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COVID-19: Cases in Africa jumps one million

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Coronavirus has now infected more than a million people in Africa, but hopes that the pandemic may be peaking in some countries are also leavened by fear of a second wave.

Nations across the continent have recorded 1,000,054 infections and at least 21,724 deaths, accounting for around five percent of global cases, according to a tally as of Thursday.

Just five countries account for 75 percent of all cases in Africa, the continent’s health watchdog, the Africa Centres for Diseases Control, says.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday some countries have recently seen declines of around 20 percent in daily cases but it was too early to confirm this as a trend, while around 10 countries are still experiencing increases.

Countries with high infections relative to the size of their populations are South Africa, Djibouti, Gabon, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.

Here is an overview of key countries:

South Africa
The continent’s most industrialised economy has notched up more than 529,000 infections, 53 percent of the continental caseload, and the fifth-biggest in the world.

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The good news is that numbers of daily infections have slightly decreased in recent days to below 10,000 cases compared to an average 12,000 during much of July.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that cases in the epicentre, the commercial hub of Gauteng province, appeared to be plateauing.

But he warned the risk of a second wave remained: “we are not out of the woods yet”.

South Africa imposed one of the world’s toughest lockdowns in March, including a ban on sales of alcohol and cigarettes. The restrictions have been progressively eased since June.

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The country has some of the best healthcare facilities on the continent, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week deployed 43 experts to “strengthen” the nation’s response to the pandemic.

Among its problems: more than 24,000 health workers have been infected — a tally bigger than the national caseload of many other African countries.

Egypt
Egypt became the first African country to report a coronavirus case on February 14. So far, it has officially registered the continent’s second-highest number of cases, with 95,000, including 4,630 deaths.

Numbers of daily new infections have recently been falling steadily. From an average of 1,500 previously, new cases plunged below 200 this week.

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Jihane al-Assal, who heads the government’s anti-coronavirus scientific panel, told a TV talk show “Egypt has passed the peak of the pandemic”.

At the weekend she announced the gradual closure of isolation hospitals, while assuring that the government was “preparing” for a potential second wave of the pandemic.

However, the country’s health system has been severely strained and came close to “collapsing”, according to the doctors’ union, which recorded at least 134 deaths among its members due to COVID-19.

A curfew imposed in March was lifted at the end of June.

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Regular domestic and international air traffic resumed on July 1 and tourism, a key income generator for the country, is slowly picking up.

Nigeria
Around 45,000 cases have been recorded in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, and more than 900 deaths.

In June, the daily caseload rose by between 500 and 800 but latterly has dropped to between 300 and 400.

Authorities say they are also gearing for a likely second wave as restrictions are eased.

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“New rise in cases are to be expected,” said the chief of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.

Nigeria carries out only 3,000 tests per day, about a tenth of the number in South Africa, which has a much smaller population of 58 million.

The epicentre is the commercial hub of Lagos with a population of 20 million. The authorities are loosening lockdown restrictions, allowing churches and mosques to re-open.

Algeria
Algerians spent a bleak Eid el Adha festival under a strict lockdown that discouraged family visits and banned movement into or out of 29 of the country’s 48 wilayas (prefectures).

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The nation is the fifth worst-hit in Africa in terms of infections — a surge in the past few weeks has brought the total to over 33,000.

Algeria has the continent’s third highest number of fatalities at 1,273, after South Africa and Egypt.

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the country’s economy, which is also facing the collapse of fossil-fuel prices.

Ethiopia
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, has seen a sharp upward trend with infections doubling in less than three weeks in July.

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It has so far recorded more than 20,000 cases and over 365 deaths.

The figures are small relative to a population of 110 million, but the WHO frets unrest sparked by the killing of a pop star from the Oromo ethnic group could further accelerate transmission.

The upward spiral is coinciding with mounting signs of virus fatigue.

Once-ubiquitous hand-washing stations are becoming scarcer.

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Hitherto-empty restaurants are filling up, and even some health workers say they are struggling to maintain the same vigilance they had in March.

Around three-quarters of all COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia are in the capital Addis Ababa.

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is among the countries where daily infections are steadily rising: numbers of diagnosed cases doubled over 10 days last month and now stand at 4,200, including 81 fatalities.

