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COVID 19: Gov. Umahi lifts ban on worship centres in Ebonyi

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Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has lifted the ban on worship centres across the state with effect from May 15.

Mr Uchenna Orji, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Abakaliki on Friday.

He said that the decision was in response to passionate appeals made by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state.

“The re-opening of the worship centres must however, be under strict observance of the state laws and must be once a week.

“All churches are to observe their services only on Sundays from 9.am to 11.am.

“Seventh Day Adventists and Muslim faithful are to observe their services on Saturdays and Fridays, respectively and also from 9.am to 11.am.

“No religious centre shall permit more than 50 people and worshippers must observe a minimum of two metres social distancing from one another,” he said.

Orji said that wearing of face masks, washing of hands with running water and use of sanitisers must be strictly observed in all religious centres.

“No religious service is allowed to hold any other day than the days specified herein and which must be in strict observance of all COVID-19 laws and regulations.

“The CAN has a duty to shut any religious gathering and arrest the principal of the worship centre, which violates this order.

“The government requests all religious bodies in the state to use this window to create awareness among members on the protocols, policies, laws and regulations regarding COVID-19 as well as pray for the state and Nigeria,” he said.

Orji also urged religious leaders to use the opportunity to advise members on the need for aggressive participation in agriculture and other lawful means of livelihood.

“The CAN leadership and anti-COVID-19 committee on religious centres, are requested to mount strict monitoring of all religious centres in the state and ensure strict compliance and discipline,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

Chukwuemeka Opara: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

COVID-19: NYSC distributes palliatives to elderly persons in Ekiti communities

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The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Ekiti office, has distributed food items, sanitisers and other relief materials to elderly men and women in four selected communities in the state.
Distributing the items in Ogotun-Ekiti, in Ekiti West Local Government Area, the NYSC coordinator in Ekiti, Mrs Emmanuella Okpongete, said the scheme identified with the suffering of the people at the trying time of Coronavirus pandemic.
News Agency of Nigeria, reports that items distributed included: six bags of rice, one bag of beans, one bag of Garri, two packets of salt and one carton of vegetable oil.
Other were, three cartons of spaghetti, two cartons of tomato paste, two cartons of `maggi’ spices, three cartons of Indomie noodles and 100 pieces of face masks.
The rest were 50 bottles of hand sanitisers, 30 bottles of sprayer sanitisers and 20 bottles of hand wash soap.
NYSC scheme is marking its 47th anniversary and this time around because of the Coronavirus and its effects on the people we decided to assist by giving out little of what we have.
NYSC scheme is a service to the community. In putting the community first we decided to visit four LGAs and villages in Ekiti state.
“Our focus is to reach out to those who are vulnerable. We feel that giving out only the sanitisers and face marks that are produced by our corps members will not be enough.
“We decided to add food items that will be able to, at least, sustain each family that benefits for two days,” Okpongete said.
NAN reported that the NYSC coordinator also enlightened the community on the dangers of COVID-19, urging them to stay safe at all times.
In his response, the traditional of Ogotun-Ekiti, Oba Samuel Oladapo, thanked NYSC scheme for the gesture, praying that the scheme would sustain its mandate of uniting the nation.
Some of the beneficiaries, Chief Amos Ayeto and Mrs Lucia Oyebode, commended the donor, and called on others to emulate the NYSC scheme’s gesture to alleviate the suffering of the people during the pandemic.
NAN reports that other communities that also benefitted are Ijero-Ekiti, in Ijero LGA, Ise-Ekiti, in Ise/Orun LGA and Emure-Ekiti, in Emure LGA.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Science & Technology

STEM education will prepare students for post-COVID-19 era – Expert

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Mr Raj Kapoor, Co-founder of Discovery Education, on Wednesday said that Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education would prepare students for the Post-COVID 19 era.

Kapoor made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on the sidelines of a Forum hosted by Codefest International in Lagos.

He said that STEM encourages students to develop and apply solutions to real challenges facing the world.

He said that STEM was built on four principles which were Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical thinking.

Kapoor, also Co-founder, India STEM Alliance (ISA), said that the 4Cs targeted and developed 21st century skills and the sub-skills of students.

