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COVID-19: Police command flags off ‘mask for all’ campaign



The Police Command in Yobe has  flagged off a campaign, ‘Mask for all’ to ensure all its personnel wear face masks while in public, to contain the spread of COVID-19  in the state.

The Police Commissioner in the state, CP  Yahaya Sahabu, made this known in Damaturu  on Tuesday, while addressing newsmen.

Sahabu said the compulsory wearing of  face masks would be applicable to all police officers in the headquarters and other police formations,  including divisions and outposts across the state.

“As a matter of fact, every serving police officer in Yobe state must, from today, wear his face mask.

COVID-19 pandemic is a very serious problem, a serious danger to humanity so, we have to stand up and fight it.

“Face masks for all campaign is not just for police personnel but for the entire citizens. We are using the police as an example,” the police commissioner said.

He said it was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive for mandatory wearing of face masks in public places by all Nigerians in addition to other health measures.

Sahabu said that the police tailoring unit had produced 1,500 pieces of face masks as first batch for the police personnel, while another 1,500 pieces would come as second batch.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that all police personnel in Yobe, from constable up to the commissioner,  must wear face masks,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)


United States COVID-19 cases top 1.8 mln: Johns Hopkins University




The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 1.8 million on Monday, reaching 1,808,291 as of 6:33 p.m. (2233 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the national death toll reached 105,003, according to the tally.

New York remains the hardest-hit state with 371,711 cases and 29,833 fatalities. Other states with over 100,000 cases include New Jersey, Illinois, California and Massachusetts, the tally showed.


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Poland scraps school reopening plan as COVID-19 cases top 24,000




Polish students will not take traditional classes this school year, Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski said on Monday.

Part of the schools will function as daycare centers until June 26 to relieve the burden of working parents. Online classes will be offered with a break during the exam period, Piontkowski added.

Schools have been closed since March 12 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Poland. Kindergartens, preschools and lower grades of primary schools have been allowed to resume some activities.

Summer camps and similar activities are popular in the country, those activities are allowed to be carried out after approval, Piontkowski said. “This year we see a marked drop in the number of applications, which amounts to 25,000 in total, compared with last year’s over 1,2 million.”

While Poland has been gradually opening up its economy and social life, the number of confirmed cases has been consistently rising with 300 to 400 new cases per day. The Health Ministry confirmed on Monday a total of 24,165 cases, with the death toll standing at 1,074.

Silesia, a southern mining region, remains the main hotbed in Poland with close to 8,500 confirmed cases.


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Roundup: United States manufacturing activity contracts for third straight month amid COVID-19 fallout




Economic activity in the United States manufacturing sector contracted for the third straight month in May amid mounting COVID-19 fallout, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Monday.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 43.1 percent in May, up 1.6 percentage points from the April reading, which was the lowest level since April 2009.

Any reading below 50 percent indicates the manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

“Three months into the manufacturing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, comments from the panel were cautious regarding the near-term outlook,” Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM‘s manufacturing business survey committee, said in a statement.

Noting that the pandemic impacted all manufacturing sectors, Fiore said “May appears to be a transition month, as many panelists and their suppliers returned to work late in the month.”

“However, demand remains uncertain, likely impacting inventories, customer inventories, employment, imports and backlog of orders,” he said.

Among the six biggest industry sectors, Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products remains the only industry in expansion, according to the report. Transportation Equipment, Petroleum & Coal Products, and Fabricated Metal Products continue to contract at “strong levels,” Fiore said.

Despite the continued contraction, Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in an analysis that “a reading of 43.1 in May versus 41.5 in April tells us that the pace of decline is slowing.”

“After some of the worst months on record, this is a step in a better direction,” Quinlan said, while noting that “there are certainly challenges ahead.”

“Supply chain disruptions and implementation of new social-distancing protocols in factories and workshops not just in the United States, but around the world, likely mean that the recovery here will take longer than the quicker turnaround we expect to see in consumer spending,” he said.

A business executive from the Transportation Equipment industry also highlighted the new protocols, saying in the ISM report that social distancing measures in the manufacturing plant and customer demand are “impacting the rate of production.”

Despite the COVID-19 issues, we are seeing an increase of quoting activity. This has not turned into orders yet, but it is a positive sign,” a business executive from the Computer & Electronic Products industry said.

The United States Commerce Department reported on Thursday that economic activity in the first quarter contracted at an annual rate of 5 percent in a second estimate, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate.

That downwardly revised figure, however, still does not fully capture COVID-19‘s economic damage, and many analysts believe that the decline in the second quarter is expected to be much deeper.

