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COVID-19: Israel tasks ECOWAS on investment in orphanages

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Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, has underscored the need for ECOWAS to invest in the development of orphanages, to promote children wellbeing in post Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ben-Shoshan, also Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, while donating food items to Darlez Care orphanage Home in Abuja.

The items, which included rice, beans, groundnut-oil, pasta and maize, were put together in collaboration with ChabadAid, MAG Tech System Ltd. Kings of the World and Brand Life Vision Foundation.

He said that the need to focus on children has become important because they are the future of every country, irrespective of their religious background as Muslims, Christians or Jews.

According to him, ECOWAS is suppose to look at this kind of operations and how children in need in each member country are part of the community in the fight against COVID-19.

Ben-Shoshan said, “We need to ensure efforts that we can, instead of fighting each other to create this kind of charity homes, not only during COVID-19 pandemic, but post pandemic era.

“To remember this kind of brotherhood; efforts to overcome COVID-19 and take it to another level, which means to fight climate change that affects the food, starvation, water and air we breathe.

“Fight climate change and prevent other virus we do not know from coming, this is not the last and it is not the first.

“So, we need to prepare ourselves to take efforts to these children and also think about them.

“Whenever we are about to fight ourselves, instead let us use our resources and our offering to do good things, in order to give a better world to these kinds of children.”

He expressed appreciation to the management of the orphanage, saying he feels glad to see orphans well catered for by amazing people.

Receiving the items, Sen. Eze Ajoku, Managing Director and Founder of the orphanage, expressed appreciation to the Ambassador, saying he was the first visitor to the place since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ajoku, also a former Senator representing Imo-East, said that preventive measures were observed to guard against spread of the virus by keeping people from interacting with the children.

Ajoku said, “These are children who for one reason or the other their parents could not take responsibilities for them.

“We do this as a charity to give back to the society; orphanages in Nigeria are not funded by the government.

“We started this operation in 2015 and have not received one naira as support from the government, so we rely on donations and what we can afford ourselves to sustain our operations.”

Ajoku, who is President of the Coalition of Orphanages and Children Homes in Nigeria, said that they were 14 inmates, 4 Nannies, 1 Security operative and 1 driver, saying 15-children were already adopted.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

Fortune Abang: 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: Anambra, Delta hold talks to check movement on Niger Bridge

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The Anambra and Delta Governments are currently holding talks to check the influx of people, seeking to cross the Niger Bridge in defiance of the presidential order restricting inter-state movements.

Mr C-Don Adinuba, Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Onitsha on Monday.

Adinuba was commenting on the barricade built on the bridge on the orders of Gov. Willie Obiano at the Asaba-end of the bridge.

The iron barricade was reportedly pulled down at the weekend by youths in Delta.

NAN learnt that the development necessitated a meeting where the two governments resolved to jointly police the Niger Bridge to curtail movement of ‘strange persons.’

“Top officials of both Delta and Anambra State Governments have met thrice today and will meet again tomorrow or so.

“The meeting is to conclude arrangements on how to check the influx of people, who defy the presidential order restricting inter-state movements as part of the far-reaching measures to check the spread of COVID-19,” Adinuba said.

According to him, the meetings have been held in convivial and brotherly manner.

“Subsequent meetings will follow the same trajectory of peace and solidarity as each party is quite committed to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic,” Adinuba said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Politics

INEC to redesign polling units to comply with COVID-19 regulations 

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Amidst COVID-19, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that Polling Units shall be redesigned by the Commission to ensure substantial compliance with the COVID-19 protocols established by health authorities.

INEC noted that, among other things, the redesign would emphasise social distancing, general hygienic conduct and enforcement of COVID-19 prevention protocols.

The commission disclosed this in a ‘Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, released on Monday.

The INEC chairman noted that on election day, the use of face masks shall be mandatory at Polling Units (PUs) and all election locations, stating that any voter without a face mask shall be turned away from the Polling Unit.

“However, the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) II in checking the Register of Voters may request removal of mask to prevent voter impersonation.

“There shall be a two-tier queuing system at the Polling Unit – one outside and the other in the voting area. Voters will be brought into the voting area periodically to prevent overcrowding.

“Tags and twines may be used to ensure crowd control and maintenance of

social distance.