Açcording to him, it gives students the opportunity to creatively think, develop and apply solutions, encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

“Sixty per cent of jobs in 2030 will be freelance and 70 per cent of jobs in the next 15 years will be STEM-based.

“Communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking are the real skills our kids will need especially in postCOVID 19 era.

“When jobs will be hard to come by, STEM jobs will come straight to the fore. So now we can equip our kids to tackle not just today but the future, ’’ he said.

According to him, our entire programme is inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering.

NAN reports that Discovery Education is in partnership with ISA and Codefest International to provide free access for students to use the Discovery Education coding platform.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: Mission advises cancer patients on adequate care against contraction

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The Mass Medical Mission (MMM) has advised cancer patients to be extremely careful and adhere strictly to the appropriate precautions against contraction of Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

The Mission’s Executive Secretary, Dr Abia Nzelu, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.

Nzelu said the advice became pertinent considering the fact that these categories of people were at greater risk of contracting the virus more than others.

According to her, most cancer treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation can weaken the immune system, and thereby exposing cancer patients to higher risks of contracting infectious diseases.

She noted that cancer patients were twice likely to become infected than the general population and significantly more likely to die from COVID-19 once infected.

“Individuals with weakened immune systems such as cancer patients or those on immunosuppressive medications might be at higher risk for infection and complications associated with the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.

“This is why it is very necessary that cancer patients should go the extra mile to observe all precautionary measures to protect themselves from contracting infectious diseases, particularly the deadly Coronavirus disease.

“Because once contracted, the cancer patient has lower chances of survival than other patients due to their weakened immune system,” she said.

Nzelu, therefore, emphasised the need for special treatment and care for them.

She advised cancer patients to go the extra mile to observe the precautionary measures and ensure their safety, irrespective of whether others were obeying or violating the guidelines/precautions.

Nzelu also advised cancer patients not to take advantage of the gradual easing of lockdown to relax or neglect their health condition.

She urged them to always be conscious of their health and never do things others were doing.

According to her, the use of tele-medicine, which allow patients in different locations to access medical expertise quickly without having to travel should be strongly encouraged and embraced by cancer patients.

Nzelu said that cancer patients were not supposed to frequently visit hospitals, particularly during this period, but could do so when it became unavoidably necessary.

“The importance of tele-medicine and electronic communication cannot be overemphasised.

“Let cancer patients embrace them and learn to communicate with their doctors electronically instead of frequenting the hospitals,” Nzelu said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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General news

Gombe childrens’ parliament tasks children on compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures

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The Speaker of the Gombe State Children Parliament, Umar Farouk, has tasked children in the state to adhere to all government and health authorities’ directives so as to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Farouk made this appeal while delivering his speech in Gombe on Wednesday during a press conference organised by Save the Children International to commemorate the 2020 World Children’s Day.

He stated that the fight against COVID-19 needed the cooperation of everyone, including children, to ensure that no one was left behind.

According to him, everyone is vulnerable to Coronavirus, hence the need for collective efforts to protect the state and country at large.

The speaker also called for more supports from government and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the rights of children in the state, were protected.

He added that it was the right of every child to get educated to enable him or her fulfill his or her dreams, and contribute to the development of the state and country.

He further called for more supports for girl-child education in the state to ensure that children, irrespective of their gender, were given the foundation to attain greatness in life.

Also speaking, Gombe Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Naomi Awak, said the state government was committed to the issues of child-education in the state, adding “children are the hope of the state and nation.”

Earlier, the Community Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator of the Save the Children International, Mr Akpan Effiong, said the girl-child needed all the supports to develop her potentials in life.

Effiong, while canvassing more supports for girl-child education, stressed that educating a girl meant giving value to the society, adding “educating the girl-child will fast-track the attainment of sustainable development goals.”

He called on government to make education compulsory and free for the girl-child as such would go a long way in helping to address some of the challenges militating against girl-child education.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/ (NAN)

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Foreign

Zambia’s health minister tests positive for COVID-19

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Zambia’s Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya has tested positive for COVID-19, the government announced on Wednesday.

