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COVID-19 infections in Netherlands top 45,000



The number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Netherlands exceeded 45,000, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced on Saturday.

Since Friday 176 people tested positive to COVID-19, raising the total infections to 45,064. “The actual number of infections with the novel coronavirus is higher than the number mentioned here, because not everyone who may be infected is tested for the virus,” the RIVM stated.

The number of deaths rose by 23 to 5,811, while the number of people who are or were admitted to hospital increased by 10 to 11,659.


General news

COVID-19: VSF donates video teleconferencing solutions device to NCDC



The Victims Support Fund (VSF) Taskforce on COVID-19 has  donated Video Teleconferencing Solutions Device valued, N31 million to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to facilitate its service delivery.

Video conferencing is a telecommunication gadget used in  bringing people together, face-to-face, no matter where they are.

Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Head of the Taskforce, during the presentation in Abuja on Monday,  said that NCDC was one of the most important government agencies in Nigeria, hence there was need to support its activities.

She said  the idea of donating the device was to aid the NCDC management reach out to its staff faster, considering the role of the centre.

“We realise that the centre needs a strategic communication frame work to reach out to people across all the health care institutions within the federation for urgent response to disease control,” she said.

She also noted that the Chairman of VSF, Gen. TY Danjuma (Rtd) inaugurated the VSF Task Force on COVID-19 so as to provide palliatives to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable groups around the country.

She also said  the taskforce donated 10 kg bags of rice, beans, maize, garri, 4 litres of vegetable oil and 2kg of salt to many households across four geopolitical zones of the country,  covered so far.

Akerele-Ogunsiji said that 27,000 households across Lagos, Ogun, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba states would be benefiting from the gesture.

She further said the exercise was to mitigate the hardship that Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable, were experiencing at this period of pandemic.

According to her, VSF is committed to sustaining efforts in the global fight against the devastating Coronavirus pandemic.

“It will continue to work to provide succour to victims of insurgency and armed conflicts in Nigeria, especially in the areas of livelihood, recovery, education, protection, infrastructural development as well as research and peace building,” she said.

She said that VSF had so far,  reached out to relevant stakeholders with medical consumables, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities and personal protective equipment in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus.

“We are also working with the vulnerable, institutions and agencies supporting the government as part of its contribution to national efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

“The taskforce is working closely with all the relevant agencies at the Federal, State and Local Governments to contain the pandemic,” she said.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC,  appreciated VSF taskforce for reaching out to the centre, saying that the intervention would help the centre facilitate response to disease as it would reduce cost of movement from one place to another.

Ihekweazu noted that the intervention was apt and would actively help the centre to drive its response.

“This particular intervention will be credibly useful for our response considering our role.

According to him, the big task the centre has is coordinating the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the country.

“We have a public health department and emergency operation centre in each of those states, what we try to do is to make sure that we are all alive in the response.

“We provide them with all the support that they need to respond to this outbreak and other outbreak in their states.

“And in order to do that effectively, we need this kind of communication equipment especially now that we cannot travel as often as we want.

“Even when the roads are opened up, it takes a lot to ask the state team to leave their states and come to central location,’’ he said.

He however, was optimistic that the world would not be the same after this Coronavirus outbreak “as far as public health is concerned and we will have to engage more of this communication equipment.

“Because this is exactly what we need at this point in time; a new way of living, a new way of working; where you are constantly in touch with people without actually physically traveling,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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Okei-Odumakin raises concern as COVID-19 cases cross 10,000 line



Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Centre for Change, has expressed concern over the rising number of COVID-19 infection in the country, saying the country is yet to reach peak of the pandemic.

Okei-Odumakin, who expressed this concern on Monday in a statement in Lagos, decried the capacity of government to test citizens for the virus so as to isolate and treat the infected.

“The figure of Nigerians infected with coronavirus keeps surging, meaning that we are yet to reach the plateau of the pandemic.

“Last night, the figure hits 10,162 while Lagos still leads on the chart of new infections with 188 cases, followed by the FCT with 44.

“The capacity of government to test citizens for the virus so as to isolate and treat the infected continues at snail’s speed.

“Testing kits and reagents as well as PPE equipments and materials are said to be in short supply, in addition to their prices hitting the roof.

“Governments are running short of beds in the available isolation centres and treating less severe cases at home is being considered an option,” Okei-OdumkIn said.

According to her, it is however not pessimism all the way as 3007 cases have been successfully treated and discharged.