“In order to accommodate additional activities in setting up the PU due to COVID-19, polls shall now commence

at 8.30 am and close at 2.30 pm.

“Anybody on the outer queue by 2.30 pm shall be allowed to vote, in line with

the Commission’s regulations.

“Prior to the commencement of polls, the Presiding Officer or Assistant Presiding Officer (VP) shall ensure that the contents of the Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) are read out loudly to voters and that the VCC Poster is pasted at the polling unit,” Yakubu said.

He stated that there should be periodic disinfection of chairs, tables and work areas, as well as adequate ventilation at the Polling Units.

“The Smart Card Readers (SCR) shall be cleaned with the prescribed disinfectant after each voter’s fingerprint is read.

“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other safety materials shall be provided for polling staff,” he said.

Yakubu added that at the close of polls, polling unit staff should ensure that materials were properly disinfected, carefully packaged and that used PPE were hygienically packaged or disposed of.

He explained that for purposes of collation of results after election the Commission would cluster Registration Area (RA) collation centres where feasible, in order to reduce exposure of people to the risk of COVID-19, speed up collation and reduce costs.

“In order to prevent overcrowding during collation, only one polling agent of a party on the ballot (or the candidate in person) for the election(s) shall be allowed into the collation hall,” he said.

On post-election activities, Yakubu stated that for reverse logistics, election staff must ensure that used, but reusable PPEs, were carefully packaged and sent to designated collection points.

“All post-election debriefings shall preferably be done electronically. Where face-to-face debriefings take place, the protocols for COVID-19 prevention shall be followed,” he said.

For pre-election activities, Yakubu stated that INEC should immediately embark on review of regulations, guidelines and manuals for elections in the light of changes to the electoral process that are imminent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Develop a Voter Code of Conduct (VCC) document detailing how voters are expected to act and conduct themselves at the polling units in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Review all Elections Information Kits to include COVID-19 information.

“Expand the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at all levels to include NCDC (or other requisite health bodies) and National Orientation Agency (NOA) on a temporary basis,” he said.

The INEC chairman mandated INEC state offices to work with local health authorities to do a health assessment of upcoming elections immediately.

“Conduct immediate discussion with  state governments where elections are to hold concerning lockdowns, curfews, etc, and how they might affect elections.

“Ensure that Pre-Election Preparation (PEP) activities shall be conducted online preferably.

“Where face-to-face activities become necessary, the protocols for COVID-19 prevention should be followed.

“Pilot changes to the electoral process in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic in a by-election prior to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in order to learn lessons where necessary,” he said.

Yakubu explained that INEC has also made provision for handling and delivery of election materials.

One of the provisions, according to him, was to reduce the number of contacts during distribution.

He said when Non-sensitive Materials were procured, they would be delivered directly by vendors to States or purchased by States requiring the materials and packaged according to the quantity required by Registration Area.

“This will reduce the level and number of contacts during distribution,” he said.

He said that production of Sensitive Materials shall commence early to give adequate time for proper packaging and delivery.

Yakubu added that to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the commission should reduce to a minimum interstate movement of staff, including ad hoc staff, for off-season and by-elections.

“The rule shall be that only shortfalls requested by the states are filled from outside the state. As much as possible, all election staff will be sourced in-state,” the INEC chairman said.

He added that in the establishment of voting points, in order to reduce the number of points in a Polling Unit to be monitored and controlled for COVID-19 compliance, the threshold for Voting Points shall be increased from 500/750 to 1,000/1,250.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Gov. Obiano’s aide commends monarch for distributing palliatives to PWDs

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Mr Chuks Ezewuzie, Special Adviser (Disability Matters) to Anambra Governor, Chief  Willie Obiano, has commended the Traditional Ruler of Ifitedunu, Igwe Emeka Ilouno, for gifts given to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

Ezewuzie gave the commendation during the presentation of COVID-19 palliatives by Ilouno in Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra on Monday.

The governor’s aide recalled that the governor recently constituted Disability Community COVID-19 Response Team to ensure that every class of persons in the state was not left out in the COVID-19 palliatives.

He said the gesture shown by the monarch would go a long way to reduce hardship associated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the lives of persons resident in Ifitedunu.

“These food items, bags of rice and tubers of yam from Ilouno would sustain the special persons well enough to be thankful to God. It is well appreciated,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other items distributed at the event, courtesy of World Ebony Network,  were face masks, farm inputs,  fertiliser, lime, maize, cucumber, watermelon seeds.

