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COVID-19: Unijos ASUU donates hand sanitisers to Plateau Govt., others



The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Jos chapter, has donated hand sanitisers and leaflets to Plateau Government and other organisations in the state.

Presenting the items on Wednesday in Jos, chairman of the union in the chapter, Dr Lazarus Maigoro, said the gesture was aimed at supporting government’s efforts in curbing the global pandemic.

Maigoro also said that the gesture was part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS).

He further explained that the products were funded and donated by members of the union, adding that they were produced by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University.

“Aside the struggle for the welfare of our members, we also embark on corporate social responsibility.

“We have discovered that our country and indeed the whole world is going through tough times as a result of Coronavirus.

“So, as a union, we have decided to produce these hand sanitisers and leaflets, using our members from the faculty of pharmaceutical Sciences to support government in its bid to curb the spread of the virus in the state.

“We believe that with this little support, a product of research by  our members, the fight against the dreaded disease will soon be a thing of the past,” he said

Maigoro called for collaboration between ASUU and the government in addressing challenges bedeviling the nation.

He also called for prompt and adequate funding of Universities in the country.

He promised that ASUU would continue to support government’s initiatives that would promote research and development of education in the country.

The chairman thanked management of University of Jos for providing enabling environment for members to produce the items donated.

Receiving the items on behalf of Plateau government, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Danladi Atu, thanked ASUU for keying into the vision of the government in curbing the spread of virus in the state.

Atu decribed the initiative as laudable and commendable, adding that the fight against the dreaded disease must be a collective one

“Fighting Coronavirus needs collective efforts; we must join hands together to end it.

“It is a trying moment for the whole world and I thank ASUU for keying into our vision as a state to curb the spread of the pandemic,” he said.

Atu assured the government would continue to collaborate with critical stakeholders in whatever way to end the spread of the disease.

He, however, urged ASUU members to conduct in-depth research and come out with lasting solution to the pandemic.

“I want to challenge ASUU members, who are mostly researchers to come up with proper and lasting solution to end this dreaded disease,” Atu said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that other organisations that benefited from the gesture include, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ja’amatu Nasil Islam (JNI), among others.

Edited By: Felix Ajide


COVID-19: Navy inaugurates 40 bed space isolation centre in Lagos



The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Monday  inaugurated a 40-bed-space isolation centre at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos State, for its   personnel who might  test  positive for Coronavirus disease .

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas, was represented by Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command at the inauguration.


Ibas said that the centre would be used to isolate positive but asymtomatic persons, saying that it was part of NN’s proactive measures to curb the spread of the virus.


The Nigerian Navy  identified the need for increase its  isolation centres as a proactive measure toward quick response to the  COVID-19 management.


“Especially in situations where other facilities are overwhelmed with high number of patients ,this 40-bed isolation centre which we are about to  put to use immediately is part of the contributions of the Nigerian Navy to the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.


“The isolation centre will be used to isolate positive but asymtomatic persons under strict guidance of trained medical personnel with technical support from the Lagos State Government,” he said.


He said that as there was an increase in exposure to the virus, there was  also an  increase in the number of confirmed cases, thereby causing isolation centres to be limited.


“An increase in exposure to the virus will lead to an increase in the number of confirmed positive cases.


“Therefore, the  management of positive cases includes the  isolation of the infected persons to reduce the chances of further spread in the community.


“Isolation centres have been established across the country to isolate and manage  confirmed cases,however, as more cases are confirmed, there arises the need for more centres for the isolation of people to reduce the risk of further transmission,” he said.


He said  the NN could not afford to take any chances,  especially, looking at how compacted their ships were.


“From what we have been hearing, somebody can have the virus but asymptomatic, that means it is possible that it can be spread to others.


“And you know by the nature of our work-space in the ship ,which is enclosed compartment, we can’t afford to have a high rate of such,” he said.


He said that the NN had been in contact with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Lagos,  since the project was conceived, saying that the NN would continue to contribute its quota to ensure that the pandemic was curtailed soon.


“Since this project was conceived, up till the commissioning, the NCDC  is in support of the NN policy for the health care need of personnel as championed by the CNS.


The NN will continue with this type of programme where necessary in  other parts of the country where we have a high concentration of naval personnel,” he said.


The CNS also used the opportunity to seek God’s guidance over naval  personnel and the Armed Forces in general.


As the NN celebrates its 64th anniversary, we pray that God Almighty continues to shower his blessings upon all our sailors, families, the leadership of the NN and the armed forces,” he said.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a tour round the facility showed that each room houses four beds.