The country has reported 137 new cases after tests conducted in the last five days, bringing the cumulative cases to 1,057.

Secretary to the Cabinet Simon Miti made the announcement during a COVID-19 update press briefing.

He said all cabinet ministers who attended a cabinet meeting with the health minister recently will undergo tests.

The health minister becomes the second minister that has tested positive for COVID-19 after information minister Dora Siliya tested positive last week.

The country also discharged 443 patients in the last five days, bringing the total of discharges to 779.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Brunei reports 2nd COVID-19 death case

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Brunei reported another COVID-19 death on Wednesday, the second since March 28 this year.

According to Brunei’s Ministry of Health, the late patient was a 56-year-old local male, who was Case 94 of COVID-19 in Brunei and had been undergoing treatment at the National Isolation Center since being diagnosed positive with COVID-19 on March 24.

No new cases of COVID-19 nor more recoveries were recorded on Wednesday, maintaining the national tally of cases at 141 and the total recovered cases at 137.

The ministry added that only two active cases are still receiving treatment at the National Isolation Center. One is still in critical condition, requiring Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and respiratory assistance. The other one is in stable condition.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections rises to 1,161

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Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections increased on Wednesday by 21 cases to 1,161 while the death toll remained unchanged at 26, the National News Agency reported.

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan tweeted on Tuesday that the ministry will distribute 2 million masks while urging people to stick to precautionary measures.

Lebanon has been fighting against COVID-19 since Feb. 21 and it has received support by several countries in its fight against the virus.

In February, Lebanese President Michel Aoun expressed solidarity with China in its battle against the coronavirus.

In return, China offered help to Lebanon by donating batches of medical supplies to fight the pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Indonesia to scale up test, detection of COVID-19 in East Java province

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Indonesia will scale up test and detection of the COVID-19 cases in East Java province which has appeared to be a new hot spot of the virus.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the province must be put on a priority along with other provinces as the cases there have leaped as of late.

The president emphasized the importance of massive tests and tracing of the people under monitoring and surveillance.

Besides imposing tight isolation procedures, the implementation of the health protocol should also be carried out, the president said.

To enforce the large-scale social restriction rules along with the physical distancing, the president said, soldiers and policemen will be deployed to these provinces.

“For the areas whose (COVID-19) curves keep on the rise, East Java for instance, we will add more personnel to them, so that the curves can be flattened.”

A day earlier, the Indonesian government decided to dispatch nearly 350,000 security personnel to force the to public take proper precautions on the spread of the virus and abide by rules of the partial lockdowns.

“We insist on moving into a new normal scenario. We want awareness and strong discipline of the people so that the virus infection rate can be obliterated,” said the president.

Regarding the post celebration of the Islamic festivity of Eid al-Fitr, the president warned against the second surge of the virus infection as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to return to the cities after celebrating the annual tradition in their hometowns or villages.

The COVID-19 has killed 1,473 people in Indonesia and infected 23,851 others, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

S. African mining sector calls for cooperation to fight COVID-19

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Minerals Council of South Africa President Mxolisi Mgojo on Wednesday called on the mining sector to work with the government to tackle the COVID-19 and revive the economy.

“More than ever, these times demand cooperation, understanding and a united effort to rescue our industry, our country’s economy and our population’s overall health and welfare from the deepest crisis we and our world have seen in most of our living memory,” said Mgojo at the Minerals Council Annual General Meeting.

He said the sector had been implementing the standard operating procedure developed by the government such as installing systems in place to screen, test, and isolate those with COVID-19.

“We need to work together to manage the virus while we get the industry back to work. Lives and livelihoods depend on this,” he said.

“We also need all other stakeholders to play their role in fighting the pandemic. The proper sanitizing of public transport, proper social distancing, proper use of personnel protective equipment, are all part of every citizen managing this crisis,” he said.

Mgojo said the lockdown exacerbated the problem of poverty and unemployment, and welcomed the opening of the economy on June 1. He called on the government to reduce the regulatory uncertainty, energy shortages, structural weaknesses in the economy to promote the growth rate.

(XINHUA)

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