The impoverished country is in a particularly precarious position.

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The health system is struggling with shortages of basic drugs and equipment, as well as an overburdened and underpaid staff.

Nurses countrywide have been on a go-slow for months demanding improved remuneration and coronavirus protective gear. They have since been joined by senior and junior doctors.

Burying a minister who died from COVID-19, President Emmerson Mnanagwa pleaded with health workers to act responsibly, promising their grievances will be addressed but not “at the expense of the loss of lives”.

“When the pandemic spreads and the death toll rises there are no winners, none at all. We all die,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Fresh deadly virus ‘SFTSV’ attacks China; kills 7 after COVID-19 rage

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China, where the coronavirus was detected last December, is now facing a new health threat from another virus, that is tick-borne. The virus causes a disease called “Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS).

According to reports, it has already killed seven people and infected at least 60, setting off alarm bells among health officials in the country.

Many of the cases reported were concentrated in East China’s Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, local media reported.

While more than 37 people were diagnosed with SFTS in Jiangsu in the early months of 2020, 23 were later found to be infected in Anhui.

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While the disease is transferred to humans through tick bites, Chinese virologists have warned that human-to-human transmission of the virus cannot be ruled out.

Unlike SARS-CoV-2 however, this is not the first time the SFTS virus has infected people.

The recent spate of cases merely marks a re-emergence of the disease, IndianExpresss.com reports.

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) belongs to the Bunyavirus family and is transmitted to humans through tick bites. The virus was first identified by a team of researchers in China over a decade ago. The first few cases were reported in rural areas of Hubei and Henan provinces in 2009.

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The team of researchers identified the virus by examining blood samples obtained from a cluster of people exhibiting similar symptoms. According to a report by Nature, the virus killed at least 30 per cent of those infected.

The current case fatality rate rests between approximately 16 and 30 per cent, according to the China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention.

Due to the rate at which it spreads and its high fatality rate, SFTS has been listed among the top 10 priority diseases blue print by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Virologists believe an Asian tick called Haemaphysalis longicornis is the primary vector, or carrier, of the virus. The disease is known to spread between March and November.

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Researchers have found that the total number of infections generally peaks between April and July.

Farmers, hunters and pet owners are particularly vulnerable to the disease as they regularly come in contact with animals that may carry the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick.

Scientists have found that the virus is often transmitted to humans from animals like goats, cattle, deer and sheep.

Despite being infected by the virus, animals generally do not show any symptoms associated with SFTSV.

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What are the symptoms of the SFTFS virus?
According to a study conducted by a team of Chinese researchers in 2011, the incubation period is anywhere between seven and 13 days after the onset of the illness.

Patients suffering from the disease usually experience a whole range of symptoms, including, fever, fatigue, chill, headache, lymphadenopathy, anorexia, nausea, myalgia, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gingival hemorrhage, conjunctival congestion, and so on.

Some of the early warning signs of the disease include severe fever, thrombocytopenia or low platelet count and leukocytopenia, which is low white blood cell count.

The risk factors observed in more serious cases include multi-organ failure, hemorrhagic manifestation and the appearance of central nervous system (CNS) symptoms.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Cases globally tops 19 million

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The number of coronavirus cases recorded worldwide has passed 19 million, according to a Media tally (known to Noble Reporters Media) from official sources at 2300 GMT Thursday.

At least 19,000,553 cases and 712,315 deaths have now been registered.

Forty percent of cases were in the United States and Brazil, the two worst-affected countries with 4,870,367 cases (159,864 deaths) and 2,912,212 infections (98,493 deaths) respectively.

…more to come


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Cases in India hits 2.03 million

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India has now recorded 2.03 million infections and 41,585 deaths, according to the ministry’s website.

Many experts doubt the official figures, however, and say the true numbers may be much higher.

…more to come


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Nigeria records 354 fresh cases as total infections crosses 45,200.

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Nigeria records 354 fresh COVID-19 Cases as total infections hit 45,244.