NAN also reports that the facility was  divided into two sections where one section would  accommodate those that were not symptomatic.


The other section which housed oxygen ventilators would be  for those that would require some level of management before the arrival of NCDC officials.


The Coronavirus disease popularly known as COVID-19 is a pandemic which had affected virtually every country in the world, the first case in Nigeria was reported on Feb. 27, 2020 in Lagos.


The disease has spread to 35 of the 36 states with 9,202 confirmed cases in Nigeria while Lagos State has  recorded the highest number with 4,337 confirmed cases and 3,585 active cases.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada (NAN)


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COVID-19: Group urges Bauchi govt. to increase allocation to agric sector



A group of NGOs under the aegis of Bauchi State Public Financing in Agriculture Budget Committee has urged the state government to increase its allocation to agriculture due to the effects of COVID-19 to boost farming.

Mrs Tabawa Atiku, the chairperson of the committee, made the appeal at a news conference on Monday in Bauchi.

Atiku said in view of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, little allocation to the agricultural sector would not help farmers in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NGOs are: Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI), with the support Actionaid Nigeria.

Others are: Rahma Women Development Programme (RAHMA), Media, Women Empowerment Initiative Nigeria (WEIN), Bauchi State Network of Civil Society and Association of Small scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN).

Atiku said the N8.9 billion budgeted for agriculture by the state government, out of the total budget of N167 billion for 2020 was below the 10 per cent recommended by the Malabo Declaration of 2014.

She noted that the allocation for the agricultural sector was just 5.34 per cent, which was far less than the Malabo Declaration of 2014.

“We noticed the downward review of funding of inputs to farmers in the state and we are pleading with the government to reconsider it to assist more farmers in this farming season.

“We are also appealing to the government to make provisions for credit and loan schemes to assist farmers, if we must avert the looming food crisis occasioned by COVID-19,” she said.

Atiku solicited prompt release of the funds and involvement of smallholder women farmers and other key stakeholders in the budgeting process.

She urged the government to establish a local produce buying and transportation network for smallholder farmers to ensure food supply and income generation.

According to her, the partial lockdown has made it difficult for farmers to access markets to sell their produce,” she said.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Salif Atojoko (NAN)


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COVID-19: 50 awaiting trial inmates released in Plateau



The Chief Judge of Plateau , Justice Yakubu Dakwak, on Monday discharged 50 awaiting trial inmates who had been in custody at the Jos Correctional Centre over different minor offences.


Dakwak said that the release of the suspects was in line with the decision of the Federal Government to decongest the custodial centres in the country, as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The Chief Judge, however, said  that those standing trial over alleged violent offences like murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape did not benefit from the reprieve.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that those discharged committed minor offences such as: theft, breach of trust and inciting public disturbance.

NAN reports that the suspects had been on remand for many months with some spending over a year in jail without going on trial.

The Chief Judge while discharging the suspects, however, said they were discharged of the offences but not acquitted.

“I want to tell all of you that you have been discharged but not acquitted.

“If you go out there and commit another crime, you will come back here and we will reopen this case and still try you for the new one you committed.

“We expect you to be of good behaviour and take this as a chance to turn a new leaf and shun crime,” he said.

Dakwak said  that the exercise would continue quarterly in all the correctional centres in the state to help decongest the facilities and also promised to ensure speedy trials for accused persons.

The Controller of Corrections, Plateau  Command, Mr Samuel Aguda, said that the Command had 1,441 inmates in the state, with the Jos Custodial Centre alone accounting for 888 inmates out of the number.

Aguda said that there were 652 awaiting trial, 572 convicts and 228 condemned convicts.

He lauded the decongestion initiative stating that it would give room for social and physical distancing in the facilities in view of the rampaging effect of the Coronavirus disease.

The Controller, however, said that the permanent solution to custodial congestion was for stakeholders to look inwards and start the full implementation of the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2018 of Plateau state.

Aguda also appealed to lower court judges to start sentencing minor offenders to community service instead of sending them to custodial sentences.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Peter Dada (NAN)



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Netherlands reopens restaurants, cinemas as COVID-19 death toll remains low




The Netherlands reopened restaurants, cafes, theaters, concert halls, museums and cinemas on Monday after two and a half months’ COVID-19 lockdown.

According to the rules, a maximum of 30 people are allowed in restaurants, cafes, theaters, concert halls and cinemas, as long as the 1.5-meter social distancing rules can be kept. A maximum of two people who are not from the same household can sit together at one table.

In museums, the maximum number of visitors depends on the available space. Reservations are required for all activities.

