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COVID-19: NSE Ibadan fears prolonged lockdown may lead to retrenchment



Mr Abdulwasi Ajagbe, Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ibadan branch, on Monday expressed fears that the current situation if prolonged could lead to retrenchment of those in the engineering sector.

Ajagbe said this in Ibadan in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency .

He said  the lockdown had crippled the production sector of the economy and led to huge loss of revenue yet to be quantified. 

“My members are not exempted from the effects of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Engineers are involved in different services across various aspects of the economy; some work in the industry, some are lecturers in institutions, some are civil servants and some work in the Oil and Gas sector. 

“When you look at all these, with the lockdown, most industries have shut down production.

“So the prayer is for the lockdown not to be prolonged because without production the Industrialists will be looking at retrenching some staff, ” Ajagbe said.

He noted also that for his members who are lecturers, with the issue of ASUU strike, salary was not in view.

“And of course the civil servants are home too, they got the last month’s salary but who knows what will happen if the situation is extended. 

“Those in the Oil and Gas sector who are our members too will feel the heat as the price of global oil keeps crashing.

“But by and large across board, our members at the moment are affected. Though we are still hoping that the government’s effort at containing the spread will pay off.

“So that the effect will not be too much,” he said.

The NSE Chairman, also stated that some of their members were still providing essential services especially those that are in the power sector and in the broadcast Media. 

He said generally of all the four categories of engineering family which comprises, Engineers, Technologists, Technicians and Cast men, the latter was badly affected. 

Ajagbe said “Since most construction projects are shut down to ensure social distancing sites are deserted to contain the spread of the virus in line with government’s directive.

“The cast men are the worse hit by the situation as most of them work to get payment on a daily basis. 

“And so when construction works are closed, there is no way they can earn their daily living and this has ripple effects on their families at this time.”

Ajagbe stated that the amount of revenue loss due to the pandemic cannot be quantified, as it is huge.

“All those who are working on various projects are unable to do so now,” he said.

In a separate interview, the immediate past chairman of NSE Ibadan, Mr Adedamola Falade-Fatile,  said the lockdown had affected the growth environment and contributed to hundreds of millions of dollars being lost globally. 

He, however, expressed hope that the government would not have to extend the initial 14 days lockdown, so as not to ground the nation’s economy to a halt.

Edited By: I feyinwa Omowole/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore


Sri Lanka begins PCR tests for COVID-19 at int’l airport




Sri Lanka has begun PCR tests for COVID-19 at the country’s main Bandaranaike International Airport, in a bid to detect possible virus carriers and to prevent the virus from entering among the public, local media reported here Tuesday.

The decision to conduct the PCR tests was announced by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa when he met a special Task Force set up to fight the COVID-19, tourism officials and health authorities on Monday.

Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, quoted in local media said authorities had begun conducting the tests on all passengers being repatriated from overseas and depending on their results, they were being either diverted to the hospital or quarantine centers.

Sri Lanka‘s international airports remain closed for passenger arrivals and it is open only for those being repatriated from overseas, cargo and arrival of medical aid.

Ranatunga said the key objective of this initiative was to identify COVID-19 infected passengers without any further delay and minimize the risk of the virus spreading further within communities.

Sri Lanka has to date, detected over 1,600 positive COVID-19 patients since the first local patient was detected in March, out of which over 800 patients have recovered and been discharged. Eleven deaths have been reported, Health Ministry statistics showed.

In recent days, the number of patients spiked considerably as hundreds of local nationals who were repatriated from foreign countries tested positive for the virus while being under quarantine.

According to official data from the Tourism Ministry, nearly 10,000 migrant workers from 21 countries have been repatriated into the island country in recent weeks and they have been directed to quarantine centers. Another 20,000 are expected to return following a systematic repatriation process being followed by the authorities.


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COVID-19: Bayelsa records second death



Bayelsa government said it had recorded second death case of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) ravaging the world.

This was confirmed by Dr Jones Stow, Director of Public Health, State Ministry of Health in a statement made on Tuesday in Yenagoa.

Stow, also member of the State Task Force on COVID- 19, explained that the second death was a middle-aged man from Bayelsa.

“The patient was presented at one of the state public hospital a week ago, critically ill with signs suggestive of kidney disease.

“He was thus being managed as such and had some sessions of dialysis.

“Further clinical investigations revealed he also had signs suggestive of a possible COVID-19 infection. Samples were thus collected from him which returned positive for coronavirus.

“His test result was among the nine positive results announced by the NCDC for Bayelsa on May 31. He was still due for a final session of dialysis on Monday, June 1 but he passed away on the night of May 31.