Ezewuzie appealed to other traditional rulers in the state to seek People Living With Disabilities in their communities and support them in order to give a meaning to their lives at this bad times.

He said that the monarch had remained in the forefront to support policies and programmes of the government, especially as it affected disabled persons.

Earlier, Ilouno said the step was taken in response to the need to help the disabled persons in the community to cushion the effect of coronavirus challenges.

He said that some individuals, as well as community efforts, helped to make the event a success.

The monarch reassured the group that his community would not relent in showing kindness to them at all times.

He encouraged the people to religiously observe preventive measures issued against the virus and advised the group to embark on subsistence farming to enable them equally cushion postCOVID-19 effects.

Ilouno said that he was confident that the Anambra government would successfully manage all COVID-19 cases in the state.

Some of the beneficiaries, Stanley Obi, Arinze Nwafor and Innocent Okafor, commended the traditional ruler for his kind gesture toward the group and assured him that they would observe the preventive measures.

Obi, who is the Co-ordinator of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in the state, said that life had never been easy for people living with disabilities.

He said that they would ever remain grateful to the monarch for his kind gesture to their members.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Foreign

Kenya’s COVID-19 tally rises to 1,286

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Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed 72 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 1,286.

Mercy Mwangangi, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the latest cases were detected from 2,711 samples, which were tested in the last 24 hours.

Mwangangi said that 70 of the latest patients are Kenyans, while the other two are foreigners from Uganda and Somalia respectively.

She said nine patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 392.

Mwangangi said one person died from the deadly respiratory disease, bringing the total number of fatalities to 52.

The East African nation has so far tested 61,971 from 20 national laboratories that are strategically located in critical areas across the country.

The Kenyan Government has developed several nutrition guidelines to keep populations healthy, banned movements in and out of the disease hotspots, suspended learning and banned international as well as domestic flights to help curtail the spread of the virus.

The government has also trained 11,000 health care workers and 60,000 community health workers across the country.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Plateau Reps,NNPC, donate money, ambulance to Plateau Govt.

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The Plateau Caucus at the National Assembly has donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Plateau Government as its contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of  Representatives, Ahmed Wase ,led the delegation that made the presentation on Monday at Government House, Jos.

Wase commended Gov. Simon Lalong for being the first to install  CCTVs at the state’s borders.

He also commended the efforts of Gov. Lalong toward curbing the scourge of the Coronavirus pandemic in the  state.

He prayed for more wisdom and guidance for the governor to steer the affairs of Plateau toward fast tracking its development.

The deputy speaker said that even though they were giving individual and constitutional responsibilities in interventions to stem the disease, it was still imperative for them to contribute as a group representing the different interests of the state at the National Assembly.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that while  on the visit, the members also presented a Toyota Hiace ambulance bus to the governor under the initiative of the the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Intervention on COVID-19 donated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Independent Petroleum Producers group.

NAN reports that the donation by the initiative also included two ventilators, 10,000 surgical face masks, 5,000 face masks and 2,000 hand gloves.

Lalong thanked all the members representing Plateau at the National Assembly for the gesture, describing it as laudable and worthy emulation.

He also acknowledged their contributions at their constitutional levels and their efforts to sensitise and enlighten their constituents on preventive measures against the disease.

He assured that their contribution to the Plateau government  COVID-19 trust fund would be put into good use, while appreciating their cooperation to ensure the well-being of Plateau people.

“We will also give you the necessary cooperation to discharge your duties at the National Assembly.

“We have inaugurated a research committee comprising of specialists in the field on alternative ways of addressing COVID-19 and other possible emergence of infectious diseases,” he said.

He said the state had  also established a palliative committee which was already distributing foodstuff  and other essentials to the indigents and vulnerable in the state.

The governor also said it had evacuated Quaranic Education Students (Almajiri),from Plateau to their home states as agreed by Northern Governors in order to protect them from the pandemic, saying they are being tested for the disease before taking to their homes.

He thanked the Members for ensuring Plateau benefited from the intervention of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Intervention, saying he was optimistic that the state through their influence would benefit from more Federal Government interventions.

He said business Mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote through his foundation was establishing a 100 bed capacity isolation center in Shendam Local Government Area.

