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COVID-19: Celebrate Eid-El Fitri with caution, MMPN urges Muslims



The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Oyo State chapter, has urged Muslim faithful to celebrate this year’s Eid-El Fitri with caution due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was contained in a statement issued by the state MMPN Chairman, Alhaji Ridwan Fasasi and made available to newsmen on Saturday in Ibadan.
Fasasi advised Muslim faithful to be vigilant, celebrate the end of Ramadan fasting with moderation, observe Eid-El Fitri prayers at home and obey other precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19.
He also called on them to intensify supplications during the prayers to bring an end to the pandemic, which had affected open worship and also brought untold hardship to people worldwide.
Fasasi implored Muslims to sustain the virtues, such as love, good character, sacrifice and charity, exhibited during Ramadan, now that the holy month was over.
He also stressed the need to continue to imbibe the culture of peaceful coexistence, saying that this was a particular duty which Muslims owed others, irrespective of their religious affiliations.
According to him, one of the conditions for a true Muslim is to wish his/her neighbours what he/she wishes himself.
The MMPN chairman urged Muslim philanthropists to continue to sponsor Islamic programmes, even after Ramadan, so as to impact positively on the faithful.

Edited By: Angela Okisor and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq


COVID-19: Oyo activates 3 community testing sites



The Oyo State Task Force  on COVID-19 on Wednesday activated three sites for COVID-19 samples collection in different communities in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigera reports that the community testing initiative was intended to accommodate  about 10,000 samples.

The community testing drive which was supervised by Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, began at the Alegongo Primary School, Lagelu West Local Council Development Area, Ibadan.

Olatubosun said that the community testing was free, and encouraged Oyo people to get tested when the team would reach their communities.

Gov. Seyi Makinde’s administration believes that the health of the citizenry is paramount and that government would pursue with vigour, its commitment to the sound health of the citizenry.

“We are treating this as an emergency; no amount spent by government on this is a waste.

”We believe the citizenry will contribute meaningfully to the productivity  of the state and, invariably, increase the gross domestic product of the state when they are healthy; by so doing, it will improve the economy of the state further.

“That is the reason we are doing everything possible to make sure that the people have access to medical care, most especially against anything that has to do with COVID-19,” he said.

He said that the task force started with selective testing and later engaged in Drive-Through/Walk-Through Testing at Adamasingba, where it advised the  people to drive in and  get tested.

“But we are reaching a stage where we have to go to the community, and that is why we are decentralising testing, which we call community testing.

“We are now moving to communities, local government areas. where we have encouraged people from all the communities to come out and get  tested.

“The essence of this is that we cannot sit down somewhere and be assessing people.

In figures, Oyo State is rated fourth  or fifth but we have tested far more than many states.

“We are doing this to have adequate and exact data to work with and arrest the spread of the virus from the community level,” the commissioner said.

The Incident Manager of the state’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Dr Taiwo Ladipo, said that the community testing drive was the response of the State COVID-19 Task Force to the rising number of cases in the state.

We have 10 facilities across 10 local government areas and are targeting 10,000 people, but we are starting with three LGAs today.

These  are Ibadan South East, Ibadan Oluyole and Lagelu,” Ladipo said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni (NAN)Ijeoma Popoola

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Rivers may demolish markets for flouting COVID-19 directives, says Commissioner



The Rivers Government warned on Wednesday that some markets in the state might be demolished for flouting the order of the government that trading should stop at the markets because of COVID-19.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, gave the warning in a statement issued in Port Harcourt.

He lamented that traders had continued to flout government’s directives that markets should be shut, due to rising cases of the coronavirus in the state.

Nsirim said that five markets in the state might be shut down permanently for flouting the directives. He did not elaborate.

The Rivers Government wishes to draw the attention of the general public that Mbiama Market has been closed down.

“Any attempt to continue trading activities at Mbiama Market will lead to complete demolition of the market.

The commissioner named Oginigba Market and two others as markets notorious for disobeying Gov. Nyesom Wike that the markets should be closed.

“The government warns that anybody who goes to Oginigba Market for any form of business will face the full wrath of the law.

Similarly, Oil Mill Market has been closed and as such all those using Igbo-Etche Road as an alternative market are warned to desist forthwith or risk destruction of their goods.

“Government has not approved any goat market at the Eleme/Ahoada stretch of the East-West road in the state.”