“The decease has been buried by the COVID-19 Safe Burial Team witnessed by relatives and friends. May his soul rest in peace,” Stow explained.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the first death case in the state was a Military Personnel.

On total index case, Bayelsa has so far recorded 21 confirmed cases as announced by the NCDC.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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ICAO adopts new COVID-19 aviation recovery ‘Take Off’ guidelines to reconnect the world



The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has adopted a new report and recommendations aimed at restarting international air transport system and aligning its global recovery.

ICAO Council President, Mr Salvatore Sciacchitano, revealed this on the official tweeter handle of the organisation @icao.

According to the president, the COVID-19 report and guidelines were produced by the Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART).

He said the report and guidelines were developed through broad-based consultations with countries and regional organisations, and with important advice from the World Health Organisation.

He noted that the key aviation industry groups including; International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI World), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA).

“The world looked to the ICAO Council to provide the high-level guidance which governments and industry needed to begin restarting international air transport and recovering from COVID-19.

“We have answered this call today with the delivery of this report, and with its recommendations and Take-Off guidelines which will now align public and private sector actions and mitigations as we get the world flying again.

“Also, in full accordance with the latest and most prudent medical and traveller health advice available to us. The world needs aviation and aviation today is in great need of ICAO,” Sciacchitano said.

He said global cooperation through the organisation had helped countries to connect the world to their mutual benefit for over 75 years which as well now helping to reconnect the world.

He noted that solidarity among all countries and regions and industry sectors would be critical going forward, pointing out that ICAO was where to achieve the goal for global aviation.

CART Chairperson, Amb. Philippe Bertoux, noted that the CART guidelines were intended to inform, align and progress the national, regional, and industry-specific COVID-19 recovery roadmaps now being implemented, but not to replace them.

“These guidelines will facilitate convergence, mutual recognition and harmonisation of aviation COVID-19 related measures across the globe. They are intended to support the restart and recovery of global air travel in a safe, secure and sustainable way.

“In order to be effective, we need to take a layered and especially a risk-based approach. Measures will be implemented or removed as needed based on the wide ranging medical and other factors which will be at play,” Bertoux said.

Bertoux, who was also representative of France to the ICAO Council, said countries and operators needed autonomy and certainty as they took action to get the world flying again.

According to him, the CART guidelines are therefore designed to serve in both these capacities as a common reference, while remaining adaptable.

He said CART guidelines was a type of ‘living guidance’ which would be continuously updated based on latest risk assessments of the progress monitored to reconnect the world.

He said CART’s report contained a detailed situational analysis and key principles supported by a series of recommendations focused around objectives for public health, aviation safety and security, and aviation economic recovery.

He reinstated that the content was supplemented by the report’s special ‘Take Off’ document which contained guidelines for public health risk mitigation measures and four separate modules relating to airports, aircraft, crew, and air cargo.

ICAO Secretary-General, Dr Fang Liu, welcomed the CART’s accomplishment and highlighted that ICAO would continue to develop implementation packages to assist member states to restart the operations and recovery.

“Restoring public confidence in air travel has very broad benefits. This isn’t only about operational and economic viability of air transport sector, but of entire societies and regions having their economic livelihoods and stability restored.

The full CART Report is available as part of ICAO’s COVID-19 platform, and will be regularly reviewed and updated based on the latest data and information received from all stakeholders,’’ she said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 150,000 mark: Africa CDC




The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent rose to 152,442 as of Tuesday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC in its latest update issued on Tuesday revealed that the number of confirmed positive cases across the continent rose from 147,099 on Monday to 152,442 as of Tuesday afternoon, after registering 5,343 new cases over the past 24 hours.

The death toll from the pandemic also rose to 4,344 on Tuesday, after having registered 116 new deaths over the past 24 hours.

The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus has so far spread into 54 African countries, also disclosed that some 63,661 people who have been infected with COVID-19 have recovered across the continent so far.

Figures from the Africa CDC showed that amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, as well as Morocco.

The Africa CDC also 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 Western Africa region is the second most affected area both in terms of positive cases and the number of deaths, followed by the Southern Africa region, according to the Africa CDC.

The Africa CDC also indicated that Eastern and Central African regions are relatively the least affected areas in Africa.


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Iran’s confirmed COVID-19 cases hit 157,562 with 3,117 new cases recorded




Iran reported 3,117 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total confirmed novel coronavirus cases to 157,562 on Tuesday, according to official IRNA news agency.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the health ministry, said during his daily update on Tuesday that 64 people died overnight, taking the total fatalities over the virus to 7,942.

