Dr Bashir Yankuzu, Chief Imam of Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger, has called for continuous prayers to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
Yankuzu made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency ( NAN) in Minna on Wednesday.
He said seeking divine intervention would help to tackle the present health challenges threatening the survival of human existence globally.
He said the life of every citizen was precious, and that it was worth protecting by all and sundry by adhering strictly to directives on the pandemic and praying continuously.
The cleric also urged Nigerians to pray fervently for an end to the pandemic, bloodshed, kidnapping, cattle rustling and banditry in the country.
He said that seeking divine intervention would enable security agencies to apprehend and prosecute all those behind insecurity in the country.
“We must obey all health instructions to curb the spread of Coronavirus, to stay alive and healthy,” he said.
He appealed to wealthy Nigerians to compliment efforts of the Federal Government to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. ( NAN)
Edited By: Chioma
(NAN) Ugboma and Abdullahi Yusuf
Sri Lanka reports 100 new COVID-19 cases in 2 days as total cases jump above 1,300
Sri Lanka’s number of COVID-19 patients jumped to above 1,300 on Wednesday after reporting 100 new cases within the past two days from the quarantine centers, Health Ministry statistics showed.
According to the Health Ministry, the country witnessed a sudden spike in cases after several local nationals, who were recently repatriated from Kuwait, tested positive for the virus.
Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe said the cases were likely to rise further as the results of more PCR tests were expected from those in quarantine.
Till Wednesday afternoon, the total positive patient count reached 1,319, out of which 732 have recovered and been discharged. Ten deaths have been reported.
Authorities on Monday temporarily halted overseas repatriations after a spike in cases among the returnees from Kuwait and said it would soon structure a new plan to repatriate local nationals stranded abroad.
Authorities relaxed a curfew in capital Colombo and on the outskirts of Gampaha earlier this week after two months as no public transmission of the virus had been reported since April 30, but urged the public and businesses to maintain strict health guidelines when leaving their homes.
France bans hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients
“Whether in town or in hospitals, this molecule should not be prescribed for COVID-19 patients,” said the Health Ministry.
The decision came after the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that it had suspended a global trial of the malaria drug on COVID-19 patients while the safety data is being reviewed.
Last week, a study published in British medical journal The Lancet said patients receiving the drug, used alone or with a macrolide, had a higher mortality rate.
According to the WHO, over 400 hospitals in 35 countries were recruiting patients and nearly 3,500 patients have been enrolled from 17 countries under the Solidarity Trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of four drugs and drug combinations against COVID-19, which include hydroxychloroquine.
COVID-19: NGO canvasses more responsibilities for PHCs
An NGO, South Saharan Social Development Organisation (South Saharan), has advocated for more responsibilities for Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) as the COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Dr Stanley Ilechukwu, made the call in a statement on Wednesday in Enugu.
Ilechukwu, a medical doctor, urged the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and state governments to commence full scale capacity-building and training of all workers in PHCs on COVID-19.
According to him, PHCs available in most communities must be fully incorporated in the fight in terms of testing and test collection, sending test samples to COVID-19 diagnostic facilities as well as contact tracing.
He said that PHCs should have capacity to take care of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients that might go for isolation in their homes with medical monitoring.
This, he said, would save time, money and logistics of moving a “healthy patient’’ to isolation and treatment centres.
“The testing rate is alarmingly low considering there is evidence that community spread is widespread in some parts of the country and it is doubtful that current testing capacity would be sufficient to test and trace all suspects.
“Tracing is also made difficult due to the backlash from the prolonged economic shutdown necessitated by the pandemic.
“Nigeria is a country with poor economic indices – and a poverty rate of 40.1 per cent, and as such it would be difficult to sustain a prolonged shutdown affecting the livelihood of millions without risking mass protests.
“Given these realities, the best strategy that can be employed by NCDC is targeted testing approach that does not restrict the ability of most citizens to carry out their functions while devolving and decentralising COVID-19 management and contact tracing to the nearest PHC.
” Alternatively, symptomatic screening algorithm with moderate to high index of sensitivity for COVID-19 is utilised as the first line of management,’’ he said.
“However, a call centre with the capacity to receive the numerous daily calls is currently lacking.
“While COVID-19 apps are a good development, the number of citizens with internet access is limited.