United States Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently said the unemployment rate could peak around 20 percent or 25 percent, and the United States economy could shrink dramatically in the second quarter, at an annualized rate of more than 20 percent or 30 percent.

In a virtual discussion held by Princeton University on Friday, the central bank chief said he was concerned about a second wave of COVID-19 infections, which he believed would dampen consumer confidence and hurt economic recovery.


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COVID-19 diverts resources from noncommunicable diseases — WHO



COVID-19 has diverted public attention and resources from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes, cancer and hypertension, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a new survey published on Monday, the global health body said the situation is disturbing as NCDs kill no fewer than 40 million people annually.

Besides, the WHO said that people living with these diseases are more likely to become severely ill or die from the novel coronavirus disease.

According to the organisation, the study was conducted in 155 countries in a period of three weeks.

WHO said the result showed that although the disruption of noncommunicable diseases by COVID-19 was global, developing countries had been most affected.

It stated that over half of the countries surveyed reported that services for NCDs have been partially or completely disrupted, while two-thirds said rehabilitation services were affected.

“The survey found that 94 per cent of the countries have partially or fully reassigned health ministry staff working on NCDs to support COVID-19 response.

“For instance, it says screening campaigns for breast and cervical cancer were also postponed in more than half of the countries,” the global body said.

The new survey comes barely a month after the UN warned that the pandemic was threatening decades of progress made in the fight against .

The Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), which gave the warning on May 11, said the disruptions to treatment could result in hundreds of thousands of HIV-related deaths.

Commenting on the new study, the Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said it confirmed what the agency had been hearing from countries.

“Many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“It is vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for NCDs continue, even as they fight COVID-19,” Ghebreyesus said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)

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Roundup: Italy records lowest new COVID-19 cases since Feb. 27




Italy recorded 178 fresh cases of infection from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the lowest such figure since Feb. 27, the Civil Protection Department said on Monday.

The overall number of COVID-19 infections, fatalities and recoveries rose to 233,197 cases over the past 24 hours, from 233,019 cases on Sunday.

The pandemic began in Italy on Feb. 21 in the northern, densely populated and highly industrialized Lombardy region, whose capital is Milan.

Total active infections stood at 41,367, down from 42,075 on Sunday, while another 848 COVID-19 patients recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 158,355.

Another 60 patients died, taking the toll to 33,475.

The overall fatalities include 166 doctors, according to the National Federation of Orders of Surgeons and Dentists (FNOMCeO), which is keeping a running tally of doctors who died in fighting the virus.

Of those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, 424 are in intensive care, 11 fewer compared to Sunday; and 6,099 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 288 patients over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection Department said.

The rest 34,844 people, or 84 percent of those who tested positive — are quarantined at home because they are asymptomatic or have very light symptoms.

“The new coronavirus is circulating less… This is due to both the lockdown and existing measures such as the use of face masks and social distancing,” Dr. Luca Richeldi, who heads the Pulmonology Department at Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli Hospital and who sits on the Technical and Scientific Committee advising the government on how to fight the pandemic, told reporters on Monday.

Italy declared a six-month national state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic on Jan. 31, and the government followed this up with a nationwide lockdown that went into effect on March 10.

Exactly a month later, on April 10, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the lockdown would continue until May 3, to be followed by a so-called Phase Two involving “the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities.”


Phase Two, however, is off to a slow and painful start for industrialists, according to a report on Monday by the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria).

The industrial sector “is still suffocated by extremely weak domestic and foreign demand,” the report said.

Italy’s industrial production plunged by 44.3 percent in April and by 33.8 percent in May compared to the same period last year. Also on a yearly basis, the volume of industrial orders dropped by 29.6 percent in April and by 51.6 percent in May, the Confindustria report stated.

On the home front, “millions of workers have lost their purchasing power” while household consumption fell as people prefer to save their money amidst uncertainty as to how long the health emergency will last.

On the international front, “foreign demand is still compromised by the different timing of the introduction of COVID-19 containment measures in other countries,” the report said.

“Many entrepreneurs are suffering from lack of cash flow and are being forced to play by ear in the midst of a scenario of extreme uncertainty with regards to the Italian and the international economy,” Confindustria wrote.

The report warned that “we risk the explosion of an outright social emergency within a few months” unless the government steps in to help the productive system.

Confindustria represents more than 150,000 manufacturing and service companies of all sizes in Italy, employing over 5.4 million people in the country.


One of the most hard-hit sectors is air transport. Due to the lockdown, Italy’s airports lost 45 million passengers in March, April and May compared to the same period last year, and over 10,000 airport staff have had to claim unemployment benefits, the Association of Italian Airports (Assaeroporti) said in a statement on Monday.