Nsirim directed authorities of Emohua and Ahoada-East Councils to shut down the goat market in the area immediately.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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COVID-19: Kwara Govt gives conditions for worship centres to reopen Friday



Kwara Government says worship centres may reopen from Friday,  June 5 if religious centres  satisfy certain criteria already agreed with various religious umbrella bodies in the state.

Mr Kayode Alabi, the Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, stated this while briefing newsmen in Ilorin on Wednesday.

He,  however, warned that the concession for churches and mosques to reopen does not mean that the state had flattened the curve of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said  the decision came hours after the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 held a marathon meeting with the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities, including the Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

“We are definitely not out of the woods as cases continue to rise, especially because of violation of travel restrictions

“The meeting centred around whether or not to reopen the worship centres across the state, as suggested by the Federal Government.

” However, in line with the presidential advisory and the positions of our religious umbrella bodies in the state, worship centres may reopen from June 5,  provided they satisfy the following conditions:

“Worship centres shall be organised by the respective head of the congregation in such a way that one attendant is at least one metre away from the next

” Each worship centre shall make provisions for hand washing or hand sanitiser and infrared thermometer

” Wearing of face masks shall be mandatory for all worshippers

“There shall be no hand shaking or hugging among worshippers

” Children remain restricted from worship centres and people above 65 or persons with underlying health conditions are urged to stay away from worship centres

“Muslims should perform ablution from their own houses. Ablution spots are not allowed for now to avoid the spread of the virus.

” Muslim women are to stay away from mosques, as suggested by the leadership of the Muslim community in the state.

“Each worship centre is to dedicate a few minutes before service or prayers to educate attendants about COVID-19 and its dangers,” the deputy governor said.

He said the government’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) shall conduct random visit to worship centres to take samples and do temperature checks.

The deputy governor said that government shall hold affected religious leaders responsible for non compliance with all COVID-19-related safety measures in their worship centres.

He added that all the conditions was agreed to  by the religious umbrella bodies.

He said further that the leadership of religious communities agreed that any worship centre that violated these provisions would be shutdown and its leadership strictly held accountable.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)



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France’s COVID-19 deaths top 29,000




France on Wednesday reported 81 new COVID-19 deaths, a slower increase over the 107 fatalities registered a day earlier, bringing the country’s toll from the coronavirus-caused disease to 29,021 since March 1.

The Health Ministry said in a statement that more than a third of the fatalities (10,350) occurred in retirement homes.

Figures released by the ministry showed that the number of patients hospitalized or admitted to intensive care units continued to decline.

Currently 13,514 people are hospitalized, 514 less than on Tuesday. The number of patients in intensive care decreased by 43 to 1,210, it added.

A total of 151,677 people have tested positive for the coronavirus to date, including 352 new infections confirmed in the last 24 hours. The number of patients who have recovered stood at 69,455, a single-day increase of 668.

France entered the second phase of easing the lockdown on Tuesday, allowing people to sip their drinks in cafes and bars, as well as enjoy meals in restaurants which were closed for nearly three months to stem the epidemic spread.

Museums, parks and beaches are able to receive visitors. Swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks and theaters in so-called “green” zones also reopened.


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Jordan registers two news cases of COVID-19




Jordan on Wednesday reported two cases of the novel coronavirus, increasing the overall number of cases to 757.

Jordan’s Health Minister Saad Jaber said the two cases are for a Jordanian who recently arrived from Russia and was in quarantine after arrival and the second for a non-Jordanian truck driver who came from Saudi Arabia.

The minister said in a statement that 12 patients recovered on Wednesday, and he added that 5,495 tests were conducted, increasing the overall number of tests to 204,374.

Meanwhile, Jordan will resume arranging flights to bring Jordanians stranded abroad back to the country next week.

Several thousands of Jordanians have been brought home over the past few weeks after the country’s airports were shut down since mid-March.

On May 31, Jordan and China signed an agreement under which China donated a batch of medical supplies to the kingdom to help combat the coronavirus.


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COVID-19: Fedpoly Ede making ventilators — Rector



Mr John Adekolawole, Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Osun, says the school is working on making low cost ventilators to combat the dreaded Coronavirus ravaging the world.

Adekolawole told newsmen on Wednesday in Ede that the institution had been rated the best Federal Polytechnic in the South West in areas of innovations.

”In our efforts to combat the deadly Coronavirus, the school had produced hand sanitizers which is being commercialized at low costs and had also created special thermometers to check or test for those that might have COVID-19.