Stands•

354 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

FCT-78
Lagos-76
Kaduna-23
Ebonyi-19
Oyo-18
Nasarawa-17
Rivers-17
Delta-16
Kwara-15
Akwa Ibom-13
Edo-12
Ogun-12
Plateau-11
Kano-9
Bauchi-6
Borno-6
Ekiti-6

45,244 confirmed
32,430 discharged
930 deaths


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Vaccine cannot beat pandemic – WHO

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The World Health Organization on Thursday warned against “vaccine nationalism,” saying vaccine-hogging richer countries would not be safe coronavirus havens if poor nations remained exposed.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would be in wealthier nations’ interests to ensure that any vaccines eventually produced to protect against the new coronavirus were shared globally.

“Vaccine nationalism is not good, it will not help us,” Tedros told the Aspen Security Forum in the United States, via video-link from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.

“For the world to recover faster, it has to recover together, because it’s a globalised world: the economies are intertwined. Part of the world or a few countries cannot be a safe haven and recover.

“The damage from COVID-19 could be less when those countries who… have the funding commit to this.”

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He said the existence of the deadly respiratory disease anywhere put lives and livelihoods at risk everywhere.

“They are not giving charity to others: they are doing it for themselves, because when the rest of the world recovers and opens up, they also benefit.”

– Race for the vaccine –

The United Nations health agency also said that multiple different types of vaccines would likely be needed to combat COVID-19.

Twenty-six candidate vaccines are in various stages of being tested on humans, with six having reached Phase 3 wider levels of clinical trials.

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“Phase 3 doesn’t mean nearly there,” explained the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan.

“Phase 3 means this is the first time this vaccine has been put into the general population, into otherwise healthy individuals, to see if the vaccine will protect them against natural infection.

“We’ve got a good range of products across a number of different platforms, across a number of different countries,” he said of the leading candidate vaccines, which use different methods to provide immunity.

However, “there’s no guarantee that any of these six will give us the answer — and we probably will need more than one vaccine to do this job.

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– ‘Americas remain epicentre’ –

The novel coronavirus has killed over 708,000 people and infected more than 18.8 million since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

“The Americas remain the current epicentre of the virus and have been particularly hit hard,” said Tedros, with the United States, Brazil and Mexico suffering the most deaths.

Asked about the virus raging in the Americas, Ryan said no country had always found all the right answers, and a vast expansion of the public health workforce was required.

“We need to take a step back, we need to look at the problem again and we need to go at the problem again,” he said.

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“That requires strong, sustained and trusted leadership.”

US President Donald Trump has accused the WHO of being a “puppet” of China and mismanaging its handling of the global pandemic.

Washington last month handed in its 12-month notice to leave the WHO, depriving the UN organisation of its biggest donor.

Tedros said the biggest “problem” with the US departure was “not about the money” but the fracture in international solidarity in fighting the virus.

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“We hope the US will reconsider its position,” he said.

The Ethiopian former health minister claimed any problems Washington had with the WHO could be resolved without the US leaving.

“I hope the relationship will return to normal and be a stronger relationship than ever before,” he said.

“I urge all leaders to choose the path of cooperation… it’s the only choice we have.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: United States cancels foreign travels; takes another plan

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The United States on Thursday lifted a warning to its citizens to avoid all foreign travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, pointing to improvements.

The State Department said it would instead resume considering each country on a case-by-case basis.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: US records 1,262 single day deaths

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The United States added 1,262 more deaths to its COVID-19 toll in the 24 hours ending at 8:30 pm Wednesday (0030 GMT), according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The world’s largest economy also added 53,158 new cases of the virus, the Baltimore-based institution’s tracker showed.

The US has now recorded 4,818,328 cases in total, which have resulted in 157,930 deaths, making it by far the worst-hit country in the world.

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President Donald Trump nonetheless remained optimistic Wednesday, saying: “This thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away and my view is that schools should be open.”

The pandemic has seen a resurgence since June in many states, particularly in the south and west.

One of them, Florida, on Wednesday surpassed half a million cases since the start of the crisis.

In Arizona, another badly-hit state, more than 500 inmates in a Tucson jail — more than half the facility’s population — tested positive for coronavirus, local prison officials said.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Nigerian govt begins plan to resume int’l flights

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The Federal Government has begun the process of restarting international flights.

In a briefing on Thursday by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said approvals have been given for aviation authorities to commence the process for the resumption of international flights.

Mr. Aliyu said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other aviation agencies, as well as airlines, are to come up with a safe process through which international airlines can commence operations.