The association “asks the government to ensure a competitive air transportation market” through targeted policies, because “air transport is a critical sector for Italy’s socio-economic recovery.”

Assaeroporti pointed out that 40 percent of foreign tourists reach Italy by air, and that together, the air transport and tourism sectors generate “17 percent of national gross domestic product (GDP).”

Assaeroporti represents 32 companies that manage 42 airports, which move 193.1 million passengers a year.


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Chinese medical team exchanges experiences in fighting COVID-19 with Sudan’s health emergencies committee




A visiting Chinese medical team on Monday met with members of Sudan’s Higher Committee for Health Emergencies to exchange experiences in combating COVID-19.

“The Chinese medical delegation made field visits to get acquainted with the health conditions and the challenges facing the country with regard to fighting COVID-19,” Hiba Ahmed, member of the higher committee, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Ma Xinmin, stressed in a statement the continued cooperation between China and Sudan to confront the coronavirus.

China is seeking to support Sudan in the best possible way through exchanging and sharing the experiences in monitoring and controlling COVID-19, Ma said.

The Chinese medical team arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Thursday from Algeria after ending its two-week anti-coronavirus mission there.

China has offered help to Sudan in its fight against COVID-19.

In late March, the Chinese Embassy in Sudan donated over 400,000 surgical masks to the Sudanese government.

On April 23, Chinese medical experts held a video conference with Sudanese counterparts to share China‘s experiences in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Sudan’s Health Ministry on Monday announced 147 new infections with COVID-19 and 12 deaths, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 5,173 and the death toll to 298.


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General news

COVID-19: Rivers Govt inaugurates free bus scheme



The Rivers Government has inaugurated a COVID-19 Free Bus Scheme to cushion the effect of the pandemic on residents and visitors to the state.

The scheme was inaugurated on Monday in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Sunny Ejekwu.

According to Ejekwe, the buses will ply Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Eleme Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme.

Ejekwe, who commended Gov. Nyesom Wike for the initiative, said that the 28 luxury buses would operate in line with advisories on social distancing, use of hand sanitiser and wearing of face masks.

He said that the buses would pick and discharge passengers at designated bus stops.

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, described the free bus scheme as “a gift you get from a compassionate and visionary leader’’.

A cross section of commuters, who commended the initiative, said they could not believe that government could provide such a free service.

Meanwhile, the state government has also began the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from coronavirus.

According to a statement by Mr Paulinus Nsirim, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, the programme was flagged off at Government House, Port Harcourt, by Gov. Nyesom Wike who assured that all public places in the state would be decontaminated.

He said that all public places, including markets, Churches, motor parks and schools, would be decontaminated before schools reopen.

In his speech, the Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Mr Felix Obuah, said the Decontamination Team, made up of medical and environmental experts, was inaugurated in line with Rivers governor’s directives to decontaminate public places.

The Leader of the decontamination team, Dr Ian Gobo, assured that the team would carry out the exercise with utmost dedication.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Egypt records 1,399 COVID-19 cases, 26,384 in total




Egypt reported on Monday 1,399 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the country to 26,384.

Egyptian Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement that 46 new deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll in the country to 1,005.

According to Megahed, 410 patients have been discharged from hospitals after fully cured, taking the recoveries in the country to 6,297.

Earlier in the day, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said his country is expected to witness a surge in the number of coronavirus patients in the next two weeks, according to official Ahram Online new website.

On Sunday, Egyptian government announced reducing the curfew time from 10 hours to nine hours.

The government has already started gradual reopening of services and offices suspended since mid-March amid a “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

It has also allowed reopening of dozens of hotels for local tourists after they have been inspected and given “hygiene safety” certificates from a government special committee.

Egypt and China have been cooperating closely in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, through mutual provision of medical aid and sharing experiences in containing the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

China, after having largely controlled the pandemic, returned favor by sending three batches of medical aid to Egypt.

On April 16, May 10 and May 16, Chinese doctors held video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in prevention and treatment of the virus.


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United States to support Libya with 6.5 mln USD to fight COVID-19




The United States Embassy to Libya on Monday said the United States government will provide 6.5 million United States dollars to Libya to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. government has committed an additional 6.5 million United States dollars in support of Libya’s COVID-19 response, including helping municipalities formalize their crisis response functions, develop emergency management plans, train teams in Crisis Emergency Response,” the embassy said in a statement.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Libya so far is 156, including 52 recoveries and five deaths, according to the National Center for Disease Control.

In order to fight the virus, Libyan authorities have taken a series of protective measure, including closing the country’s borders, banning public gatherings, closing schools and mosques, and imposing curfew.


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