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COVID-19 palliatives: Jonathan donates 2500 kgs of rice to Ebonyi

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has donated 500 bags of 5 kilogramme rice to Ebonyi government as palliatives to cushion the effects of COVID 19 on its people.

Dr Kenneth Ugbala, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), disclosed this after the State Executive Council meeting on Friday.

The SSG said that Jonathan made the donation in company of his wife, Patience.

Ugbala said that the rice donation was made in Abuja and would be used as palliatives to Ebonyi indigenes residing in FCT.

The SSG announced the appointment of Mr James Iroh as the Acting General Manager of Ebonyi Community and Social Development Agency (EBCSDA) with effect from June 1, 2020.

“The state governor had in October 2019, directed that the then suspended Chairman of the agency, Dr Peter Mbam, be allowed to complete his tenure which should expire on May 31, 2020.

“The state EXCO received a memo on this and resolved that with one week to such expiration, Mbam should cease to be the GM of the agency,” he said.

The SSG then announced Mbam’s subsequent appointment as a Special Assistant (SA) to the governor on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) alongside two other appointees.

“The other appointees include; Mr Chidiebere Egwu – SA on Youth Employment and Mr Mojibade Ekuma –SA on Finance.

“The EXCO also frowned at the attitude of some governor’s aides toward their duties and warned them to henceforth take such duties seriously,” he said.

Ugbala further announced that the state Deputy Governor was directed to inaugurate a five–man committee to investigate the alleged human rights abuse at Amasiri, Afikpo North Local Government Area of the state.

“The committee, which should unravel the remote and immediate causes of the incident, is given two weeks to execute the assignment as government will not condone the abuse of its citizens’ rights.

“The governor is also handling the probe into the death of an indigene of Afikpo South Local Government Area and the law must take its full course no matter the individuals involved,” he said.

Mr Uchenna Orji, Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, during the briefing, said that the commission of inquiry investigating the disbursement of the N2 billion agricultural loan would not witch-hunt anyone but ensure that due process was followed in such disbursement.

“The commission was constituted in 2019 but due to some exigencies, the state attorney general sought for amendment in its membership to enable it complete its duties,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the governor after the meeting, signed various laws presented by the state House of Assembly, including Ebonyi Public Procurement and Related Matters Law 009 of 2020.

The governor also signed the Ebonyi Internal Revenue Service for Collection and Administration of Revenue to Ebonyi and Local Government Area 010 of 2020, Ebonyi Harmonisation of Rates and Levies Collectable by Local Government Area Law 011 of 2020 among others.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo (NAN)

 

 

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Poland resumes domestic flights on Monday after COVID-19 hiatus

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Poland on Monday resumed domestic flights, with the inaugural flight after the coronavirus hiatus safely landed in the north-western city of Szczecin, Poland’s flagship airline LOT said.

As of Monday, LOT resumed flights from Warsaw to seven cities in the country as well as between Gdansk and Krakow, a total of 30 flights per day.

“Air travel resumes under a new sanitary regime to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Only passengers are allowed to enter terminals and all of them have their temperature measured.

“Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres from others and wearing face masks is obligatory, including on the plane.

On LOT flights only every second seat can be taken,’’ it noted.

Poland suspended passenger air travel in mid-March.

After that, only special flights to bring back citizens stranded abroad were allowed.

Some 55,000 citizens travelled back home that way.

Cargo flights went on uninterrupted amid the pandemic.

While domestic passenger flights resumed, the ban on international air travel is in force until June 6.

According to the report, LOT plans to resume international flights as of June 14.

In 2019, Polish airports serviced some 49 million passengers, up by 7 per cent year on year.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Russia’s COVID-19 cases near 415,000

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Russia has confirmed 9,035 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to 414,878, its coronavirus response center said in a statement Monday.

The death toll increased by 162 to 4,855, while 175,877 people have recovered, including 3,994 over the last 24 hours, according to the statement.