The group president, who noted that the death toll had climbed to 287, said that the number was less than three per cent of the total number of infected, including those discharged.

She, however, said that the fatalities number, viewed against the total national population of 200 million, showed it was massive.

“As state and federal governments contemplate more relaxation of the lockdown so that life can return to normal, apprehension mounts about the continuing spike in the number of infected persons.

“Another total lockdown appears ruled out for economic and security reasons. The impact of previous lockdowns on individuals and the economy has been massive.

“Besides, its effectiveness in combating the pandemic has also been called to question,” she added.

The president, in addition, expressed concern that citizens with other ailments requiring visits to hospitals had been crowded out of the health facilities.

The rights activist said that fatalities arising from hospitals and health workers refusing to admit and treat emergency or sick patients on the suspicion they could be COVID- 19 patients was on the rise.

Okei-Odumakin said: “More worrisome is the fact that security agencies meant to enforce the lockdowns in operation all over the country have generally compromised and allowed movement of goods and persons for pecuniary gains.

“The unwise dispersal of almajiris in some Northern states, many of them trooping into the South, has also not helped efforts to combat the virus.

“The high rate of new infections in Lagos has been put down to this influx, in addition to its being the economic life wire of the country where all paths meet.

“Managing the pandemic until a vaccine or other means of treatment is found or herd immunity is attained appear to be the unstated hope of the governments and the agencies tasked with managing the crisis.

“The other end, of course, is to continue to trust in God and prayers, and in the resilience and never-say-die spirit of our people while the NCDC continues to try its best.”

She also expressed concern that non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols of PPE and physical distancing by a lot of Nigerians had not made the job of the NCDC easier.

According to her, a vast number of Nigerians still continue to be sceptical about the existence of the virus, believing the lies and half truths that it is a white man’s disease or virus of the affluent and rich.

She also described as condemnable and suspicious, the manner government had handled palliatives and relief materials meant to cushion the impact of coronavirus on the vulnerable segments of the society.

Okei-Odumakin added that this had also fuelled the belief that the virus had only offered another opportunity for a corrupt elite to fleece the country.

“As matters now stand, the last has not been heard of COVID-19 and our response to it at national and state levels,” she said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Nigeria yet to reach ‘peak’ of COVID-19 cases – PTF



The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19,  says Nigeria is yet to reach the “peak” of COVID-19 infections.

The chairmen of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha , disclosed this at the COVID-19 daily news conference on Monday in Abuja.

He said it was necessary to restate to the citizenry,  that Nigeria had not reached the peak of confirmed cases, adding that the battle against COVID-19 was a long term battle.

He urged Nigerian to pursue a strategy that would aid the sustainable control of the spread of the disease, stressing that risk communications and community engagement should remain  top priority.

He added that precision approached to containment and management should be adopted based on the overall assessment, including available data on the public health considerations and resultant economic impacts.

According to him, the PTF is of the opinion that Nigeria is ready to allow science and data determine her cautious advancement into the second phase of the eased lockdown for a period of four weeks.

“It is the consideration of the PTF that while Nigeria’s confirmed cases have increased in the period under review, the following factors should inspire confidence in the response

“Majority of the confirmed cases are in a handful of local government areas  in the country as 20 out of the 774 LGAs nationwide account for 60 per cent of the cases,” he said.

He said there was an opportunity to concentrate efforts in the high-burden areas, adding that the federal agencies and state governments were working together on the promotion and utilisation of guidelines on case management.

According to him, there is increased capacity to detect, test and trace those infected with the virus as 29 testing laboratories have been activated, with Bauchi being the latest addition.

He added that the test count nationwide had exceeded 60,000, stating that a shift in focus to community engagement and enhanced risk communication was imperative.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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COVID -19: Youth group inaugurates e-clinic in Kano



A youth group, known as COVID-19 Relief Alliance (CORA) has inaugurated an e-clinic to cater for the health needs of the people of Kano State during the COVID -19 pandemic.

Dr Khalid Umar, Head of the Project, launched the e-clinic at the Centre for Infectious Disease and Research, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, on Monday.

He said the initiative was carried out in collaboration with the teaching hospital and Private Health Instructions Management Agency of the state government.

He said the aim of the project was to carter for outpatients in the state thereby reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19.

According to Umar, the e-clinic operates through a 24/7 toll-free line that enables residents to consult highly trained and experienced physicians via voice or video call during and after the pandemic.

