Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said this in a statement posted on the agency’s website on Friday.
Ryan gave the figures while briefing newsmen on COVID-19 at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
“China reported 13,332 clinically confirmed cases in Hubei province.
“ We understand that most of these cases relate to a period going back over days and weeks and are retrospectively reported as cases, sometimes back to the beginning of the outbreak itself.
“So this increase that you have all seen in the last 24 hours is largely down to a change in how cases are being diagnosed and reported.
“So, in other words, in Hubei province only a trained medical professional can now classify a suspected case of COVID-19 as a clinically-confirmed case on the basis of chest imaging, rather than having to have a laboratory confirmation,” he said
According to him, this allows clinicians to move and report cases more quickly, not having to wait for lab confirmation, ensuring that people get to clinical care more quickly.
”You have noticed with suspect cases, there have been some backlogs in testing and this is also going to help ensure that people get adequate care and adequate public health measures can be taken.
“So we are not dealing, from what we understand, with a spike in cases of 14,000 on one day,” he said.
According to him, to an extent this is an artefact of the reporting and we are working with our colleagues in China, and our team there are working very hard.
“They are working hard to see exactly how many days and weeks and how those numbers are spread across those days and weeks.
“In the rest of China and the rest of the world, laboratory confirmation for reporting is still required,’’ he said.
According to him, WHO will continue to track both laboratory and clinically-confirmed cases in Hubei province.
“We have seen this spike in the number of cases reported in China, but this does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak.
“Outside China, there are 447 cases from 24 other countries, and now two deaths. In addition to the death in the Philippines, there is now one more death in Japan ,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Africa recorded its first case of COVID-19 on Friday as a foreigner who had been put in isolation at a hospital in Egypt tested positive for the disease.
In a statement, Egyptian Health Ministry said it had informed the WHO and had taken all necessary preventative measures.
It did not give the nationality of the affected person or any other details.
A total of 17 African countries, including Nigeria, have confirmed having facilities where the disease can be detected.
Other countries where cases of the disease have been reported are Thailand, Canada, Australia, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Cambodia, and the United States.
WHO said it could take 18 months for the first vaccine for coronavirus to be ready.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
95% of students in exit classes resume in FCT
Mrs Essien Enewan-Okon, Principal of Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3 in Abuja, said that 90 per cent of students in the school’s exit classes have resumed.
“They are all in their classrooms, very happy and we teachers are equally happy to resume; we thank God and the FCT Administration, who have made it possible for us to resume.
“As a government school, we are fully prepared for resumption because the FCT Secondary Education Board gave us all it takes to resume, starting from hands sanitizer, buckets for hand washing to face masks.
“The entire school premises was fumigated, we washed our classrooms and created the two meters distance required for desk spacing in all our 11 classrooms before resumption,” she said.
The principal also said that the school on resumption began by giving the students orientation on the new normal and how to go about their lives in school and at home.
“We even told them the type of food they should eat and pray to God that they should comply with the protocols,” she said.
A student in the school, Daniel Boluwatife said that she was excited to come back to school because the uncertainty of whether or not Nigerian students would be writing the 2020 WASSCE was very disappointing to her.
Also, Michael Oyegoke said, “I am excited to come back to school because there were a lot of distractions at home than in the school environment”.
On whether the teachers would be able to cover their syllabus within the two weeks preceding the WASSCE, both teachers and students were optimistic.
Mrs Felicial Ogbuegebe, head of sciences department in the school said that before they went on lockdown, there was only two weeks remaining before the WASSCE.
“We had covered our syllabus and we were doing revision before the lockdown came.
“All we need to do now is to revise with the students because staying at home for this long, they must have forgotten one or two things.
“Every safety measure has been put in place before the school resumed; so all the teaching staff are joining our hands together to teach the students, especially the sciences – Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
“All the teachers are now involved in preparing the exit class; this time it is not a time for a teacher to say that he teaches only SS 3 or SS 1 classes.
“Whatever class you teach, we are all involved with the SS 3 class now to make sure that they get whatever they need to get before their exams, ” she said.
An optimistic Nuralhuda Mohammed, a female student told the News Agency of Nigeria : “my expectation for WASSCE is that, it will not be hard for me because I have read over and over during the lockdown, so, I am good to go.
“Since my teachers have all covered all their schemes of work and I am not new to the school environment, I have nothing to worry about,” she said.
In another vein, Malam Tamim Yusuf, the chief administrative officer of the Muslim Community Centre, owners of Fau-ad Lababidi Islamic Academy and four other institutions in Abuja, said that, the school was in full compliance with the government directives for resumption.
“In compliance with the directives of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, it is only our SS 3 students that have resumed.
“We decontaminated the entire school premises and an inspection was carried out by the Department of Quality Assurance of the FCT Education Secretariat on arrangement of classrooms.
“They were satisfied with our compliance, so they issued us a certificate for having satisfied all the requirements.
“Today being the first day of resumption, we organized a general orientation both for students and teachers.
“The orientation is in two phases: a medical doctor came from the National Hospital Abuja to give a talk generally on the COVID-19 protocols and an Imam gave another talk on what the Qura’an says about the pandemic and human responsibility.
“Right from the gate, no one is given access to the school premises until they have washed their hands and had their temperature taken; our classes are compliant in terms of social distancing,” he said. .
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Manchester City sign Valencia winger on 5-year deal
Manchester City announced on Tuesday they have signed Spanish winger Ferran Torres from Valencia, with the 20-year-old putting pen to paper on a five-year deal.