So far, 123,077 have recovered and 2,565 remain in critical condition, said Jahanpur.

According to the health spokesman, 975,936 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Iran as of Tuesday.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

Iran and China have offered mutual help in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

In mid-February, at the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Iran lit up the Tehran Azadi (Liberty) Tower to show its solidarity with China, and donated medical supplies to China.

China on Feb. 29 sent a five-member medical team to Iran for a month-long mission to help the country fight the pandemic.


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Post-COVID-19: Expert tasks parents on discipline



Mr Idowu Olanipekun, a development professional at the Centre for Development and Protection (CEDEP) in Ibadan, has urged parents to be disciplined in adjusting their way of life after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Olanipekun gave the advice in Ibadan on Tuesday while speaking on life after the COVID-19 against the background of the Global Day of Parents.

He stated that a downturn in the economy with effects on other facets of life would present herculean tasks in the management and resurgence of homes, businesses and religious centres

Olanipekun ,however, enjoined parents to remain resolute in stabilisation efforts in order to forestall a second wave of COVID-19 which might portend greater danger than the first.

” The key to general sustenance after this pandemic period is discipline.

“Imbibing all-round discipline as a tool of suppressing the sour experiences of COVID-19 pandemic period is a challenge that should be a weapon for curtailing the outbreak of a second wave starting from the home front by our parents.

“In other words, post COVID -19 parenting watchword should be discipline in consonance with every area of life,” he said.

The expert urged parents to guard how they spend their income as purchasing power would drop drastically before the economy would improve.

“Parents should be technical in drawing a scale of preference for their needs and wants upon which priorities are set.

“There shouldn’t be any room for extravagant spending even at the level of the children’s education.

“Reality of time should be allowed to lead us into the next economic phase of life,” he said.

Olanipekun also enjoined parents to teach and expose their children to all necessary medical tips against COVID-19.

He added that this should be in line with the Presidential Task Force guidelines on checking the spread of the pandemic such as hand washing, use of sanitisers as well as wearing of facemasks.

“Also, with the ease of lockdown, parents are expected to guide their children at the various worship centres and programmes if not excluding them completely from participating in religious activities to curb the resurgence of COVID -19.

“Everyone should inculcate the act of social and physical distancing, most especially as children will be attending classes on resumption of academic session, while limiting their exposures to other social activities,” he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)

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Kwara records 23 new cases of COVID-19



Kwara has  recorded 23 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the state to 111, with 37 discharged and one death.

Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman for Technical Committee on COVID-19, made this known in a statement in Ilorin on Tuesday.

“With this, the state now has a total of 111 confirmed cases, out of which 73 are active and 37 have recovered and discharged with one death.

“Regardless, the government warned people against letting down their guards as the level of threat of infection remains high across the country,” he said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)



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Namibia cancels 2020 Mining Expo due to COVID-19 outbreak




Namibia’s Chamber of Mines has decided to cancel the 2020 Mining Expo and Conference due to reported new infections in the country, an official said Tuesday.

In a press statement, Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Veston Malango said while the situation in Namibia appears to have stabilized, the chamber is under no illusion that the country is spared from possibility of further infections.

Previously the chamber had postponed the expo to September but Malango said that the postponed dates fall within the extended state of emergency which lapses around September with no certainty whether it will be further extended.

“It is thus not possible to predict the actions or decisions by government pertaining to large gatherings such as the mining expo in response to further COVID-19 developments,” Malango said.

He said the mining expo will be back in 2021.

Namibia has so far recorded 25 positive COVID-19 cases.


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Bayelsa records 2nd COVID-19-related death



Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force Committee, on Tuesday, announced the second death related to the global pandemic, in Bayelsa.

This is contaned in a statement issued to News Agency of Nigeria by the Director, Public Health, Dr Stow Jones.

NAN reports that the deceased was a middle-aged Bayelsa resident, who was presented at one of the public hospitals a week ago.

Jones said the deceased was critically ill with signs suggestive of kidney disease.

“He was thus been managed as such and had some sessions of dialysis.

“Further clinical investigations revealed he also had signs suggestive of a possible COVID- 19 infection.

“Samples were thus collected from him, which returned positive for COVID-19.

“His test result was among the nine positive results announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), for Bayelsa on May 31.

“He was still due for a final session of dialysis on monday June 1. He, however, passed away on the night of May 31,” Jones said.

The Director of Public Health added that the victim had been buried by the COVID-19 Safe Burial Team, as witnessed by his relatives and friends.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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