NAN reports that other members of the delegation were Sen. Hezekiah Dimka representing Plateau Central, Sen Istifanus Gyang representing Plateau North, while the representatives in attendance were Mr Haruna Maitala representing Jos North and Komsol Longgap representing Mikang/Qu’anpan/Shendam constituency among others.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Publisher lauds FG planned stimulus package for media, creative industry

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A leading Online Publisher, Mr Femi Soneye, has commended Federal Government for the stimulus package being initiated to cushion effects of COVID-19 on Nigerian media and the creative industry.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also received a pat on the back for the expected intervention.

Soneye, Publisher and CEO of Persecondnews.com, gave the commendation in Abeokuta on Monday while presenting COVID-19 palliatives to Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun State Council at Press Centre -“Iwe Irohin House’’.

“A recent bold step to give a stimulus package to the media and creative industry by the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is cheery news and a timely intervention amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“We urge the minister to pursue this agenda to a logical conclusion,’’ said Soneye, who was represented by Mr Ayodele Akinsola, Persecondnews Managing Editor.

Describing the media as one of the tripod stands on which the nation’s democracy rests, thrives and flourishes, he urged journalists not to spare any effort in holding public officials accountable to the people.

He, however, pointed out that only accurate and factual reports could hold public officials accountable to the citizens.

“Journalists, as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm after the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, are empowered by Section 22 of Chapter two of the 1999 Constitution.

“Without free press and free speech democracy is endangered. I recall with nostalgia our efforts and struggles on a heroic scale to fight the military to a standstill and return the country to constitutional democracy in 1999 have not been adequately rewarded and reciprocated by the political class with some of them scandalously harassing, brutalizing and  clamping down on the media,’’ Soneye said.

Still expounding the role of the media, the publisher said: “The media, in spite of its imperfections like democracy, are indispensable to the nation’s fledgling democracy of about 21 years and to the Nigeria Project.’’

On the state of the Nigerian media, Soneye noted that the parlous state of the economy had caused thousands of journalists to lose their jobs due to permanent shutdown of their organizations while others are being owed one or two years salaries.

“I wish, therefore, to make a passionate appeal to those in authority at all levels – federal, state and local government – to patronize the media – newspapers, magazines, online publications, radio and television stations – to stay afloat.’’

On the COVID-19 pandemic, Soneye commended the media for their excellent coverage of the health crisis across the country in spite of the attendant risks to the lives and urged them to continue to join forces with the government to rout the virus.

“As experts and WHO have said, it is unlikely for the virus to go away soon. There is, therefore, the need for us as journalists to be COVID-19 protocol-compliant — stay safe, play safe, observe physical distancing, use your face mask, wash your hands and use sanitizers.’’

He also challenged journalists to report research findings and investigations on COVID-19 therapeutics, especially the local cure – herbal or orthodox –, to defeat the virus.

Mr Wale Oluokun, Secretary, Ogun NUJ Caretaker Committee, who received the items on behalf of the chairperson, Mrs Omolola Adeyinka, thanked Persecondnews for the gesture which he described as first of its kind.

“It is quite novel and welcoming that journalists can look back and give back to the profession; it is equally commendable.

“Apart from the gifts, a strong message has been passed to us to take the fight against coronavirus seriously,’’ he said.

 Among the officers present at the presentation were Mr Lekan Yinusa (Sweet FM) and Mr Bidemi Bello (Channels TV), Anthony Gandonu and Bunmi Adigun.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: NAF produces ventilators to support fight against pandemic

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The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has produced locally-made ventilators as its contribution to national efforts towards fighting the novel coronavirus disease.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal (AM) Sadique Abubakar, announced this during Eid-el-Fitri lunch with troops of the Air Component of “Operation Lafiya Dole” at the Airforce Base in Maiduguri on Monday.

Abubakar said that the locally-made ventilator was a product of research development programme by the Nigerian Airforce in partnership with Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

He said that the ventilators would be commissioned on May 27.

He explained that as part of the measures to combat the pandemic, NAF had distributed reusable face mask to all its personnel while PPE and ventilators were provided at the Nigerian Airforce Hospitals in Maiduguri.

“I wish to remind us of the need to maintain continues vigilance and ensure strict adherence to necessary guidelines and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19,’’ he said.