The director, Center for Infectious Disease and Research, Prof. Isa Abubakar, said the e-clinic would reduce the number of people who visited hospitals as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“Patients can now consult a physician at the comfort of their homes with a voice or video, which is toll free.

“These days people are afraid to go to hospitals because of the pandemic. This technology will go a long way in helping the less privileged and poor ones in the society,” he said.

Abubakar commended the eight NGOs for the initiative.‎

Head of Mobilisation of CORA, Bashir Suaid, said the organisation received about 4,000 calls and distributed palliative to 1,450 people during a10-day test run.

He identified the NGOs that formed the alliance as the Arewa Young Entrepreneurs Initiative, Minds in Making, Orphans and Women Support Group, and Teens Development Initiative.

Others, he said, are: Angels of Hope, Jamar Health Foundation, Hope for Healthy Society and the Exceptional Girls Network. (NAN)

Edited By: Chidi Opara/Salif Atojoko (NAN)


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Sri Lanka reports 11th COVID-19 death as total cases rise to 1,639




Sri Lanka reported its 11th COVID-19 related death and six new confirmed cases on Monday, bringing the country’s total case count to 1,639, according to data from the Health Promotion Bureau.

Local media reported that the latest COVID-19 related death was that of a 45-year old male who recently returned to Sri Lanka from Kuwait and was being treated at the ICU of the Homagama Hospital in Colombo District.

Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation, told local media on Monday that all arrivals at the country’s main Bandaranaike International Airport will be subjected to PCR tests henceforth.

Ten more COVID-19 patients recovered and were discharged from hospital today, bringing the country’s total recoveries to 811.

A curfew used to contain COVID-19 was eased on May 26 to allow the resumption of economic activity. Curfew is currently enforced daily between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.


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COVID-19 lockdown: Lagos court sentences 730 violators to community service



No fewer than 730 persons were sentenced to community service by Lagos State Magistrates’ Court for COVID-19 lockdown offences, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Director of Community Service, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Ms Shakirat Karimu-Ikotun disclosed this to NAN in her office on Monday.

She spoke after receiving some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the British Council Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme.

Items presented by RoLAC include hand gloves, hand sanitisers, reusable face masks, hoes, brooms, cutlasses, rakes, wheelbarrows, printer inks and A4 papers, while the project was funded by the European Union.

Karimu-Ikotun said that many people were arrested for COVID-19 lockdown offences, saying that only few magistrates were available to handle their cases.

She said that all the offenders who pleaded guilty were given a non-custodian sentencing and were allowed to come from their various homes to carry out their community service for one or two weeks, depending on their offences.

“At least, we have supervised 730 offenders between April and May 15 over COVID-19 offences. We have many offenders but few courts were working to handle their cases.

“The community services carried out by offenders included public toilet washing, street sweeping, cutting of grass, clearing drainages, cleaning old peoples’ home,” she said.

Karimu-Ikotun appreciated RoLAC for the items donated to the unit, saying that the equipment would go a long way in protecting those on community service while carrying out the duties.

She appealed to the magistrates to always sentence minor offenders to community service, saying that this would reduce the number of inmates in various correctional centres, especially, those awaiting trials.

The Programme Officer of RoLAC in Lagos, Mrs Ajibola Ajimakinwa, while presenting the items said that the aim of the intervention was to ensure a sustained service delivery during COVID-19 breakout.

Ajimakinwa said the donation would also strengthen the capacity of the Community Sentencing Unit to supervise community offenders.

“The current prevalence of COVID-19 has led to increase in the number of offenders sentenced to do community service. The COVID-19 outbreak and consequential lockdown restriction have made it necessary to support the unit.

“Courts in Lagos are now routinely resorting to non-custodian measures, which increases the demand for equipment for doing community service,” Ajimakinwa said.

Some PPE items were also presented by RoLAC to the Lagos State Police Command Family Support and Gender Units.

The programme officer said they were supporting the units due to their involvement in handling sexual and domestic violence, which she claimed had increased since the pandemic lockdown started.

“The current prevalence of COVID-19 has led to increase in cases of sexual and domestic violence and service providers such as Gender and SFUs should be supported to ensure they carry out their services without any hindrance,” she said.

CSP Omomobi Olutoyin, the Head of Gender Unit at the Lagos State Police Command, who received the items on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, appreciated RoLAC for the donation.

