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COVID-19: Make wearing of facemasks mandatory for residents, NOA urges Adamawa govt.

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The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Adamawa has appealed to the state government to make the wearing of facemasks in public mandatory for the people of the state.
The state acting Director of the agency, Mohammed Gabdo, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Yola on Friday that any person caught not using facemasks should be punished.
Gabdo also urged the state government to provide free facemasks for the residents to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The NOA director said that this would help government to save the cost of treating those who might contract the virus as a result of not using facemasks.
“I am appealing to government to provide free facemasks for everyone entering public places, especially places of worship and markets.
“This will serve as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19,’’ he said.
Gabdo commended the state government for lifting the ban placed on religious gatherings in the state, thus enabling worshippers hold their services.
He, however, enjoined religious leaders and their followers to abide by all the preventive measures issued by the government and health professionals, especially the use of facemasks and maintaining regular hand washing.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

Ibrahim Kado: 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

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Social media usage in Germany increases strongly due to COVID-19: association

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The usage of social media platforms by German citizens has increased strongly due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey published by the German digital association Bitkom on Wednesday.

“In times of widespread contact restrictions, social media help people stay in touch with friends and family, follow public events and find entertainment and distraction,” said Bernhard Rohleder, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bitkom, adding that “social distancing becomes more bearable with social media.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Germany, 75 percent of Germans used platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Xing and Twitter “more intensively.”

Almost two-thirds of German citizens used social networks for news, according to the survey conducted on around 1,000 German citizens above the age of 16 in April.

The use of messenger services also increased in recent weeks since the outbreak of the pandemic. Some two-thirds of Germans wrote messages more frequently while almost every second person also increasingly conducted video calls via services such as Whatsapp, Threema and Telegram.

Earlier this month, a survey published by Verivox showed that the coronavirus lockdown in Germany had boosted digitalization, particularly among younger Germans.

The survey found that 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in Germany used video phone calls for the very first time during the coronavirus crisis, while 20 percent had never used a webcam before.

“The use of digital services in Germany is expandable in all age groups,” said Eugen Ensinger, Verivox telecommunications expert. “This is particularly surprising among the younger generation, who are said to be living a completely digitalized everyday life.”

(XINHUA)

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APEC senior officials hold virtual discussions over economic cooperation, open markets against COVID-19

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Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies held a virtual meeting Wednesday to discuss economic cooperation, open markets to counter the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hairil Yahri Yaacob, a senior official from Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry who chaired the meeting, urged participating economies to prioritize the undisputed flow of essential goods and services across the region.

The official said this was key to ensuring participating economies were able to rebound following the wide-ranging economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Necessary lockdowns and social distancing have been or are still in place region-wide to keep the pandemic from spreading, but the resulting economic slowdown has the potential to cause long-term harm to the lives and livelihoods of millions more,” he said.

He called the members to exchange views, review their response to the crisis and formulate a possible coordinated approach to collecting and sharing information on policies and measures regarding COVID-19 and its economic effects.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific, with 21 members.

(XINHUA)

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COVID-19: Association donates 300 face masks to FCDA

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The National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America (NANNNA) on Wednesday donated 300 face masks to the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

Mr Martin Eyube, leader of NANNNA, said that the gesture was to express members’ care and support to their country of origin and to remind Nigerians that Nigeria nurses abroad were still part of the family at home.

“These nurses here are trained and registered in Nigeria, but they are already practising in the North American Continent in USA, Mexico, Brazil and Canada.

“The idea behind this donation is to support the healthcare system in Nigeria, we have about 300 face masks to support and contribute our own quota.

“The main aim of this initiative is to remind the entire Nigeria community that the nurses home and abroad are still nurses for Nigeria.

“This gesture is a way of reaching out and build a robust relationship with the practising nurses here in Nigeria,” he said.

Receiving the items, the acting Secretary of the HHSS, Dr Mohammed Kawu, appreciated the gesture, noting that the donation was a plus on the side of the association.

Kawu, who was represented by the the Director, Nursing Services, FCT Hospital Management Board, Mrs Grace Eleri, said that HHSS had received numerous donations from different NGOs as support to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“This kind of presentation has been witnessed in other states, we are really glad to have you here in FCT to donate this item in the fight  against COVID-19.