The CAS said that despite the challenges of competing resources, occasioned by the COVID-19 induced lockdown, NAF has maintained the tempo of its operations, not only in the North East, but other parts of the country.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: CAN seeks roundtable over reopening of churches, mosques in Ogun

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The Ogun Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for a meeting between leaders of religious groups and the state government to discuss modalities for the reopening of worship centres.

The Chairman of the state chapter of CAN, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, made the call in Abeokuta on Monday.

Akin-Akinsanya said the meeting had become necessary to sustain the gains recorded by the state in its ongoing efforts at flattening the curve of the spread of the coronavirus.

The clergy’s call is coming on the heels of the planned expansion of the current phase of the eased lockdown in the state necessitated by the coronavurus pandemic.

Gov. Dapo Abiodun had on Friday, announced that the current phase of the eased lockdown would terminate on Sunday.

The governor also said that the second phase, which would commence on June 1, would be accompanied with a further ease of the lockdown and expansion of the windows of relaxation.

Akin-Akinsanya in a statement, suggested a meeting with the government to analyse the achievements and challenges posed by the pandemic in the state “with a reflection of the realities of the days going forward”.

“We appreciate the positive strides and successes of the state government, particularly during this trying period of the global pandemic.

“The Ogun chapter of the CAN profoundly appreciates the great efforts and laudable initiatives taken by our state government to combat the negative impacts of the ongoing plague.

“The technological and technical innovations deployed to date by the government have been largely responsible for the curb of the expected surge in Ogun; given that the state is Nigeria’s index case.

“The government really deserves commendation for the management of the situation in spite of sharing technically non-delineated border towns with the Lagos State which is the national epicentre of this dreaded pandemic.

“We, therefore, applaud the systematic and carefully orchestrated steps taken by our government to minimise the deleterious effects of the COVID-19.

“We also appreciate the various palliatives provided by the state government for the body of Christ and the general public at large which had undoubtedly provided succour to the masses,” he said.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19: Gombe to install, inaugurate testing centre on Wednesday

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The Gombe Government is to install and inaugurate a Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing centre on Wednesday, a task force official has said.

Prof. Idris Mohammed, Chairman of the state task force on the COVID-19, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Gombe, while giving an  update on the pandemic in the state.

He said that the testing machine would be arriving Gombe on Tuesday, May 26, while officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)  would be arriving the state on Wednesday May 27, to install and inaugurate it.

According to him, soon after the installation of the machine, testing of suspected cases will begin.

He stated that the presence of the testing centre in the state would ease the difficulties of traveling with samples for test to other states.

Mohammed noted that so far 44 out of the 64 almajiri pupils, who were quarantined in Amada, had tested negative and reunited with their families.

The chairman said they were still awaiting the remaining 20 results of the almajiri pupils who were quarantined.

He said the state was hoping they returned negative adding that as soon as the results were  out they would also be reunited with their families.

According to him, there are only 15 persons in the isolation centres, five at the Specialist Hospital and the remaining 10 at the Kwadon Isolation Centre in Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: Army Ordnance Corps distribute palliatives to host community

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The Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps on Monday distributed palliatives to the most vulnerable residents of Ojuoluwa Empire Community in Surulere Local Government Area in Lagos state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that items given to cushion the effect of the lock down occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic include rice, beans, garri, groundnut oil and seasonings.

Others are noodles, salt and two packs of 500g sugar each.

Maj.-Gen. O.A. Akintade, the Commander, Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps, said that Ojuoluwa community was chosen for palliative because of their relationship.

Akintade was represented at the occasion by Brig.- Gen. Effefiong Ekpenyong, Director, Land Service Administration.

He said that the organisation understood the effect COVID -19 pandemic had on the people and decided to reach out to the host communities.

“We are aware of what the current scourge across the world has done, a lot of people are suffering and are feeling the impact of COVID-19 seriously.

“This particular community is our neighbour and we have excellent relationship over the years, it is on that premise that we decided to identify with it,” he said.

On COVID-19, the commander urged the community to keep adhering to measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

“The Presidential Task Force has rolled out about seven protocols for everybody to adhere, which include social or physical distancing, washing of hands and the use of sanitisers.

“I call on the community to religiously implement all these protocols for their safety,” he said.