Moscow, the country’s worst-hit region, reported 2,297 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 183,088.

As of Sunday, 304,808 people were under medical observation, while more than 10.9 million lab tests for COVID-19 have been conducted nationwide, Russia’s consumer rights and human well-being watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement Monday.

(XINHUA)

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Bayelsa seals 6 churches for breaching COVID-19 protocols

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The Bayelsa Government has sealed  six churches in the state for breaching ”operational protocols” required to conduct services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government on May 7,  relaxed its restriction on social gatherings and allowed churches to hold services with up to 50 worshipers.

The relaxation was granted, subject to compliance to strict conditions on provision of  hand washing facilities, wearing of face masks and observance of social distancing in the seating arrangements.

Mr Freston Akpor, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information, however, told NAN on Monday in Yenagoa,  that the Security Sub – Committee of the state’s Task Force on COVID- 19, sealed the churches during its surveillance on Sunday.

“The six churches were sealed for failure to comply with safety measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic and protect the people of Bayelsa.

“The affected churches are,  Living Faith Church, Igbogene, Salvation Victory Centre, Igbogene, Shalom International Christian Centre, along Tombia-Amassoma road and Great Grace Distinguished Assembly, Okutukutu.

“Others are Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, Opolo and Hebrews International Church, Ayama road.

“The churches will remain sealed until further notice to serve as  deterrent  to other churches.

“The move will help in ensuring that other churches adhere to the protocols on hand washing, use of face masks and social distancing as measures to check the spread of the virus in the state,” Akpor said.

He said the security sub-committee of the task force on COVID-19,  unsealed two churches earlier shutdown for violating safety measures on the pandemic.

Akpor explained that the two churches , the Halleluya Deliverance Ministry International and Embassy Faith churches were unsealed after undertaken to comply with prescribed safety protocols.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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New Zealand confirms no new case of COVID-19 for 10 consecutive days

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New Zealand reported no new case of COVID-19 on Monday for 10 consecutive days, with the combined total of confirmed and probable cases staying at 1,504, according to the Ministry of Health.

The total number of confirmed cases reported to the World Health Organization remained at 1,154, said a ministry statement.

The number of people who have recovered reached 1,481, with only one case remaining active, it said, and the number of COVID-19 related deaths remained at 22.

The NZ COVID Tracer app has now recorded 476,000 registrations, an increase of 8,000 on Sunday.

(XINHUA)

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1st LD Writethru: Armenian PM, family test positive for COVID-19

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Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced via Facebook on Monday that he and his family had tested positive for COVID-19.

Pashinyan said he did not have any symptoms and would continue to work from the prime minister’s residence.

“I will work from here as much as needed, but of course, under conditions of isolation,” he said.

The prime minister again urged citizens to always wear face masks and regularly disinfect hands.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 9,282 on Sunday, with 3,396 recoveries and 131 deaths, according to the Armenian government.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Spotlight: How would United States exit from WHO harm global fight against COVID-19?

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The U.S. exit from the World Health Organization (WHO) would undermine international efforts to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that guarantee public health and save lives, officials and experts across the world have warned.

United States President Donald Trump said on Friday that his country is “terminating” its relationship with the WHO. The announcement came days after the White House, in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, threatened to make the temporary freeze of United States funding “permanent” and reconsider its membership in the organization.

Experts have voiced concerns over the decision made by the United States government, saying the move is undermining the irreplaceable role of the WHO in coordinating global efforts in combating COVID-19 and delivering necessary aid to developing and particularly under-developed countries whose public health systems are very vulnerable.

For those countries which are still struggling with the rising COVID-19 cases and are highly dependent on the guidance, equipment and concrete life-saving services provided by the WHO, the U.S. funding freeze is no doubt a fatal shock, they said.

Dad Mohammad Annabi, an Afghan researcher and editor-in-chief of the Islah Daily, said: “Cutting more than 400 million United States dollars to the WHO definitely would undermine the global health agency’s performances including the war on COVID-19 and research on how to make a vaccine to cure the killing disease in the world.”