“The health workers will use this protective shields to guide against the spread of the virus. They are in the war front, it is a battle field, they volunteer to be part of the COVID-19 story in order to care for this nation,” Kawu said.

Mrs Grace Musa-Leo, Director of the Nursing Department, FCTA, appreciated the association, saying that members have really put in their best to curtail the spread of the novel  Coronavirus pandemic.

She prayed for God’s blessing and sustainability upon the association, adding that the donation was the beginning of  better things that would enhance collaboration with nurses in Nigeria.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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Merkel: Practical responsibility for COVID-19 steps lies increasingly with German states

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Following her meeting with the minister presidents of eastern Germany’s 16 states, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that the states could make “independent decisions” in light of regional coronavirus infection levels.

In recent days, an agreement has been reached on a “common protection framework” that remains valid, said Merkel. The minimum distance rule of 1.5 meters and the obligation to wear face masks on public transport, for example, continue to apply.

“We are still at the beginning of the pandemic, but we have gained more control,” said Merkel, warning that eventual local outbreaks in Germany would show “how quickly the infection can develop differently again.”

Merkel stressed that an emergency mechanism, which is triggered if more than 50 new infections over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants are detected in a region, also continues to remain in force.

Germany’s federal government is closely following the situation and shares a common goal with the federal states, she said. Merkel recalled that the aim was to “contain the pandemic and to enable as much social and economic life as possible, in particular in culture and education.”

“We still have no vaccine, we have no medication,” said Merkel, thanking Germany’s citizens for “playing a crucial role” in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The number of Germans listed as infected with COVID-19 had fallen to around 16,500 by Wednesday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

The daily number of new infections has also continued to fall from the peak of more than 6,000 cases as only 362 new infections were registered on Wednesday by the RKI.

(XINHUA)

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Thailand develops own bio-hazard suits during COVID-19 pandemic

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Thailand is develop its own bio-hazard suits to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign imports of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as to create employment and business opportunities to local manufacturers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government pharmaceutical organization (GPO) together with the Textile Industry Development Institute and the Textile Federation of Thailand are producing 100,000 sets of “We Fight” edition Level 2 PPE suits, which will be ready for delivery in June and July, said Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr. Sopon Mekthon on Wednesday.

The Level 2 suits are made from polyester fabric with a waterproof coating, and can be washed and re-used up to 20 times.

The suits will be delivered to hospitals to reduce the cost of import and to support local manufacturers of medical equipment, said Sopon.

He said the level 2 suit protects medial staff from low to medium infection risk, enabling them to safely care for patients who do not need a respirator, as well as to collect samples and to screen patients.

The first batch of 44,000 suits are expected to be delivered by the end of May, each estimated at 500 baht (15.67 U.S. dollars).

“We (Thailand) will also be working towards creating our own ‘gold standard’ protective suits such as the Level bio-hazard suits soon,” said Sopon. “But as for now, we need to quickly fill up the demand in Level 2 PPE suits during the pandemic.”

Sopon who himself is a medical doctor, said that Level 2 PPE accounts for up to 80 percent of the protective gear used during the pandemic and Level 4 PPE is used only in cases of high risk.

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: Chinese construction giant continues work in Egypt’s new administrative capital amid COVID-19

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Despite challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a Chinese construction giant is continuing to push ahead with the huge Central Business District (CBD) project in Egypt’s new administrative capital.

At the CBD site, some 50 km east of Egypt’s capital of Cairo, Egyptian and Chinese engineers and workers are sparing no effort to advance construction, while actively implementing pandemic prevention measures.

Chinese companies in Egypt are taking strict precautionary measures to maintain the work momentum in different projects amid the COVID-19 outbreak,” Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang said during an online news conference held Thursday.

“All Chinese projects are progressing as usual in light of the continuous dialogue between the two countries for pushing bilateral ties forward,” he added.

Han Bing, minister counselor for economic and commercial affairs of the Chinese embassy in Cairo, said during the news conference, “Chinese companies have promoted the awareness of the workers about precautionary measures of the pandemic.”

China is aimed at boosting the work in the ongoing projects in Egypt,” Han said, adding that Chinese companies have taken strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including mandating wearing face masks, measuring workers’ temperatures, cleaning sites, and preventing workers from gathering in large groups.