Mr Olukayode Adeyemi, Special Adviser, Community Affairs, Surulere Local Government appreciated the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai for reaching out to ward F1.

Adeyemi also commended the Army Ordnance Corps for giving out the palliatives in an orderly manner.

According to him, face mask and tags were given to beneficiaries a day before the palliatives were distributed.

Also, Chief Oladunjoye Davies, the Baale of the community said he was grateful that such hand of friendship was extended to his community.

“I am grateful to the COAS, the Commandant of the Ordnance Corps and the officers for bringing this gesture to my community, God will continue to bless them,” Davies said.

He also said that the community had been adhering to the measures rolled out by the government.

Iyabode Davies, one of the beneficiary said that she was grateful to the Army for reaching out to the community.

“I am overwhelmed with these gesture, may God continue to bless Buratai and the Nigerian Army because whatever it does, it is excellent,” she said.

Kofo Olalere, a pregnant woman who also received the palliative, thanked the army for reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Kenya’s COVID-19 tally rises to 1,286

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Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed 72 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 1,286.

Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the latest cases were detected from 2,711 samples which were tested in the last 24 hours.

Mwangangi said that 70 of the latest patients are Kenyans, while the other two are foreigners from Uganda and Somalia respectively.

She said nine patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 392.

Mwangangi said one person died from the deadly respiratory disease, bringing the total number of fatalities to 52.

The east African nation has so far tested 61,971 from 20 national laboratories that are strategically located in critical areas across the country.

The Kenyan government has developed several nutrition guidelines to keep populations healthy, banned movements in and out of the disease hotspots, suspended learning and banned international and domestic flights to help contain the spread of the virus.

The government has also trained 11,000 health care workers and 60,000 community health workers across the country.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Singapore reports 344 new COVID-19 cases

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 344 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 31,960.

Of the new cases, 99 percent were linked to known clusters, while the rest were pending contact tracing.

A total of 862 more COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 15,738 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Eid-el-Fitri: Mararaba residents celebrate amidst COVID-19 pandemic 

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Muslims in Mararaba celebrated the end of  Ramadan fast with enthusiasm, as they besieged relaxation centres inspite of the physical distancing directive of government, to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some of them who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Monday, said that the month of Ramadan, also known as Islam’s third pillar of faith,  is a month of mercy, and Muslims were expected to fast, give charity and be mindful of their way of life.

Nofisat Osho, a resident of Mararaba, said that although this year’s Ramadan fast was a bit different due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic, she was able complete the fast with the help of Allah.

“It wasn’t easy carrying out the fast and it felt different because of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world for months now.

“I missed five days because I was “un-pure” during the fasting period, but I give thanks to Allah for the completion of the month of Ramadan.

“Pregnant women, women on their monthly periods, the sick and children are the only people allowed to miss the fast.

Hassan Jubril, also a faithful, said Allah’s mercy and peace was sought for by Muslims all over the world during the month of Ramadan and in his opinion, the month of Ramadan was the best month of the year.

Jubril said that he spent his time praying in the mosque and giving  charity to the poor and needy, as he expects the almighty Allah to reach out to them too.

Aisha Musa, also a resident of Mararaba, said she was really happy for witnessing the end of the Ramadan inspite of the Coronavirus pandemic,  as she vehemently offered her prayers to Allah with great expectations.

“I am really happy that the Ramadan has come and gone regardless of the pandemic, it has really been smooth and drawn me closer to Allah,” she added.

Fatima Abdullahi, another believer, said she missed the fast for nine days but hopes to complete the fast after the festive period.

“Although I missed the fast for nine days, Ramadan is really a month of dedication and must be obeyed, I hope to complete the fast after the Sallah (Muslim festival),” she said.

Hamza Yusuf, a Muslim faithful, who was visiting in Mararaba, said that that Ramadan was indeed a beautiful month for all Muslims and the period in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

“Ramadan is a beautiful month for all Muslims around in the world. It is the third pillar of Islam.

Yusuf, however, added that the pandemic restricted them from many things like going to the mosque to pray and attending lectures, but they had to obey government directives on physical distancing  and stayed at home to pray.

“Due to this current situation, we had to stay home and stay safe because of this COVID -19 pandemic.

“Islam admonishes us to stay home if there is an outbreak of disease.

