them in Europe and the United States, since it broke out in China in December, according to an AFP tally.

The virus has killed 325,232 people in 196 countries and infected 4,943,050, according to the tally based on official sources at 1900 GMT Wednesday.

Of those infected, at least 1,827,200 are now considered recovered.

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The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.

In the United States, 92,583 people have died, the highest figure for fatalities. The country has registered 1,539,633 cases and 289,392 people cured.

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The United Kingdom has the second-worst death toll at an official 35,704 for 248,293 cases, ahead of Italy (32,330 deaths and 227,364 cases), France (28,132 deaths and 181,575 cases) and Spain (27,888 deaths and 232,555).

France revised down its death toll on Tuesday after changing the way it recorded nursing-home fatalities

Since 1900 GMT Tuesday there have been 4,951 more deaths and 94,820 new cases registered worldwide.

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The United States registered the highest 24-hour death toll of 1,404 ahead of 1,179 for Brazil and 363 for the United Kingdom.

Belgium has the highest death toll relative to population with 79 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, ahead of Spain (60), Italy and the United Kingdom (both 53), and France (43).

China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — has to date declared 4,634 deaths and 82,965 cases. It has 78,244 recovered cases.

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Europe has a total of 169,674 deaths from 1,944,258 cases, the United States and Canada have 98,674 deaths and 1,619,714 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean have 32,422 deaths and 583,045 cases, Asia has 12,941 deaths and 387,127 cases, the Middle East has 8,420 deaths and 306,715 cases, Africa has 2,973 deaths from 93,772 cases, and Oceania 128 deaths from 8,426 cases.

Corrections by national authorities or late publication of data mean the figures updated over the past 24 hours may not correspond exactly to the previous day’s tallies.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: 226 fresh cases hit Nigeria as Lagos bags 131.


Nigeria has recorded 226 new cases of the COVID-19, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 6,401.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this late on Tuesday.

According to the agency, of the 226 new cases, 131 are in Lagos, 25 are in Ogun, while 15 are in Plateau state.

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Other states that have recorded new cases include Edo with 11 cases, Kaduna with seven, Oyo with six, the FCT and Adamawa with five each, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Borno with four each, Nasarawa with three cases, Bauchi and Gombe with two each and one each in Enugu and Bayelsa states.

A total of 1,734 persons have, however, recovered from the virus while the death toll now stands at 192.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in – Lagos Govt considers reopening full Economy, place of worships. [Nigeria]


One week after the partial easing of the lockdown on the state, Lagos state government is considering reopening the state to full business activities.

The state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Sunday said that the government was considering full re-opening of the critical sectors of its economy, even though the move will not be pushed in a hurry.

According to him, in the coming days, the government would be rolling out Register-to-Open initiative as part of the plans that would enable it assess the level of readiness of the players in the identified sectors for supervised operations.

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The governor spoke at a briefing after the State’s Security Council meeting held at the State House in Marina.

Sanwo-Olu said officials from the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) will be visiting restaurants, companies, religious houses to assess their level of readiness.

With the size of the State’s economy and numbers of businesses that operate in its domain, the governor said government could not afford to keep people and businesses on lockdown permanently.

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He said: “We are at a level where we are reviewing the other arms of the economy. In the coming days, we will be starting what we call Register-to-Open, which means all players in the restaurant business, event centres, entertaiment, malls and cinemas will go through a form of re-registration and space management.

“There is a regulation that will be introduced to supervise this move. We will be coming to their facilities to assess their level of readiness for a future opening. I don’t know when that opening will happen in the weeks ahead, but we want these businesses to begin to tune themselves to the reality of COVID-19 with respect to how their work spaces need to look like.

“For us, it is not to say they should re-open fully tomorrow or any time; there has been a process guiding the re-opening. We will be mandating LASEPA and Safety Commission to begin the enumeration process and the agencies will be communicating with all relevant businesses and houses in the days ahead. I must, however, caution that this should not be misinterpreted as a licence for full opening; it is certainly not. The State’s economy is not ready for that now.”

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Sanwo-Olu said the Government agencies also would be visiting places of worship to evaluate their level of preparedness ahead of full reopening. He stressed that social distancing and hygiene would be fully considered in determining whether mosques and churches can re-open in the future.

“We are reviewing and considering how the phased unlocking will happen. If we see huge level of compliance, then it can happen in the next two to three weeks. If not, it could take a month or two months. It is until we are sure all of these players are ready to conform to our guidelines,” the governor asserted.

Sanwo-Olu urged businesses, religious houses and residents to maintain the status quo while the state works out modalities for full re-opening.

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The governor disclosed that all the 10 staff of the Government House who tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) had fully recovered and returned to their beats. He said the disclosure was necessary to further promote transparency in the reporting and management of coronavirus cases by the State Government.

Sanwo-Olu enjoined banks and markets to strictly enforce orderliness in their premises. He directed that elderly people must be given the priority to transact their businesses in bank and markets between 9am and 10:30am, after which other younger customers should be allowed to transact.

Lagos residents, the governor charged, must not take the easing of lockdown for granted, saying everyone residing in the State must collectively take responsibility for public health safety.

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He reiterated that the use of face mask in public places was compulsory, while disclosing that the State had distributed a million free face mask to residents in the last two weeks. Thousands more will be distributed in the course of the week, the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu said those walking in public places without face mask were risking their lives, urging residents to fully comply with public health guidelines.

The governor, however, frowned at laxity observed in the enforcement of ban on inter-state movements. He also said commercial buses still lag in complying with spacing of passengers and 60 per cent load capacity.

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Sanwo-Olu said: “We are not happy with the level of compliance by yellow buses despite assurance from their union. We do not want to use force to drive compliance; we want it to be self-compliant. We have also not seen the level of compliance we wanted for inter-state travels. We are seeking collaboration with Ogun State government and the police to ensure obedience to the directive on this.”

The governor said the State’s whistleblowing policy had yielded encouraging feedbacks, adding that incidents reported by whistleblowers had helped the government to further drive compliance in business places.


#Newsworthy…

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