“Finally, walk-in visits for screening without a triage mechanism might also overwhelm already fragile health systems given the poor doctor-patient and nurse-patient ratios in the country.
” It can be easily scaled across the country and has to be designed and operationalised at the shortest possible time as every day lost further exacerbates COVID-19 community spread, putting more lives at risk,’’ he added.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
COVID-19 cases in Maldives rise to 1,457
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Maldives rose to 1,457 on Wednesday as 19 additional cases were confirmed, according to data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
Nineteen additional cases include four Maldivians, 13 Bangladeshis, one Indian and one Nepali as of Wednesday afternoon, the HPA said.
State media reported the fifth COVID-19 related death on Tuesday after a 45-year old Bangladeshi man was found unconscious in capital Male and declared dead en route to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).
Meanwhile, a study by the Ministry of Health has revealed that there was no negligence involved in the death of an 83-year-old COVID-19 patient on April 30, the country’s first.
However, the study found procedural delays in collecting and testing samples from the patient, an issue that has since been rectified, according to the government.
According to the National Emergency Operating Center (NEOC), there are currently around 1,817 individuals in quarantine facilities and 1,108 individuals in isolation facilities.
COVID-19 pandemic affecting our trade – cattle breeders
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN),South East chapter, says the Coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on the trade of herdsmen. 4>Alhj. Gidado Siddiki, Chairman of MACBAN in South East, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Wednesday that there was drastic reduction in the number of cows sold by members of his association. 4>Siddiki said elaborate ceremonies like marriages and burials for which customers bought cows, were no longer held in compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols. 4>“The Coronavirus outbreak is seriously affecting our business; we no longer sell cows like we used to because people no longer hold ceremonies like marriages and burials. 4>“Again, cows have become expensive due to the high cost of transportation and our volume of sales has gone down drastically,” he said. 4>Siddiki said he had ensured that his members were adequately informed on the dangers of the novel virus and ways of preventing it, but expressed worries that most of them were not adhering to the rules. 4>He called on all MACBAN members to obey the guidelines provided by health authorities and government, which included keeping safe distance, non-shaking of hands or embrace, regular washing of hands with soap, use of hand sanitisers and facemasks. 4>“I and members of my leadership take the awareness message to them where they are in the bush; also we have to join hands with other people to eradicate this virus which is threatening our business,” he said. 4>Siddiki thanked governors of South East states and the people of the area for being good hosts and giving them the enabling environment to do their business. 4>“I want to use this opportunity to thank the people of South East, especially their governors,for the cordial relationship that exists between my members and their host communities,” he said.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/ (NAN)
COVID-19: UK will continue to assist PEBEC in Nigeria — Envoy
Mrs Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, says the UK government will continue to provide technical assistance to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in Nigeria.
The British envoy said this during a Webinar organised by the Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce.
The theme of the Webinar was: ‘Nigerian- British Bilateral Relationship Post COVID-19.”
She said the letter of intent revolved round removing fuel subsidy, taxing Forex regime and the power sector.
“The implementation of these reforms will help mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on the economy and enable a recovery that provides diversified and sustainable economy that is good for both British and Nigerian businesses.
“At this moment, the UK is highly active in supporting Nigeria to see through the reforms and that is why we will continue to provide technical assistance to PEBEC and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and other key sectors in Nigeria.
She, however, noted that the growth of the sector had been slowed down due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The fact is that we need technology now more than ever, during this period and that is why we have rolled out programmes in the tech sector in spite of the current circumstances.
“We are trying to understand how we can support innovation and local production on TV that we need to fight Coronavirus.
Speaking on how Coronavirus had changed the economic outlook, Thompson said it had affected prospects for British businesses as well as the ones in Nigeria and any other.
She said to address the issues, they had been having quarterly meetings with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and top executives of the biggest British companies here in Nigeria.
Thompson said the essence of the meeting was to give them an opportunity of some of the key issues that were affecting them and to hear the ministers views on how they could be addressed.
“The meeting gives an insight into the constraints of government and the way they can begin to work together to come up with solutions,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Bimbo Olashore, Vice President, Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce (NBCC), said that for the Nigerian environment in particular, COVID-19 had brought about challenges in the areas of infrastructure and businesses, among others.
Olashore, however, said that a number of the challenges were being addressed, noting that Nigeria was already moving in the right direction in the scale of doing business.