Financial details were not disclosed by the English Premier League (EPL) clubside, but British media reported the transfer fee was 23 million euros (20.73 million pounds).
Torres scored six goals and had eight assists for Valencia in all competitions last season as they came ninth in the Spanish La Liga.
“I am so happy to be joining Manchester City. Every player wants to be involved in attacking teams and Manchester City are one of the most attacking in world football,” Torres told the club website.
“Pep (Guardiola) encourages a really open, aggressive style, which I love, and he is a manager with a proven track record of improving players. To have him overseeing my development is a dream.”
Torres joins Manchester City as a replacement for Germany winger Leroy Sane who moved to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich last month for 45 million euros plus add-ons.
“He’s young and still developing, but his technical qualities are exactly what we are looking for in a winger,” Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said of Torres.
“He’s quick, direct, can create space with one movement and is capable of producing match-winning moments.”
Manchester City have also been linked with a 41 million pounds (53.56 million dollars) move for Bournemouth central defender Nathan Ake.
This is noteworthy as Guardiola looks to close the gap on Premier League champions Liverpool next season.
Second-placed Manchester City finished 18 points adrift of the Anfield side but won the League Cup and are still in the UEFA Champions League.
They lead Real Madrid 2-1 ahead of their last 16 second leg home match on Friday.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Nadal to skip United States Open due to COVID-19 concerns, as organisers announce entries
World number two Rafa Nadal confirmed on Tuesday that he would not defend his United States Open crown this year at Flushing Meadows.
His announcement came as organisers released the singles entry list for the Grand Slam.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play (at) this year’s United States Open,” Nadal said on Twitter.
”The situation is very complicated worldwide, and the COVID-19 cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play.
”I understand and thank (everyone) for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”
The United States has the highest tally in the world with more than 4.7 million confirmed novel coronavirus cases and nearly 156,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
World number one Novak Djokovic, a three-times champion in New York, headlines the men’s list along with last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev.
There are other top 10 players, including Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
Swiss Roger Federer, a five-times United States Open champion, will also be absent after the 38-year-old was forced to undergo knee surgery in June which prematurely ended his 2020 season.
Nine of the top 10 women’s players, including 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and holder Bianca Andreescu, are on the entry list along with 2018 champion Naomi Osaka.
As many as 13 Grand Slam champions are in the women’s draw.
These include Romania’s Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion and 2018 French Open winner, and this year’s Australian Open champion American Sofia Kenin.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said eight additional wildcard entries would be selected in both the men’s and women’s fields.
Organisers said the seedings would be announced closer to the start of the tournament which is scheduled for Aug. 31.
A number of players are also set to take part in the Aug. 20 to Aug. 28 Western & Southern Open in New York, which serves as a warm-up event for the United States Open.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Food sufficiency: Osun commissioner inaugurates ‘Wave City’ project
Osun Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Adewole Adedayo, on Tuesday inaugurated an agricultural project, ‘Wave City,’ sited by FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Ltd at Wasimi to promote food sufficiency.
Speaking at the inauguration, Adedayo, who described the project as the first of its kind in the state and the South-West region, said it was aimed at promoting food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
According to him, every responsible government must create an enabling environment for farmers.
“Today, I believe FarmKonnect is now realising a dream that started in 2017. Today, having FarmKonnect in Osun State is another dream.
“Today, having these facilities on ground to develop agriculture in the south-west is a dream realised. So FarmKonnect has realised a dream.
“Like I keep saying, agriculture has the highest potentials to create jobs, both for skilled and unskilled labour. So, I will like to thank FarmKonnect for bringing this project to Osun State,” he said.
According to the commissioner, agriculture is top on the agenda of the state government.
The commissioner, who highlighted the various initiatives of the government to support agricultural development, pledged the administration’s readiness to welcome investors like FarmKonnect to the state.
“We are looking for investors like this, people who will empower our youths and also create jobs for farmers,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that FarmKonnect was founded by Lt.-Col. Oluwole Azeez who voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army to invest in agriculture real estate business.
Azeez said that his organisation’s mission was to take agriculture beyond just planting crops and making money to a business which promotes food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
“In FarmKonnect, we run a model we call agricultural real estate and we are the first to do that. This allows multiple people to own a portion of the farm and they don’t necessarily have to step on the farm.
“All they just need to do is engage their money and we take all the performances around. The greenhouses you are seeing here are specifically designed for the tropics.
“The vision is to build one million square metres of greenhouses, a controlled farming environment technology using greenhouses and net houses to produce fruits and leafy vegetables from tomatoes to pepper.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria. This is specifically designed for minimal electricity as well as to expand our yield,” he said.
Azeez said he was grateful to the Osun government for its tremendous support to the project and assured it of greater benefits in terms of food sufficiency and job creation.
Also speaking, Dr Bosade Ogunlana, the Founder of Entrepreneurship Initiative, commended FarmKonnect for the project, saying it would help in empowering the youths.
According to her, Africa has more youths to engage in land cultivation in order to boost food sufficiency and security.
“Africa is the biggest gun of the world because over 60 per cent of arable land in the entire world resides in Africa. I know with something like this happening here today, there is hope for Nigeria.
“It can help us to engage the youths. It can help us to ensure there is no scarcity of food,” she said.
Ogunlana thanked the Osun government for its support to FarmKonnect, urging it to ensure adequate security for the project.
The event was also attended by Mr Yemi Lawal, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Osun, as well as representatives of the various partners of FarmKonnect.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)