“However, one of the things we missed due to this lockdown is going to the masjid (mosque) and some Islamic lectures we normally attend.

“But we have stayed at home, and also prayed for this pandemic to end,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the 30 days fast has its unique significance.

The first 10 days of the fast is for seeking the forgiveness of Allah, the second 10 days is for the blessings of Allah and the last 10 days is for freedom.

The search for the night of majesty (Lailatul Qadri) is believed that prayers are answered quickly and the heavens are opened as requests are answered by Allah.

The Muslim faithful are  expected to fast for the whole month (29-30) days.

The fast, however, begins at the sighting  of the moon and ends at the sighting of the moon, it is called the month of mercy.

The moon indicates the beginning of a new month.

Muslims are expected to practice good habits, reach out to the needy, read and assimilate the Quran, so as to continue in good deeds after the fast.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)

 

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General news

COVID-19: NRC working out guidelines of operations to contain spread

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC)  is working  out new guidelines of operations  to help to contain the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Director  of Operations of NRC, Mr Niyi Alli,  made the disclosure  in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Monday.

“We are working out modalities on how to operate because train is the largest means of transportation in commuting people from one state to another.

Alli, however, said that train operations nationwide would not restart  until  lifting of the ban on interstate travel.

“Although the corporation has lost much finances,  the safety of our customers remain paramount,” he said.

NAN reports that  there has been  ban on interstate travels  since May 4, in an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

“We  cannot commence Mass Transit Train Service until interstate travel ban is lifted.

“We have been receiving calls and messages from our esteemed customers to commence operations but we cannot flout  the order banning  on interstate travels.

“The Federal Government is our employer; we have to help to contain the spread of this pandemic ravaging the world,” he said.

Alli appealed  to commuters to be patient until the  lifting of the ban on interstate travel.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Foreign

Yemeni gov’t confirms 11 new COVID-19 cases, 233 in total 

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The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in the Yemeni provinces controlled by the government has increased to 233 as health authorities confirmed 11 new cases on Monday.

According to a brief statement released by the country’s Health Ministry, “during the past 24 hours, 11 new cases were officially recorded in three provinces controlled by the government.”

The war-torn Arab country recorded also two more deaths among the people being treated for COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 44 in the Yemeni areas under the control of the government.

The pro-government health authorities said that the number of recoveries has increased 10 since the outbreak of coronavirus on April 10.

The Yemeni government has taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including imposing a partial overnight curfew in Aden and other major cities under its control.

The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Online child sexual abuse in Philippines triple during COVID-19 lockdown

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The Philippine justice department on Monday reported a steep upswing in online child sexual abuse cases while the country was under lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Citing data by a private organization National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Cybercrime said 279,166 child sexual abuse cases have been reported from March 1 to May 24 this year, compared to 76,561 cases over the same period in 2019.

The cases of internet-based sexual exploitation of children this year was an increase of 264 percent, the DOJ added.

“The aforesaid increase is attributable to the fact that during the enhanced community quarantine, strict home quarantine is observed in all households, and internet usage surges as people stay home,” the DOJ said in a statement.

The Philippines has been under lockdown since mid-March due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.

The DOJ blamed the increase in online sexual abuse on the failure of internet service providers (ISPs) or telecommunication companies to remove access to forms of online sexual exploitation of children.

Philippine Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete stressed the need for internet service providers to install available technology, program, or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

ADB approves 20 mln USD loan to support Laos’ emergency response to COVID-19

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved on Monday a 20-million-U.S.-dollar loan to support Laos’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Monday.

The loan, as additional financing to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Health Security Project, will assist the Lao Ministry of Health in procuring personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment, testing kits, medical devices, and ambulances.

It will also help the Lao government provide supplies and training to frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, lab testing, and clinical care for COVID-19 patients. It will also cover the government’s costs for contact tracing, risk communications, and other interventions.

“The additional financing will boost the resources and capacity of the Lao PDR’s health system to address the impacts of the pandemic,” the KPL quoted ADB Health Specialist Ye Xu as saying in a press release.

“The Lao PDR has been managing the outbreak relatively well, thanks to improved communicable disease surveillance and response capacity over the last decade. It still needs to maintain maximum preparedness and strengthen the health care service system to be able to respond to any resurgence of COVID-19,” said the health specialist.