The PTF Coordinator said when international flight operations resume, passengers would arrive three hours before flights, to ensure that there is no crowding of the airports.

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“For international travel, we have made recommendations to the aviation industry to commence the process for reopening international airports provided all existing international and local COVID-19 protocols are in place.

“We have modified the protocol for passenger arrivals at the airports. Domestic passengers arriving at the airports are advised to arrive one hour before their flights and three hours before international flights when this restarts,” Mr Aliyu stated.

Mr Aliyu’s statement comes shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

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The PTF had met with the president on Wednesday and briefed him on the progress made so far in containing the spread of COVID-19, as well as making recommendations on how to retain the current phase of the response, with minor changes to address economic, socio-political, and health concerns.

The major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters. re-opening of rail transportation within established parameters, and the granting of permissions to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations.

Under the revised guidelines of the eased lockdown which will be maintained in the next four weeks, the current nationwide curfew from 10pm- 6am still stands.

Also, meetings for government officials and parastatals will continue to hold virtually.

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While the ban on entertainment centers will be maintained, restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities.

Passengers arriving for domestic flights can now arrive at least an hour and a half before flight, and three hours before the flight for international travelers.

Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha on Thursday reemphasized that there is a need for everyone to take responsibility while the nation goes into this extended phase of eased lockdown.

He also urged Nigerians to stop the stigmatization of persons who have contracted, been treated, and have been certified negative for COVID-19.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Naira Marley pleads guilty to violating lockdown order

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Pop-star Azeez Fashola, more known as Naira Marley, and his manager, Seyi Awouga, have pleaded guilty to violating a COVID-19 lockdown order in Lagos.

According to a police statement on Thursday, the duo was “awarded a fine of one hundred thousand naira each by the presiding Magistrate.”

Noble Reporters Media learnt how Naira Marley had embarked on a non-essential trip from Lagos to Abuja in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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He travelled from “Lagos to Abuja and back to Lagos the same date, through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja for a musical concert in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” the police statement, signed by spokesman Bala Elkana, said.

The police said Naira Marley was charged to the Lagos State Special Offences (Mobile) Court, Oshodi under “the order made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Regulation 4(i) of the Lagos State Infectious Disease Emergency Prevention) Regulation No 2 of 2020 and committed an offence punishable under Section 58 Public Health Law, Ch. P16, Laws of Lagos State 2015.”

The federal government had suspended the airline, Executive Jet Services, which flew the artist, although the ban has now been lifted.

On April 9, Naira Marley signed an undertaking to join the Lagos state government’s campaign against the spread of COVID-19 after he was charged for breaching the state’s social distancing directive.


#Newsworthy..

COVID-19: Buhari ‘yes’ extension of eased lockdown by four weeks

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

This extension is the third for the second phase of lockdown currently observed across the country.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 disclosed this during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The task force had met with President Buhari on Wednesday and briefed him on the progress made so far in containing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping citizens safe from contracting the virus.

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Boss Mustapha while addressing newsmen today noted that the PTF made some recommendations to the president and the extension of the current ease of lockdown was one of the inferences approved.

The PTF chairman further disclosed that to sustain gains already made in the last few weeks, the task force recommended to President Buhari to retain the current phase of the response, with minor changes to address economic, socio-political, and health concerns.

According to him, the major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters. re-opening of rail transportation within established parameters, and the granting of permissions to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations.

Under the revised guidelines of the eased lockdown which will be maintained in the next four weeks, the current nationwide curfew from 10pm- 6am still stands.

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Also, meetings for government officials and parastatals will continue to hold virtually.

While the ban on entertainment centers will be maintained, restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities.

Passengers arriving for domestic flights can now arrive at least an hour and a half before flight, and three hours before the flight for international travelers.

The SGF however, reemphasized the need for everyone to take responsibility, and stop the stigmatization of persons who have contracted, been treated, and have been certified negative for COVID-19.


#Newsworthy..

COVID-19: Pastor ‘locked up’ in Myanmar for defying lockdown ban

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A Canadian preacher who claimed Christians were safe from coronavirus was on Thursday jailed for three months in Myanmar after he and dozens of his followers became infected when he held a banned service.