“Clearly there are one or two things that have made the cost of doing business easier, this includes the harmonisation of the exchange rate, also some investment have been going on that has made the business environment more competitive over the past few months.
He, however, said that more work needed to be done in the area of the cost of governance, noting that the government had been doing its best in that regard.
Olashore said that Nigeria needed to keep investing in infrastructure and also ensure that the cost of governance came down.
“We need to ensure that the Nigerian environment becomes more competitive and also build on the reforms that we have started.
“Nigeria also needs to seriously look into diversification,” Olashore said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Children’s Day: COVID-19 unites families as children get adequate parental attention
Some parents in Enugu on Wednesday said the sit-at-home order to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic has given families opportunity for togetherness as children get attention they deserve from parents.
Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews in Enugu, some families said that closeness and ties had returned in their homes.
They added that it was due to less cosmopolitan lifestyle as a result of the lockdown order.
Mrs Uju Okoye, a mother of three, said that the sit-at-home order had united her family more than ever before.
Okoye said that her husband’s evening outings suddenly stopped due to fear of contracting the virus.
“Staying together always and engaging in recreational activities within the confines of our home have returned back the closeness, bonding and ties, which disappeared from the family long ago,” she said.
Mr James Ibe, a father of two, said that he had been supporting his wife to shop for the family since the lockdown began.
“Since the lockdown I have been supporting my wife in various home activities by helping to go to market to buy foodstuffs and focusing on the items on our scale of preference,” Ibe said.
“My husband now stays at home with our children and this has made him to pay greater attention to their studies.
“Through the recently introduced e-learning schemes, he made it a priority to provide all the required materials like functioning phones with data and guides the children on how to go about their studies to achieve success,” Agujiobi said.
Another parent, Mrs Chinwe Egwu, said that the sit-at-home order had helped her to teach her children how to cook native delicacies.
She stated that it was difficult to do so before since she worked far from home.
“As a civil servant working in another city outside Enugu, I hardly find time to put my children through on how to cook.
“But, I thank God for the sit-at-home order, at least I am teaching them and they are gradually picking up,” Egwu said.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Zimbabwe reports 7 new COVID-19 cases as tally rises to 63
Zimbabwe announced seven new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 63 in the country.
The new cases constitute the country’s biggest number to be recorded in a single day since the onset of the pandemic in March.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care said in a statement Wednesday that the seven patients, who tested positive to the virus Tuesday, are Zimbabwean returnees from South Africa who are quarantined in Beitbridge.
A total of 25 people have recovered from the virus while deaths remain at four.
The country has so far done 38, 352 tests for COVID-19.
India’s COVID-19 cases cross 150,000 mark as pandemic continues to rattle Asia-Pacific region
India’s total number of COVID-19 cases surpassed the 150,000-mark on Wednesday, as the number of infections in the Asia-Pacific region continues to pile up.
India’s federal health ministry said the total number of cases has reached 151,767, while the latest death toll stood at 4,337. As many as 170 new deaths and 6,387 fresh cases were reported during the past 24 hours.
Bangladesh reported 1,541 new COVID-19 cases and 22 more fatalities, bringing the country’s total number of the cases to 38,292 and death toll to 544.
The Malaysian health ministry reported 15 new cases, a dramatic drop from the 187 the day before. Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that the new cases pushed the national total to 7,619 of which 1,421 are active cases.
The cases in Indonesia rose by 686 within one day to 23,851, with the death toll adding by 55 to 1,473, Achmad Yurianto, a health ministry official said at a press conference.
The Philippines reported 380 new cases, bringing the total number of the cases to 15,049 since the highly infectious disease emerged in the country in January.
Thailand’s new daily COVID-19 infections surged from three to nine, all of them Thais who have returned from abroad and in quarantine.
A 30-year-old man in the Australian State of Queensland has become the country’s youngest person to die from the COVID-19, taking the national death toll to 103.
South Korea reported 40 more cases, raising the total number of infections to 11,265. The daily caseload rose above 40 in 49 days. Of the new cases, three were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,221.
No more death was reported, leaving the death toll at 269. The total fatality rate stood at 2.39 percent.
New Zealand reported no new case for five consecutive days, with the combined total of confirmed and probable cases staying at 1,504, according to the Ministry of Health.
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