As of Monday, Laos reported 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with evidence of limited local transmission.

The country is highly vulnerable, as the outbreak in the region forces many migrant workers to return from heavily affected neighboring countries. The health system, with limited medical personnel, supplies, and equipment, could be overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the virus, said the KPL report.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Maldives to draft responding policy as COVID-19 cases rise to 1,395

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The government of the Maldives said it will draft a responding policy as the country’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1,395, local media reported here Monday.

Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen was quoted in state-owned Public Service media saying that a policy is being formulated in consultation with healthcare workers on how to govern the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Ameen said the experiences of the lockdown enforced on the capital region of Greater Male since April 15 will influence policy. The policy will include regulations on opening hours of private health operators as well as the establishment of a medical response team to evaluate patients before they are admitted to the hospital.

The COVID-19 has strained the healthcare system of the Maldives, Ameen said, emphasizing the need for decentralization. The government plans to create tertiary hospitals in five regions of the island as part of a long-term plan to provide trained healthcare workers to all regions.

These new hospitals will be equipped with laboratories, x-ray rooms, and ultrasound scanning facilities, with a total of 19 OPD consultation rooms, six private rooms, three ICU beds, three NICU beds, two operation theatres, and eight wards with twelve beds each.

Meanwhile, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said 24 additional COVID-19 cases were recorded as of 4:30 p.m. local time on Thursday including four Maldivians, 18 Bangladeshis and two Indians.

A total of 144 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the Maldives with four deaths reported so far.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID-19: WHO advises on healthy diets

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Eating healthy diet is important during the COVID-19 pandemic as food and drink can affect the body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO said this in a statement on Monday from Geneva.

It said that no food or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, adding that healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems.

“Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer,” it said.

WHO said that for babies, a healthy diet means exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, with the introduction of nutritious and safe foods to complement breastmilk from six months to two years and beyond.

“For young children, a healthy and balanced diet is essential for growth and development. For older people, it can help to ensure healthier and more active lives,” it said.

The health agency gave tips for maintaining a healthy diet, stressing that consumption of variety of food, including fruits and vegetables was nutritious.

“Every day, eat a mix of wholegrains like wheat, maize and rice, legumes like lentils and beans, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, with some foods from animal sources like meat, fish, eggs and milk.

“Choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer.

“For snacks, choose raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and unsalted nuts,” it said.

It advised that salt intake should be reduced, adding that it should be limited to five grammes, equivalent to a teaspoon a day.

WHO advised that moderate amounts of fats and oils should be eaten, saying that replace butter, ghee and lard with healthier fats like olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil when cooking.

“Choose white meats like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat; trim meat of visible fat and limit the consumption of processed meats.

“Select low-fat or reduced-fat versions of milk and dairy products; and avoid processed, baked and fried foods that contain industrially produced trans-fat.

“Try steaming or boiling instead of frying food when cooking,” it said.

WHO added that intake of sweets and sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices, liquid and powder concentrates, flavoured water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and flavoured milk drinks should be limited.

“Choose fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate. When other dessert options are chosen, ensure that they are low in sugar and consume small portions.

“Avoid giving sugary foods to children. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods given to children under two years of age, and should be limited beyond that age,” it said.

The health agency advised that people should stay hydrated by drinking enough water, adding that good hydration was crucial for optimal health.

“Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is a simple way to limit your intake of sugar and excess calories,” it said.

It advised people to avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use, stressing that alcohol was not part of healthy diet.

“Drinking alcohol does not protect against COVID-19 and can be dangerous,” it warned.

WHO maintained that frequent or excessive alcohol consumption increases immediate risk of injury, as well as causing longer-term effects like liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness.

“There is no safe level of alcohol consumption,” it said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 110,000: Africa CDC

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 111,348 as the death toll from the ongoing pandemic surged to 3,348 as of Monday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC, in its latest continental situation update report issued on Monday, showed that some 44,630 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Monday afternoon.

Figures from the Africa CDC also showed that amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa with 22,583 confirmed cases, Egypt with 17,265 confirmed cases, Algeria with 8,306 confirmed cases, and Nigeria with 7,839 confirmed cases.

The Africa CDC said that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

The continental disease control and prevention agency added that the COVID-19 pandemic had spread across all 54 African countries.

(XINHUA)

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