Cyprus re-introduced tough measures to contain a new surge of the coronavirus infections, including wearing masks in all indoor public places, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced on Friday.
After the meeting chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades, which approved the measures, Ioannou told a press conference that the additional restrictions were considered necessary to check a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 cases centered in the southern city of Limassol.
The minister said that those who failed to observed the rules liable to a fine of 300 euros.
President Anastasiades warned that failure in respecting the measures will lead to stricter ones with serious financial repercussions.
Cyprus came out of a 10-week lockdown at the beginning of June, with the government spending about 10 percent of the gross domestic product to support businesses and workers.
“I call on everyone to respect what our people with sacrifices have achieved, to responsibly observe the decisions of the government… as well as the excellent scientific team that advises the government,” Anastasiades said in a written statement.
The epidemiological team reported nearly 40 new cases in the last four days, with many of them detected in random sampling of people among the community. About half of the new cases were detected in Limassol.
The health minister said social gatherings of more than 10 people will not be allowed in Limassol, adding the maximum number of customers in restaurants, cafes and bars has been cut by half to 75 indoors and 150 outdoors. The measure will be in place for the next three weeks.
According to Ioannou, the daily random coronavirus tests at airports will be increased from 600 to 1,000, mainly focusing on Cypriots returning from holidays. “As it emerged that the biggest percentage of cases concerns locals with a travel history,” explained the minister.
He criticized the irresponsible behaviors by some people, saying “the lifting of many restrictions has led to many ignoring the personal protection regulation and social distancing while people who should have been self-isolating did not do so.”
Ioannou said the authorities will also intensify checks in businesses, restaurants and other premises “with explicit instructions for zero tolerance”.
The Transport, Communications and Works Ministry also announced that in addition to the mask wearing requirement, buses in Limassol will run at half of their capacity.
The restrictions were announced as the authorities are bracing for arrivals of people as of Saturday from Britain.
Britain, the biggest tourism market for Cyprus and also a country with a large Cypriot community, has been categorized in travel Group B countries, meaning that travelers have to present a certificate for a negative coronavirus test.
Ebonyi govt pledges to promote breastfeeding, provides crèches, jingles
The Ebonyi Government has pledged to do everything possible to encourage breastfeeding among young mothers in the state to improve child and maternal survival.
The Commissioner for Health in Ebonyi, Dr Daniel Umezurike disclosed this on Tuesday during a press briefing to mark 2020 World Breastfeeding Week in Abakaliki.
Umezurike revealed that the state government considered the feeding critical by creating public awareness campaigns and jingles with support from partners to advocate breastfeeding in the state.
The commissioner also disclosed that civil servants who were nursing mothers in the state had been observing four months paid maternity leave to encourage breastfeeding.
He said that wife of the Governor, Mrs Rachael Umahi had established creches in the women development centre and strategic locations to enhance appropriate feeding.
“This is for mother to get close to their children, even at work so that they can breastfeed intermittently.
He added that they were also allowed after the leave resumption to close at mid-day to enable them return home to their babies to feed them appropriately.
“Breastfeeding is most important way of improving child and maternal survival. We take this very seriously.
“We do all these to encourage, protect and support breastfeeding in the state,” Umezurike said.
According to him, malnutrition is a challenge that reduces production of breast milk, when nursing mother are not properly fed.
Umezurike added that such families to include the downtrodden and widows were supported by Mrs Umahi to ensure family health were protected in the state.
He further stated that COVID-19 pandemic had affected activities, food production, consumption practices degrading land and ecosystems among others, thus every steps taken across life cycle to mitigate environmental degradation and climate crisis.
He stated that the pandemic had demonstrated that the global world interdepend and dependent on same planet, thus needs a healthy planet with support of breastfeeding.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner disclosed current situation report of COVID-19 in the state, saying that total confirmed cases is 871, deaths 25, discharged 804 and active cases is 36.
“We have three isolation centers and some on home isolation,” Umezurike said.
The Baby Friendly Initiative Coordinator in the ministry of Health, Mrs Beatrice Ojinkama described breastfeeding as foundation of live.
Ojinkama gave advantages of initiating breastfeeding to include serving as first immunization for a child to survive, help remove reserved placenta, help in family planning among others processes.
She called on the media to assist partners and the ministry in achieving the scheme.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Sexual violence: Mrs Akeredolu pledges to partner stakeholders
The wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has pledged her readiness to partner with relevant stakeholders to end cases of sexual violence in the state.
Akeredolu spoke on Tuesday in Akure at a stakeholders meeting on gender-based sexual violence
According to her, an action plan must aim at addressing the issue of rape in the state holistically.
The governor’s wife, therefore, advised stakeholders to collectively come up with a reasonable action plan that would end the menace.
Mrs Titi Adeyemi, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said the essence of the meeting was to have a follow up forum on the previous meeting with stakeholders on rape and gender based violence.
Adeyemi noted that the spate of rape cases and gender-based violence was becoming alarming.
“It has become so worrisome, especially during the coronavirus period, which concerns every individuals.
“There has been an upsurge on issue of rape and all hands must be on deck to curb it.
” That is the main reason Mrs Akeredolu and relevant authorities have shown great concern at this time.
“We have put a team of experts together, people who have technical knowledge on gender-based violence issues to look for a lasting solution.
“We have a whole range of stakeholders coming together to evolve an action plan to tackle the menace, and I believe that this move is going to assist the state and the society at large,” she said.
Adeyemi said her ministry had concluded plans with the Ministry of Budget to include funds for gender-based violence management in its budget.
She also said that a desk for management of gender based violence cases would be created while government would build the capacity of care givers as well as empower victims.
The commissioner commended the governor’s wife for contributing to the proactive measures put in place to curb the menace in the state.
Mrs Bola Ogundadegbe, the Chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the state, disclosed that the 112 rape incidents recorded since 2017 had been charged to court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that stakeholders at the meeting included representatives from Ministries of Justice, Education, Health, Women Affairs as well as representatives of non governmental organisations specialising on rape cases.
Edited By: Muftau Adediran/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
FG to resume Digital Switch Over roll out – Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government says it will “very soon’ resume the roll out of Digital Switch Over (DSO) – a transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting – across the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this on Tuesday in Lagos at a ceremony to unveil the new amendment to the 6th Edition of the Broadcasting Code.
Fielding questions from stakeholders at the ceremony, the minister said the DSO suffered some set back which led to a hold after it was launched in six states.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to spread the massive benefits of digital television to the people, stressing that it was the fastest way to create jobs.
The minister assured the stakeholders that they would hear from the government on the resumption of the DSO roll out in the coming weeks.
Mohammed also told the stakeholders that government had been implementing policies and programmes to reposition the creative industry.
He said one of the major recommendations of the Post COVID-19 Initiative Committee on the Creative Industry chaired by ace comedian, Ali Baba was a restructure of the industry.
The minister reassured that the government would soon set up a committee on the implementation of the recommendations to move the industry forward.
The Minister also reiterated government’s commitment to assist the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria in securing the N10 billion Nigeria Media Intervention Fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Digital economy: Nigeria must shift focus from certificate to skills – Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.
Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development.
He said that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.
According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.
“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. Over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020.
“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.
“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here,’’ he said.
Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.
According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.
He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more.
“These are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”
Also, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.
Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.
He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.
“I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College.
“In particular, I commend you for organising the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Commandant of the collage, Rear Adm. Markson Kadiri, said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies.
Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations.
“The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”. Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)