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COVID-19: Group in Gombe commends Gov. Yahaya’s proactive measures

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Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Coalition has commended Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State for taking proactive measures in preventing outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Malam Alhassan Yahaya, Chairman of the group, told NAN in Gombe on Saturday that the prompt measures taken by Gov. Yahaya was commendable in spite of the fact that Gombe had not recorded any case of the virus.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that MNCH is a group of professionals in diverse fields advocating the improvement of Maternal and Child Health and other related health matters.

He was optimistic that the calibre of persons in Gombe State Task Force for COVID-19 would do a good job, considering their track records in the various places they had served and still serving.

“We are commending the governor for releasing over N500 million to the group to find necessary measures that will avert or curtail the spread of the disease in case of any eventuality,” he said.

Yahaya also said that the governor took the right steps by joining his counterparts in other states to close all borders in the state as well as suspended all public and social gatherings.

NAN reports that the governor has inaugurated a 21-man Task Force on COVID-19 with Prof. Idris Mohammed, former Chairman, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCD) as the Chairman.

The task force has identified four places in the state, namely Specialist Hospital, Kwadon Primary Health Care, General Hospital, Kaltungo and Bajoga as isolation centres.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

 

 

 

Foreign

Roundup: Lao students return to schools as gov’t further eases COVID-19 restrictions

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Most Lao students returned to schools on Tuesday as the Lao government further eased its precautionary COVID-19 restrictions.

Preschools, kindergartens and the remaining classes of primary and secondary schools (whose final-year classes resumed earlier on May 18) have reopened on Tuesday.

Final-year classes at technical colleges, pedagogy colleges and universities have also reopened on the same day, while other remaining classes are instructed to reopen on June 15.

Since May 18, the graduating grade students of primary and secondary schools have gone back to their classrooms, to prepare for tests to gain admission into higher education levels, according to an earlier announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office on May 15.

School administrators must implement precautionary measures to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19, which was recommended by the Ministry of Education and Sports and the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The measures for reopening schools include school administrators keeping their premises clean by cleaning classrooms and grounds and spraying disinfectant around their facilities to reduce the risk of infections.

Administrative staff, teachers and students must wear face masks at all times at school, and parents must also wear masks while picking up their children.

The Lao government also allows normal transport of goods across international borders from Tuesday. Organizations of all forms of sport competitions with no spectators, night markets and cinemas are also permitted to reopen.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the easing of restrictions was temporary and that if further cases of COVID-19 were found, the rules would be reimposed in the province where the infection was detected. If clusters of infections occur in two or more provinces, the lockdown will be re-introduced nationwide.

Restrictions have been further relaxed given that there have been no new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos for 50 consecutive days as of Monday. Sixteen of the 19 patients who contracted the virus have been discharged from hospitals.

The Lao Health Ministry announced its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases at its daily press conference on March 24.

(XINHUA)

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Nepal faces shortage of vital medical supplies over surging COVID-19 cases

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Nepal’s Department of Health Services said it does not have a single ventilator in store for the hospitals if critical COVID-19 cases surge amid rapidly increasing cases recently.

Ventilator is the life saving equipment vital for the survival of critically ill patients, which the Himalayan country lacks in various hospitals.

“We don’t have any ventilator at our store at the moment. We are initiating the process of procuring 10 new ventilators,” Bhogendra Raj Dotel, director of Supply Management section at the Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population, told Xinhua early this week.

According to the Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population, the nation currently has only 840 ventilators across the country.

Although the Health Ministry planned to buy 235 new ventilators, hardly any of them have arrived, according to Adhikari. “We also have not received ventilators from foreign donors who have supported us with surgical masks, personal protective equipment and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test kits, rapid test kits among others.”

The ministry said in its Health Sector Emergency Response Plan against the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled last month that there are 840 ventilators, 26,930 hospital beds and 1,595 beds with intensive care unit facilities in 194 hospitals.

