The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has urged the Federal Government to ignore calls by some Muslim leaders, requesting convergence for prayers during the Eid-el-fitr celebrations.
National Public Relations Officer of the Association Azeez Adeyemi made the call via a statement in Abeokuta on Friday.
Adeyemi said that the convergence of Muslims across the country at various prayer grounds at a time the country was battling to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic should not be allowed.
He also urged Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu to mobilise his men and arrest any group of individuals found observing the Eid-el-fitr prayer in a public places without observing federal government’s precautions.
“The alarming rate at which cases of COVID-19 are increasing is not only worrisome but also calls for a concerted effort by all Nigerians.
“If Nigeria must win the fight against the spread of Coronavirus, every Nigerian, irrespective of religious affiliations must be ready to make sacrifices.
“Part of this sacrifice is for Muslims to observe the Eid-el-fitr prayers at home to prevent further spread of Coronavirus in the country,” he said.
The NANS spokesman also appealed to the federal government not to yield to the agitations in some quarters for the reopening of Christian and Muslim centres, saying “Nigeria is not ripe enough for such risk,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Children’s Day: COVID-19 adversely affecting children’s education – Speaker
Ayuba, in statement by his Press Secretary, Mr Bulus Atang, felicitated with the children on the Day and called for prayers for an end to the pandemic.
“The task of leaving good foundation for the upcoming generation is an uphill one if this pandemic persists with prolong closure of schools.
“Parents and guardians should take the education of their children and wards seriously; engage them in acquiring other skills that will sustain their future living conditions,” he added.
The speaker applauded the youth programmes of the Federal and Plateau Governments which had given hope to upcoming generations of the country.
Ayuba stated that as youth, he was proud to identify with the children and called on them to be obedient, work hard and concentrate on the positive things of life.
He described children as the pride of any nation and assured that the ninth State Assembly would continue to play its legislative roles in ensuring that the child was well protected.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Thailand to create automation robots to assist doctors treating COVID-19 patients
Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) and the Institute of Field Robotics (FIBO) of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Thonburi will be creating four sets of automation robots to assist doctors at four eastern hospitals to facilitate treatment of patients with COVID-19.
Chit Laowattana, special advisor to EECO, said the office has allocated 8 million baht (250,783 U.S. dollars) to the production of the four sets of robots and will be donated in July to four hospitals in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
These robots will enable doctors to talk to patients without the need for face-to-face interaction. In addition, they can kill virus in the air and deliver food, medicine and medical supplies to patients, and allow patients to make video calls to doctors and nurses.
Chit said that the new robots would be equipped with 5G communication devices to enable them to support teleconferences, video recordings, and artificial intelligence application.
Social media usage in Germany increases strongly due to COVID-19: association
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.”
APEC senior officials hold virtual discussions over economic cooperation, open markets against COVID-19
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.
COVID-19: Association donates 300 face masks to FCDA
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 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.
“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.
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)
Merkel: Practical responsibility for COVID-19 steps lies increasingly with German states
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.”
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.
Thailand develops own bio-hazard suits during COVID-19 pandemic
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.
Spotlight: Chinese construction giant continues work in Egypt’s new administrative capital amid COVID-19
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.
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.”
Saudi Arabia registers 1,815 new COVID-19 cases
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.
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