“We are taking the second step in easing the anti-coronavirus measures today,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter. “Only if everyone adheres to the measures we can take a step forward.”

From May 11, primary schools and childcare reopened partially in the country and contact professions such as hairdressers, driving instructors, masseurs and dentists also reopened under conditions. The relaxation of the measures follows a downward trend in the COVID-19 figures for more than a month.

Since Sunday, the COVID-19 death toll in The Netherlands rose by 6 to a total of 5,962, while the number of confirmed cases grew by 103 to 46,545, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced on Monday.


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Zambian children head back to school after COVID-19 shutdown




Pupils in examination classes flocked back to school on Monday after two months of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The schools were closed in March as part of government measures to contain the pandemic.

The pupils, with face masks, returned to begin their lessons in preparation for their examinations.

A Xinhua team that visited some of the schools in Lusaka, the country’s capital, found the pupils in classrooms learning.

Veronica Nyirenda, a student at Roma Girls Secondary School, said she was excited to be back and resume classes after two months of just staying at home.

“I am excited because I missed interactions with my friends,” she said in an interview.

She said the pupils were happy with the preparations done by the school authorities, adding that all the health guidelines have been put in place.

Namangolwa, head teacher at Roma Girls Secondary School expressed happiness that pupils had turned up in large numbers to resume classes.

“We have a full house and everything is just okay. The pupils are happy to see each other after a long time,” she said.

Bernard Mutambwa, head teacher of Ng’ombe PTA School said the school had made preparations in order to abide by the health guidelines as prescribed by health authorities.

He said all the pupils came with face masks except for a few who had to be turned away.

However, there were reports in local media that in some schools, most pupils were turned away because they did not have face masks.

The government had promised to provide face masks to all the pupils before resuming lessons.


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Roundup: Coronavirus cases rocketing in South Asia as India becomes 7th worst-hit country due to COVID-19




The number of COVID-19 cases is rocketing in South Asia on Monday as India became the seventh worst-hit country due to COVID-19, and in Bangladesh cases neared 50,000.

India’s federal health ministry on Monday morning reported 230 new deaths due to COVID-19 and 8,392 more positive cases during the past 24 hours across the country. This was so far the highest single-day spike in the cases.

The ministry said the total number of cases in the country reached 190,535 with 5,394 deaths.

India became the seventh worst-hit country due to COVID-19 pandemic as the World Health Organisation COVID-19 tracker had placed the country on rank seven in the list.

Bangladesh reported 2,381 new cases, dipping from Sunday’s high of 2,545.

“A total of 2,381 new COVID-19 positive cases and 22 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh,” senior Health Ministry official Nasima Sultana told a media briefing on Monday afternoon.

“The total number of positive cases is now 49,534 and death toll stands currently at 672,” she added.

With the confirmation of 226 new cases on Monday, Nepal has seen the highest single day spike of COVID-19 cases, and the total tally has surged to 1,798.

Afghanistan reported 545 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 15,750 cases, the country’s Ministry of Public Health confirmed.

Eight COVID-19 patients succumbed to the virus, taking the number of people who lost their lives to 265 since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in February.

The number of people recovered stands at 1,428 after 100 patients recovered during the period.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 18,638 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 552 more infections on Monday.

The DOH said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries further climbed to 3,979 after 70 more patients have survived the disease. The death toll also increased to 960 after three more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.

COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 467 within one day to 26,940, with the death toll adding by 28 to 1,641, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference.

According to him, 329 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients stand at 7,637.

South Korea reported 35 more cases compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Monday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,503.

After peaking at 79 on Thursday, the daily caseload continued to fall to 27 on Sunday, but it rebounded on Monday amid small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 271. The total fatality rate stood at 2.36 percent.

Malaysia has gone into 10 days without any new COVID-19 deaths, the Health Ministry said, leaving the total deaths so far at 115.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said Malaysia reported 38 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 7,857.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Myanmar has risen to 228, with four more confirmed cases reported, according to a release from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Of the newly confirmed cases, all patients are from Yangon region who were under quarantine after their recent arrival from India.

A total of 138 patients have recovered from the disease and six deaths were reported so far.

New Zealand reported no new case 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.

Laos reported no new case for 50 consecutive days, with the total number of confirmed cases in Laos unchanged at 19.


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COVID-19: Bello orders lockdown of Kabba-Bunu LGA over index case



Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has ordered immediate and total lockdown of Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area for two weeks following a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the area.