“As these facilities, particularly impatient beds and ventilators, are being used for other conditions or impatient care services, we assume only one third of it could be available for COVID-19 cases,” the Health Emergency Response Plan states.

With a record-high 239 new cases on Monday, the total count of COVID-19 in Nepal has reached 1,811. After a slow start, almost all cases had appeared in the last one month, according to the ministry.

The Himalayan country has already witnessed eight deaths from the pandemic. As the number of cases is rising rapidly, Adhikari said the rise in serious cases that require ventilator support could not be ruled out.

In the worst case scenario, Nepal expects over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 with a requirement of keeping over 500 patients at intensive care units and over 1,500 at the hospitals with oxygen support, according to the Health Sector Emergency Response Plan.

Along with the rise in the number of cases, the Nepali government is also struggling to manage enough the PCR test kits and the Viral Transport Mediums (VTMs) which are used to collect throat swab samples for testing.

“There are just over 50,000 PCR kits while the number of VTMs is just over 10,000,” according to Adhikari. “As PCR kits are in constant supply, it may not be a problem,” he said. “We also hope to get VTMs from local manufacturers too, which will offset the current shortage.”

(XINHUA)

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India COVID-19 death toll rises to 5,598 as total cases reach 198,706

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India’s federal health ministry on Tuesday morning reported 204 new deaths and 8,171 positive cases during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,598 and total cases to 198,706.

According to ministry officials, 95,527 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

“The number of active cases in the country right now is 97,581,” said the information.

The 5th phase of a nationwide lockdown came into force from Monday, marking several relaxations and reopening in a phased manner.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nationwide lockdown on March 25 to contain the spread of COVID-19 and break the chain of infection.

(XINHUA)

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Indian state Maharashtra crosses mark of 70,000 COVID-19 cases, financial capital Mumbai crosses 40,000 mark

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India’s western state of Maharashtra and the state’s political capital Mumbai crossed the 70,000 and 40,000 marks of confirmed COVID-19 cases respectively, as per the official update late on Monday.

Maharashtra is the worst affected Indian state accounting for close to 38 percent or 70,013 cases in the country, while India’s financial capital Mumbai has now turned into the epic center accounting for over 22 percent or 40,877 cases in India.

The death toll in the state rose to 2,362 after 76 more fatalities including 40 from Mumbai were reported in the past 24 hours.

Several districts in the state with nil cases have seen a spike in cases due to reverse migration from urban hubs like Mumbai and Pune back to their native homes during the past two months of the lockdown.

The western state had extended its lockdown by further one more month till June 30 with some relaxations but the under-funded health care infrastructure and poor living conditions in the city’s slums have acted as a boost to the spread of virus.

To further add to the stress, the coastal districts of the state including Mumbai city are on high alert due to the in-coming cyclone, which is closing in and expected to land on Wednesday evening.

India’s federal health ministry on Monday morning reported 230 new deaths from the COVID-19 and 8,392 more positive cases cross the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,394 and total cases to 190,535.

(XINHUA)

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New Zealand confirms no new case of COVID-19 for 11 consecutive days

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New Zealand reported no new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday for 11 consecutive days, with the combined total of confirmed and probable cases staying at 1,504, according to the Ministry of Health.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the World Health Organization remained at 1,154, said a ministry statement.

The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 remained unchanged at 1,481, with only one case remaining active, it said.

The number of COVID-19 related deaths in New Zealand remained at 22, with no additional deaths, it said, adding there is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

New Zealanders can be assured that our testing capacity remains high and that testing at the border and in our communities will continue to be an essential part of our COVID-19 elimination strategy,” the statement said.

Regarding the gatherings at COVID-19 Alert Level 2, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said in the statement, “We’re aware of several large gatherings in New Zealand yesterday to recognize the tragic death of

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“Anyone

who attended these gatherings or who is planning to be at other upcoming events and feels they may be at risk by coming into close contact with people they don’t know, should take a cautious approach and seek advice,” Bloomfield said.