Han said that no single COVID-19 case has been registered among the Egyptian or Chinese workers in the related companies.

He confirmed that the CBD construction work, which was officially started in May 2018 by CSCEC Egypt, a subsidiary of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), hasn’t stopped or been impacted amid the pandemic.

The project involves the construction of 20 towers by a 3000-strong team of workers, including the 385-meter-high giant Iconic Tower, which is expected to be the tallest tower in Africa upon completion.

Recently, the epidemic prevention working group of CSCEC held emergency training on how to respond to finding, reviewing, transferring, receiving, and quarantining suspected COVID-19 cases.

“The training session has further strengthened prevention and control efforts, and enhanced our emergency response capabilities,” said Wang Shaofeng, chairman of CSCEC Egypt and head of the epidemic prevention working group.

Egypt recorded on Tuesday 789 new coronavirus cases and 14 deaths, taking its nationwide cases to 18,756 and the death toll to 797.

CSCEC Egypt welcomed the arrival of 76 Chinese staff on May 8, which “planted new vitality to the construction and operation of the CBD project,” said Managing Director of CSCEC Egypt Chang Weicai.

The Iconic Tower’s base of about 18,500 cubic meters of concrete and 5,000 tons of reinforced iron bars was created in late February in a single 38-hour non-stop process, an unprecedented milestone in Egypt’s construction history.

A ceremony to mark the creation of the base was attended by Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, who described the project as “a miracle by all means.”

Ahmed al-Banna, project manager from Dar Al Handasa, the Egyptian designer and consultant of the project, reiterated that during the pandemic, CSCEC not only ensured the project’s continuous production, but also implemented anti-pandemic measures.

He praised CSCEC for its efforts during the current unprecedented period, adding “there is an inspiring story behind the work inside the site, including the supervisors, skillful carpenters and reinforced steel bar workers.”

(XINHUA)

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Saudi Arabia registers 1,815 new COVID-19 cases

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Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday the registration of 1,815 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 78,541 in the kingdom.

The Saudi health ministry also reported 14 more deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 425.

It added 2,572 more patients have recovered, and the tally of recoveries hit 51,022.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has announced the extending of tourist visas automatically for three months free of charge for those stranded in the kingdom whose visas expired during the period of suspension of international flights.

(XINHUA)

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1,740 new COVID-19 infections detected in Qatar, totaling 48,947

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Qatar’s health ministry on Wednesday announced 1,740 new infections of the novel coronavirus, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 48,947.

“Some 1,439 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 13,283, while two died, raising the fatalities to 30,” the official Qatar News Agency reported, quoting a ministry statement.

Most of the new cases are of expatriate workers who have been subject to quarantine after they were found to have been in contact with confirmed cases.

A total of 201,180 people have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far in the country.

(XINHUA)

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Germany reports 362 new COVID-19 cases, total now at 179,364

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New infections with COVID-19 in Germany remained under last week’s average as the number of confirmed cases increased by 362 within one day to 179,364, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Wednesday.

According to the RKI, the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in Germany increased by 47 to 8,349 on Wednesday, resulting in a fatality rate of around 4.7 percent in Germany.

The number of people currently infected with COVID-10 in Germany continued to decline and fell to around 16,500 on Wednesday as the estimated number of people in Germany who had already recovered from COVID-19 increased by around 800 within one day to 162,800, according to the RKI.

The reproduction rate of COVID-19 in Germany based on a moving four-day-average also decreased and was currently estimated at 0.7, according to the daily situation report by the RKI for Tuesday.

Although new infections in Germany are slowing down, COVID-19 outbreaks continued to be reported in nursing homes and hospitals. The RKI stressed that people aged 70 years or older accounted for 86 percent of deaths but only 19 percent of all cases in Germany.

Germany’s federal government and states agreed on Tuesday to extend contact restrictions till June 29 but some states such as Thuringia and Saxony have already announced a “paradigm shift” from July 6 onwards.

People in Germany should now “learn to live with this situation,” said Thuringia’s Minister President Bodo Ramelow who announced to finally switch “from crisis mode to normal mode.”

(XINHUA)

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