Bello, who gave the order on Monday while briefing newsmen in Government House, Lokoja, said the lockdown, which was to commence from 12.00am on Tuesday, would enable verification and authenticity of the claims.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that claims by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that Sheikh Abubakar Ejibunu, the Chief Iman of Kabba, had tested positive to the disease has continued to generate controversy between the Kogi government and the NCDC.

According to the governor, the government decided to be proactive over the verification as members of the the family of the acclaimed victim, Sheikh Ejibunu, along with 13 other persons in Kabba-Bunu Local Government have already been tested for COVID-19 and their results returned negative.

He said, “We shall not relent in verifying the genuineness of the NCDC claim and we remain resolute in pursuing the matter to a logical conclusion.

“Government has already put necessary machineries in place to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic as prevention they say, is better than cure.”

Bello also directed the Incident Management Team of COVID-19 in the state, headed by the commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna Audu, to embark on immediate door-to-door visitation of residents of the council area for collation of samples for test.

The governor also ordered a 14-day isolation of medical personnel and other persons at the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, who accompanied the accident victims to Abuja.

He further directed security agencies in the state to ensure complete enforcement of the lockdown in Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area and ensure adherence to all the federal government and NCDC protocols.

The governor condemned in its entirety failure of the NCDC to involve Kogi State government in its investigation processes before announcing two index cases of COVID-19 in the state, describing the action as “unhealthy and unprofessional.’’

“However, we still maintain that Kogi remains COVID-19 free at the moment, urging citizens of the state to continue to observe all the NCDC protocols in curtailing the spread of the dreaded disease,” Bello said.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Commentary: China determined to further open up despite COVID-19 epidemic




At this critical juncture when the COVID-19 epidemic is still ravaging the globe, China is opening its door wider to the world instead of trying to close it.

China on Monday announced it will build its island province of Hainan into a free trade port, a move that demonstrates the resolve to contribute to a stable world economy by continuing to advance reform and opening-up, widen market access, improve the business environment and expand imports and outbound investment.

By building a free trade port, Hainan will implement zero tariffs and low taxes, simplify the tax system, and offer special policies in trade, investment, capital flow, visa and entry, transportation, and flow of data, thus becoming a new hub for reform and opening up in China.

It will bring tremendous opportunities to countries across the world. Global companies, either multinationals or small and medium ones, can tap into the Chinese market or expand their market shares in China through Hainan free trade port.

As the coronavirus epidemic continues to deal a body blow to the global economy, it’s not easy to overcome external challenges to start development of a free trade port. However, China never wavers in its determination to further open up, and always goes all out to fulfill its promise.

China advocates building a community with a shared future for humanity. No country can isolate itself from the interconnected world. To bolster wider opening-up is what China says and what China does, as always.

For instance, the China International Import Expo, the world‘s first national-level exhibition dedicated to import, will be held for the third year in Shanghai. More than 1,400 companies have signed up. More countries and overseas companies are sharing China‘s large cake of the market.

The construction of a free trade port in Hainan is not only China‘s latest move to expand opening up, but also comes as a confidence booster to the world which is facing economic recession and rising protectionism.

The epidemic will eventually be defeated by mankind, after which globalization is expected to accelerate.

The future lies in openness and win-win cooperation, and China is ready to embrace the world at a new level.


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Possible second wave of COVID-19 may hit harder in Finland: policy group




The societal and economic repercussions of a possible second COVID-19 wave may be more serious in Finland, a Finnish governmental policy group warned on Monday in a report.

In the report, the group, headed by Martti Hetemaki, the Permanent State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Finance, noted that Finland will be weaker in encountering the second wave due to the impact of the first wave.

It urged that the “epidemiological response should be as efficient as in the first wave” while the economic impact should be kept smaller.

The group noted that in responding this past winter, some responsibilities “fell between administrative branches,” which brought inefficiencies to curbing COVID-19. And to avoid this in the future, all levels of administration should be included in future planning.

The group warned that if the crisis lingers on, not all enterprises can be saved, and Finland should choose those that are nationally essential when giving public assistance.

It underlined “green recovery” and the promotion of carbon neutrality. “Finland is worth aiming at being a front runner in climate action, as innovations there could improve exports.”

The group also acknowledged that it is not realistic to correct the fiscal sustainability deficit created by the COVID-19 response within a few years.

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland has to date confirmed a total of 6,885 COVID-19 infections, of which 26 cases were new. The death toll rose to 318, while at least 5,500 people have recovered.

From Monday, restaurants and cafes throughout the country started to reopen, while a special law restricts the opening hours and limits the number of customers at a time to half the normal capacity. These temporary rules will remain in force until the end of October.


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