She said that the organisation had donated other items to the command in time past, saying that the items donated would go a long way in protecting the police personnel in the course of their duties.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Iraq reports highest 429 daily new COVID-19 cases, 6,868 in total




The Iraqi health ministry on Monday reported 429 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day increase so far, taking the number of infections in the country to 6,868.

The new cases included 172 in the capital Baghdad, 102 in Sulaimaniyah, 41 in Wasit, 38 in Maysan, 22 in Basra, 13 in Muthanna, 11 in Karbala, eight in Diwaniyah, six in Najaf and Nineveh each, four in Babil and Diyala each and two in Duhok, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement also reported 10 more deaths, seven of them in Baghdad’s hospitals and one in Anbar, Maysan and Sulaimaniyah each, bringing the death toll in the country to 215.

Iraq has so far carried out 238,251 tests for COVID-19 since the outbreak of the disease, after 10,495 testing kits were used during the past 24 hours, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi said in a separate statement that the health situation is under control, and the ministry is exerting every effort to curb the virus.

“The percentage of beds occupied in the hospitals across the country is five percent of their full capacity,” Tamimi said, noting the health system has the ability to absorb more COVID-19 cases.

“The ministry started to increase the number of beds in various provinces,” he added.

The Iraqi authorities imposed a week-long curfew from May 31 to June 6 after a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The committee ordered the security forces to tighten the health restrictions through preventing all forms of gatherings that contribute to the spread of the virus.

China has been helping Iraq fight the COVID-19 pandemic, through enhancing Iraq’s capability of containing the spread of the contagious disease.

From March 7 to April 26, a Chinese team of seven medical experts spent 50 days in Iraq to help contain the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad.

Since March 7, China has sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq.


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Science & Technology

Google tackling misinformation on COVID-19



Global tech giant, Google, on Monday said it was ensuring that credible sources of information were elevated on ‘search engine’ to tackle misinformation on Corona Virus (COVID 19).

Google UK Public Policy Manager, Alina Dimofte, made this known during a virtual meeting on Google Meet with the theme ‘Trust, Safety, COVID-19 and the Fight Against Misinformation’.

Dimofte said Google was supporting these efforts by ensuring that information from credible sources were elevated on search while misleading information across all its products were detected and removed to prevent a potential spread.

She said that as the world fights against the spread of COVID-19, interest in the disease continued to rise around the world, giving rise to misinformation.

Açcording to her, many organisations and individuals are lending their support to the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments around the world to help curb the spread of false information about the disease online.

‘’For every fake news article, video or social media post published, there are credible ones available to debunk their claims and present the right information.

‘’Google is supporting these efforts by ensuring that information from credible sources is elevated on Search while misleading information across all its products is detected and removed to prevent a potential spread.

‘’On YouTube, where many conspiracy theorists and misinformation merchants target to share videos with false information about COVID-19, all videos about the disease that violate the platform’s community guidelines, including those that encourage dangerous cures and health risks, are immediately taken down,’’she said.

According to her, Google is also preventing advertisements with harmful medical claims.

She said that with the exception of COVID-19-related advertisements from government and NGOs, healthcare providers, and other authorities, “Google does not allow advertisements that capitalize on sensitive situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.”

She said that there were also community guidelines that tackled volatile content and also prohibited dangerous content even before the COVID-19.

Dimofte said that with the lockdown and working remotely, there was a huge increase in cyber security threat leveraging on the COVID-19 which Google had identified and helped different government to tackle.

Açcording to her, Google has been 99.9 per cent successful in stalling the cyber security threat.

She said to spread the right information, in addition to the combined efforts to ensure the prioritization of credible information, government and NGOs across the world launched COVID-19 campaigns.

The campaign, aimed at creating awareness on physical distancing included Stay Home, Stay Safe, Flatten The Curve, Stay Home, Save Lives, Take Responsibility, among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Google’s other means of spreading the right information around COVID-19 include Google Maps and Google News Initiative.


Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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1st LD: UK COVID-19 deaths top 39,000 as another 111 patients die




Another 111 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Sunday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 39,045, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

Noting that 111 is the lowest daily death toll since lockdown began in March, Hancock said during the Downing Street daily press briefing that Britain is winning the battle against the novel coronavirus, but warned COVID-19 is “not done yet”.

As to testing, the secretary told reporters that the government now has a testing capacity of 206,444, as 128,437 tests were carried out in Britain on Sunday.


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