The Southeast Asian nation has so far weathered the pandemic well with just 357 confirmed cases and six deaths, although the low numbers tested make many fear the true figures are far higher.

Toronto-based David Lah, 43, was born in Myanmar and often returns to his motherland to preach.

The country imposed a ban on gatherings in mid-March, but footage emerged in early April of Lah holding a service in Yangon.

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“If people hold the Bible and Jesus in their hearts, the disease will not come in,” he proclaimed in one video to a roomful of faithful.

“The only person who can cure and give peace in this pandemic is Jesus.”

Lah tested positive for coronavirus shortly afterwards, and dozens of confirmed cases were traced back to his followers.

Canadian pastor David Lah, speaks to the media outside a township court in Yangon on August 6, 2020, accused of holding a church service amid restrictions in place to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. – A Canadian preacher who claimed Christians were safe from coronavirus was on August 6 jailed for three months in Myanmar after he and dozens of his followers became infected when he held a banned service. (Photo by Sai Aung Main / AFP)

The preacher was arrested after recovering from the illness in May and faced up to three years in jail for violating the Natural Disaster and Management Law.

On Thursday, however, a Yangon court chose to be lenient.

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Lah and his colleague Wai Tun had been sentenced to three months imprisonment, Lah’s lawyer Aung Kyi Win told reporters outside the court, adding that time already served would be deducted.

A waiting crowd of the preacher’s followers erupted into cheers and celebrations at the news.

A police vehicle carrying Canadian pastor David Lah arrives at a township court for a hearing in Yangon on August 6, 2020, accused of holding a church service amid restrictions in place to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.(Photo by Sai Aung Main / AFP)

The scandal even touched Myanmar’s Christian vice-president Henry Van Thio and his family, who had attended an earlier service with Lah in February, although they later tested negative.

About six percent of Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s population identifies as one of the various Christian denominations in the country.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Mexican orphans feeds by ‘miracle’

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At an orphanage in pandemic-stricken Mexico, the nuns water down milk and eke out food for the children — victims of violence, poverty, and now the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Even before donations began drying up because of the disease, it was a struggle for Mother Ines de Maria Piedras and her sisters to keep the shelter located in Texcoco, in central Mexico, running.

Now the Casa Hogar San Martin De Porres y Juan XXIII is facing a critical situation.

Largely dependent on state resources that were already insufficient before the virus struck, the orphanage has lost several benefactors due to the pandemic.

“Many of them were left without work, so they stopped their donations until further notice,” Mother Ines told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

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Since 1965 the shelter has welcomed children who have suffered from mistreatment, sexual abuse or the sudden disappearance of their parents.

Currently 65 children and teenagers live there.

Due to sanitary measures prompted by the virus, the nuns cannot take in more children, or receive visitors from companies or groups that used to bring donations each Saturday.

A sign at the door says clothes and toys are no longer accepted, although some benefactors continue to leave what food they can spare.

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“The situation worries us a lot because we have no economic security,” said Mother Ines, 52, standing in a small room full of toys.

– Scars of violence –
Most of the children at the orphanage are girls.

Some of those who have been there long enough to see their emotional wounds start to heal flash smiles, while nervous newer arrivals keep their heads down.

Many have been through traumatic times.

One girl’s father murdered her mother and buried her in the yard.

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Two young twins were brought to the shelter after their mother simply disappeared.

Texcoco, where the shelter is located, is 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Ecatepec, considered the most dangerous town in the country for women.

So far this year, the authorities have recorded 473 suspected femicides across Mexico.

The State of Mexico, home to Texcoco, leads the way with 63 cases.

The children are referred to the orphanage by the authorities.

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But the $1,500 a month they give the nuns to care for them all is barely a quarter of what is needed, said Mother Ines, wiping away her tears with her habit during a tour of the kitchen.

A 10-year-old boy works placing crosses at the San Miguel Xico cementery on August 5, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP)

– ‘We perform miracles’ –
The situation has forced the nuns to take drastic measures, such as diluting the milk with one quarter water, said Barbara de la Rosa, the 37-year-old cook.

“We perform miracles!” she said.

The nuns draw drinking water from their homes because the well they rely on is drying up..