“Afghanistan is part of the international community and like other nations has been fighting COVID-19, and certainly a financial cut to the WHO would undermine the entity’s support to Afghanistan,” Annabi said.

Trump’s plan has also triggered widespread criticism from the international community, even from the traditional allies of the United States. The U.S. exit from the WHO is contrary to multilateralism and would disrupt global efforts to fight against the virus, especially those in vaccine development.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement that “the WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future.”

“For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed. In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” they said in the statement.

“In this context, we urge the United States to reconsider its announced decision,” they said in the statement.

Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris described Trump’s plan to cut ties with the WHO as an “awful decision” on Twitter.

“Awful decision. Now more than ever the world needs multilateralism. A global pandemic requires the world to work together,” Harris tweeted.

Apart from criticism from the international community, Trump’s announcement also triggered disagreement across the United States. The country alone has reported more than 1.7 million COVID-19 cases with over 104,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both figures are far higher than those in any other country or region.

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law and director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, described the move as “foolish and arrogant” on Twitter.

“Trump’s action is an enormous disruption and distraction during an unprecedented health crisis,” said Gostin, also the director of the WHO collaborating center on national and global health law. “The President has made us less safe.”

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said that “the United States cannot eliminate this virus on its own and to withdraw from the World Health Organization — the world‘s leading public health body — is nothing short of reckless.”

(XINHUA)

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Armenian PM, family test positive for COVID-19

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Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced via Facebook on Monday that he and his family had tested positive for COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: Life edges closer to normal as Aussie states ease COVID-19 restrictions

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Life for Australians in several major states edged closer to normal on Monday, with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings and businesses after months of strict lockdowns.

Gatherings of up to 50 people were permitted once again, with restaurants and pubs being allowed to reopen, along with gyms, zoos, beauty salons, places of worship and other public institutions such as libraries and galleries.

While specific rules differed from state to state, with some only allowing gatherings of 20 people, the effect on thousands of businesses nationwide was significant and offered the return of a lifestyle similar to that of pre-COVID-19.

There were however rules for establishments to follow to prevent a second wave of infections, including allowing only one person per four square metres of space.

“We need to accept life will be different until we have an effective treatment or a vaccine,” New South Wales State Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

“A simple tip advocated by health experts is to act as if you are infectious which will help you think twice about how you interact around others, as more restrictions are eased.”

With many domestic borders remaining closed despite discussions between state leaders, Aussies were urged to take a holiday closer to home and help reinvigorate the nation’s badly affected tourism industry.

State leaders encouraged their constituents to take the money they would normally spend overseas or interstate, and use it to support local businesses and attractions.

“In terms of our spend, we spend billions and billions on international or interstate travel each and every year,” Western Australia State Premier Mark McGowan said.

“This is the opportunity to spend all of that money right here in Western Australia, whether it is our magnificent regional communities or our great city places to spend your money.”

The easing of restrictions follows a significant drop in the number of new cases being recorded despite widespread testing.

On Monday, the aged care home which staged one of the country’s largest clusters was declared infection-free.

Nineteen residents died, with 37 residents and 34 staff testing positive for the virus at the nursing home during the outbreak, which began in mid-April after a member of staff worked six shifts with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

(XINHUA)

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Mongolia confirms 6 new COVID-19 cases, 185 in total

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Mongolia reported six new cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, bringing the national count to 185, the country’s National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) said Monday.

“A total of 371 tests for COVID-19 were conducted in the country yesterday and six of them were positive,” NCCD head Dulmaa Nyamkhuu told a daily press conference.

The new patients are Mongolian nationals who returned home from Russia on May 15, said Nyamkhuu.

All the COVID-19 cases in Mongolia were imported, mostly from Russia. Among them, a total of 44 patients, including four foreigners, have recovered.

No local transmissions or deaths have been reported in the Asian country so far.

(XINHUA)

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