He said the thermometers made by the institution, after detecting high temperature, would give directive for such persons with higher temperature to moved aside.

“Our thermometers will not only test for body heat but has an indicator alert and directive for persons with body temperature above 36.5°C to 37°C to be set aside for further examination.

He said immune boosting drugs that could help to fight off bacteria and viruses were already being produced by the institution.

The rector added that plans were also in top gear to have the drugs in tea bags.

On staff welfare, Adekolawole said that about 250 staff had been promoted while another 300 staff had their levels upgraded based on their qualifications  since he became rector of the institution.

He, however, described reported allegations of nepotism and plagiarism against him as ”cheap blackmail”

He urged journalists to always verify, clarify and investigate issues before publishing, adding that he would not relent in his efforts in taking the institution to greater heights.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Oman reports 738 new COVID-19 cases, 13,538 in total




The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday 738 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 13,538.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, all new cases, including 324 Omanis, are related to community contact.

The statement also said 33 patients of COVID-19 have recovered, bringing the total recovered cases to 2,845. Eight new death were reported, bringing the death toll to 67.

The ministry called on people to observe the procedures for quarantine, avoid public places or places of worship, and ensure public hygiene.


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Roundup: Tunisia to further lift COVID-19 restrictions




Tunisian minister in charge of major national projects Lobna Jribi announced on Wednesday the main lines of the third phase of the national strategy for partially lifting the coronavirus lockdown.

From June 4, work will resume at 100 percent capacity in public administrations and in the other sectors of activity,” Jribi said at a press briefing at the government’s headquarters in Tunis.

She announced that mosques, all worship places, hotels and restaurants will reopen on June 4.

“Party halls will reopen on the same date,” said the minister, adding that the enclosed spaces will operate at 50 percent of their capacity, and the open spaces will operate at full capacity, but in compliance with hygiene measures.

Various sporting activities will be resumed from June 8 without the public “for the moment,” while respecting the preventive measures fixed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Travel between all Tunisian governorates will resume without authorization, said Jribi.

Tunisian nationals abroad will be repatriated from June 4 to June 14, “and priority will be given to students and residents who have lost their jobs.”

Since March 15, 2020, Tunisian authorities have managed to ensure the repatriation of 25,000 Tunisians stranded abroad, including 18,000 by air and 7,000 via land borders,” said the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Anouar Maarouf, at a press briefing held in Tunis on Wednesday.

Maarouf said that several flights have been scheduled recently to repatriate Tunisians living in various countries who wish to spend the summer holidays in Tunisia.

“However the programming of new repatriation flights does not mean opening the borders,” explained Maarouf.

He stressed that any Tunisian national repatriated will be called upon to comply with a mandatory confinement of two weeks; “one week at the hotel at his own expense, during which two screening tests will be carried out, with one upon arrival and the other upon exit, and a second week at his home.”

Students, employees whose contract of employment has expired, Tunisian nationals in difficult financial situations, and those who have been stranded in the destination countries will be exempted from the quarantine fees.

On May 26, Mohamed Rabhi, head of the health quarantine commission at the ministry revealed that mandatory quarantine in Tunisian medical centers over the COVID-19 concerns has so far cost the state 15 million dinars (5 million U.S. dollars).

On June 1, Tunisia decided to reopen the land, air and sea borders from June 27, but Tunisian nationals abroad will be repatriated from June 4.

As of Wednesday, Tunisia has reported one imported COVID-19 case, bringing the total number of cases to 1,087.

The Tunisian government has imposed strict confinement measures shortly after the announcement of the first coronavirus case on March 2.

The North African country has received several batches of medical aid from the Chinese government, Chinese foundations and companies since late March to help its fight against the pandemic.


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Israel’s COVID-19 death toll rises to 291 as total cases reach 17,377




The Israeli Ministry of Health reported 92 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 17,377.

According to the ministry, the number of death cases rose from 290 to 291, while the number of patients in serious condition decreased to 27 (the lowest since March 22), out of 108 patients currently hospitalized.

The number of recoveries increased to 14,983, with 43 new recoveries, while the number of active cases increased to 2,103.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a consultation about the education system with Education Minister Yoav Galant and National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat.

According to PM office’s statement, it was decided to close any school where coronavirus cases would be found.

Netanyahu also instructed the education minister to continue working for protection and remoteness solutions, as well as dealing with schools in which coronavirus cases were already detected.


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