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In the shelves for fruit and vegetables there are only a few kilos of potatoes, chayotes — a type of squash — and prickly pears, and some sausages in the refrigerator.

Outside, the twins play on the grass.

Here they learned to walk and uttered their first words, but they face an uncertain future.

With nearly 50,000 officially registered coronavirus deaths and around 450,000 cases, the country of 128.8 million has the world’s third-highest fatality toll from the pandemic.

The economy has buckled with an unprecedented plunge of more than 17 percent in gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of the year.

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More than 12 million jobs have been lost, particularly in the informal economy.

The nuns have launched an appeal for help and a campaign to raise funds was organized on social media.

But so far the response has been modest.

“It’s worrying,” said the cook.

Unless the situation improves, “it’s uncertain where the little ones will end up.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Lagos leads as Nigeria records 457 fresh cases

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Nigeria records 457 fresh COVID-19 cases as total deaths toll hits 927 and total infections nears 45,000.

Stands•

457 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

Lagos-137
FCT-76
Plateau-40
Rivers-35
Enugu-34
Oyo-25
Abia-23
Delta-12
Edo-11
Ebonyi-11
Cross River-10
Kwara-10
Kaduna-9
Anambra-7
Ogun-5
Imo-3
Bauchi-3
Osun-2
Nasarawa-2
Kano-1
Ekiti-1

44,890 confirmed
32,165 discharged
927 deaths


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Sports crowds should be minimal this year – WHO

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The World Health Organization said Wednesday it was “unrealistic” to expect large crowds at sports events this year in countries suffering from community-level transmission of the new coronavirus.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said it could be “disastrous” in such circumstances to allow the return of sports matches with tens of thousands of people attending.

Asked in a live WHO social media chat when major sports events could come back, Ryan said it was impossible to predict.

“We don’t know,” the Irish epidemiologist said.

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“Large crowds of 40, 50, 60,000 people — it’s not just the risk of being in the stadium, it’s the risk of going to the stadium, the public transport, the bars and the clubs,” he explained.

File photo: The empty stadium is pictured ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

“Imagine all the problems we have now with nightclubs and bars, and you squeeze all of that together into a four- or five-hour experience, where thousands of people go on the same public transport to a venue, get involved in the social aspects before a game, be involved in the game and then all of the social aspects after.

“In the context of community transmission, that could be disastrous.”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2020 European football championships have been postponed until next year, while major football tournaments like Europe’s Champions League and the English Premier League have been forced behind closed doors.

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“We may have to expect that as things open up, we go from having no-one at the games to maybe 1,000 and 2,000,” said Ryan.

“We all want our sport back. We’re just going to have to be careful for a good bit longer.

“It’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to be seeing large gatherings like that this year.

“Right now, it’s hard to see those fully re-opened venues.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Iran records 2,751 highest single day cases since June 5.

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Iran confirmed Tuesday over 2,700 new COVID-19 infections, its highest single-day count in more than a month, as the health ministry called for those without masks to be fined.

Deaths and infections from the novel coronavirus have been on a rising trajectory in the Islamic republic since hitting a months-long low in May.

This has prompted Iran to make wearing masks mandatory in enclosed spaces and reimpose restrictions lifted gradually since April to reopen the economy.

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Despite the rule, people without masks can still be seen inside the capitals’ shops and banks, and state television often criticises them for doing so.

“In the past 24 hours, new confirmed cases were reported to be 2,751,” health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said in televised remarks.

The number is the highest since June 5, when the ministry reported 2,886 infections in one day.

The latest count takes the total cases identified in Iran since late February to 314,786, Lari added.

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Another 212 people died from the virus during the past 24 hours, bringing the overall toll to 17,617.

File photo: A man, wearing a protective mask and gloves, checks currency exchange rates in the Iranian capital Tehran amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on June 22, 2020. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iran’s deputy health minister called for those who fail to obey the mask rules to be fined, as the only penalty currently in place is the refusal of service in public places.

“Deterrent methods must naturally be used, one of which is fining those not wearing masks,” Noble Reporters Media quoted Iraj Harirchi as saying.

But those “financially unable to buy masks must be exempted,” he added, without elaborating how that could be determined.