Whatever the Alert Level in New Zealand, it’s clear COVID-19 will continue to be a global threat for some time and it’s important we remain vigilant both as individuals and as a country,” he said, reminding people to observe physical distancing, seek appropriate health advice, and stay at home if feeling unwell.

“There’s currently no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand so at this time, quarantine for 14 days after attending one of these outdoor events is not required,” he added.

The current Alert Level 2 rules require gatherings of no more than 100 people where the people need to be physically distanced.

(XINHUA)

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Mexico’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 10,000

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Mexico’s death toll from COVID-19 reached 10,167 on Monday after an increase of 237 deaths on the previous day, its Health Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the country recorded 2,771 new cases, taking its total infections to 93,435.

Mexico is second only to Brazil in Latin America over COVID-19 deaths.

The Mexican government has announced it will ease restrictions in three stages to reopen the economy.

(XINHUA)

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Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll nears 30,000

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Brazil has registered a single-day increase of 623 COVID-19 deaths, raising the national death toll to 29,937, the health ministry said on Monday.

Over the last 24 hours, authorities have detected 12,247 new infections, taking its total to 526,447, while 211,080 patients have recovered.

Brazil’s largest state Sao Paulo, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak where the first known infection was detected on Feb. 26, has seen 7,667 deaths and 111,296 confirmed cases, prompting authorities to extend lockdown measures until June 15.

Brazil’s second largest outbreak is in Rio de Janeiro state, where 54,530 cases have so far been reported with 5,462 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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False positive COVID-19 test sparks confusion in remote Aussie town

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A 30-year-old man reported to be Australia’s youngest COVID-19 victim was revealed on Monday never to have had the virus.

In a brief statement on Monday evening, authorities said a false positive test was behind the confusion, sparking a testing blitz in the remote mining town of Blackwater in Queensland State where the man lived.

After being found dead in his home last week, a post-mortem test returned positive for COVID-19, despite that the man had not left the town for several months and no other cases were reported within the vicinity.

Remote testing clinics were established and a specialist contact tracing team was sent to the area to solve the mystery, garnering national attention.

Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday apologized to the man’s family for the added grief and stressed they were forced to endure due to the heightened scrutiny.

To the family I know that is still grieving and I don’t want them to be stressed anymore. I know it is a very tough time for them but we do know that the coroner made that finding yesterday and we accept that finding.”

The man’s fiancee was also displaying symptoms before testing negative, and his actual cause of death was yet to be determined.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles also apologized for the grief caused to the man’s family, but added that every positive test needed to be treated as genuine.

(XINHUA)

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Portugal quadruples funds to companies fighting COVID-19 pandemic

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The Ministry of Territorial Cohesion of Portugal announced on Monday that it quadrupled the amount to 108 million euros (around 120.2 million U.S. dollars) offered to companies that modified their production to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

This measure was taken, according to the ministry, to encourage the production of materials considered essential to control the novel coronavirus, such as visors, masks and alcohol gel.

“The non-repayable support of Portugal 2020 regional operational programs was extended to 108 million euros, aimed at companies that converted their production to respond to the challenges of the pandemic,” the ministry said in a statement.

Investments were made through the Norte 2020, Centro 2020, Lisbon 2020, Alentejo 2020 and CRESC Algarve programs, which are part of an incentive system for productive innovation and finance around 440 projects.

According to official data, so far contracts have been signed with 195 production initiatives, which allocated 40 million euros (around 44.5 million dollars) from European funds, including the Portugal 2020 program (PT 2020), a partnership between Portugal and the European Commission.

In addition, a program to support scientific research in the fight against the pandemic was launched, which is projected to invest 13 million euros (nearly 14.5 million), of which 3 million euros (around 3.3 million U.S. dollars) have already been allocated to 18 research projects.

Portugal has reported a total of 32,700 cases and 1,424 deaths from COVID-19, with 14 new deaths and 200 more cases recorded over the last 24 hours, the health authorities said.

(XINHUA)

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