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Iran has suffered a sharp economic downturn since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

It has seen a drop in non-oil exports compounded by a tumbling currency and runaway inflation, piling new pressure on those already dependent on government cash handouts.

Masks in Iran cost from about 15 US cents for simple surgical ones to 68 cents for multilayered ones with respirators, while the minimum wage is currently $2.60 per day.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: 306 Nigerians in UAE arrives Abuja – NIDCOM

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Three hundred and six Nigerians have arrived the country from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said the returnees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 8:00am.

“Some Evacuees will disembark in Abuja while others will proceed to MM Int’l Airport, Lagos,” NIDCOM tweeted on its handle.

According to the agency, although the evacuees have tested negative to COVID-19, they will be undergoing mandatory self-isolation in line with guidelines from the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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On July 30th, about 102 stranded Nigerians arrived in Abuja from Morocco.

The evacuees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport with Air Morocco from Casablanca.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travels across the world, thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home.

In early June, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians returning from overseas.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Nigeria records 304 new cases; total infections hit 44,433.

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Nigeria records 304 fresh single day COVID-19 Cases as total infections hit 44,433.

Stands•

304 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

FCT-90
Lagos-59
Ondo-39
Taraba-18
Rivers-17
Borno-15
Adamawa-12
Oyo-11
Delta-9
Edo-6
Bauchi-4
Kwara-4
Ogun-4
Osun-4
Bayelsa-3
Plateau-3
Niger-3
Nasarawa-2
Kano-1

44,433 confirmed
31,851 discharged
910 deaths


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Palliative funds, misappropriated – NDDC insider

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A petition has been addressed to the Senate alleging that the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission mismanaged N6.25bn set aside for COVID-19 palliatives.

In a letter dated August 3, 2020, Chairman of the NDDC COVID-19 Palliatives Committee, Sobamabo Jackrich, described the management of the funds as “a show of shame and a scam.”

Jackrich said the money was “misappropriated and embezzled by the IMC of the NDDC and their Co-conspirators.”

“My findings is not only that the money cannot be accounted for,” he added, “but there is nothing on ground to show that the 6.2 billion naira of our hard-earned taxpayers money was invested for its original purpose which the President approved.”

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Jackrich asked the National Assembly to probe and investigate the IMC, which is led by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei.

“The IMC should be made to explain the hijack of the Palliatives Distribution process and the sidelining of the inaugurated Palliatives Distribution Committee which was saddled with the task of Distribution of the palliatives in the nine Niger Delta states as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari,” Jackrich said.

READ FULL VERSION OF JACKRICH’S PETITON

The NDDC is currently under scrutiny for alleged financial misappropriation.

Prof. Pondei, who was appointed by President Buhari in February 2020, has publicly appeared before a House of Representatives investigative committee on NCDC along with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Nigerian Chief Judge test Negative

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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho, and members of his immediate family have tested negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This was confirmed in a statement issued on Tuesday by the court’s acting Information Officer, Catherine Nwandu.

According to the Nwandu, the results of the two COVID-19 tests carried out on the judge and members of his family came out negative.

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The statement adds that the two tests were conducted by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja.

Nwandu explained that Justice Tsoho’s decision to go on self-isolation was preventive rather than curative because a close aide in his office tested positive to COVID- 19, hence the precautionary measures that followed.

A file photo of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho. (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

“The Federal High Court of Nigeria is pleased to announce that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, the Hon. Justice John T. Tsoho, with members of his immediate family, has undergone two COVID -19 tests that have both turned out negative for all of them.

“The first test was done at the beginning of the 14-day self-isolation, while the confirmatory test came thereafter. Both tests were conducted by the NCDC,” the statement partly read.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Kwara deputy gov, wife test positive

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The Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Kwara State Technical Committee, Kayode Alabi and wife, Abieyuwa Alabi have tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

The couple took the COVID-19 test after showing slight symptoms of the virus.

In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor and Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19, Rafiu Ajakaye, confirmed that their test results came out positive.

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He noted that they are now undergoing standard management protocols supervised by the government’s medical team.

According to Mr. Ajakaye, immediate contact tracing and tests, among other safety protocols, are being done for persons who have met with the couple in the past few days.

He said, “The government wishes the second couple and all others a quick recovery”.


#Newsworthy…