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Expert recommends consumption of clean water to prevent coronavirus

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Dr Aminu Tanimu, a private medical practitioner in Kaduna, on Wednesday urged the people of Kaduna State to inculcate the habit of consuming clean water so as to prevent contracting coronavirus.

Tanimu made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Kaduna.

He called on the government to provide clean water for citizens, especially those living in the suburbs, to prevent them from the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

He said the provision of safe and hygienic water was essential in protecting human health during any infectious disease outbreak including the coronavirus pandemic.

Tanimu added that ensuring good and consistent waste management practices in communities, homes, schools, marketplaces and health care facilities would further help to prevent human-to-human transmission of the COVID -19 pandemic.

He noted that frequent and proper hand hygiene was the most critical measure that could be used to prevent infection by the virus.

“Many co-benefits will be realised by safely managing water and sanitation services and applying good hygiene practices. Such efforts will prevent many other infectious diseases, which cause millions of deaths each year.

COVID-19 is an enveloped virus with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine.

“While there is no evidence to date about survival of the virus in water or sewage, the virus is likely to become inactivated significantly faster than non-enveloped human enteric viruses with known waterborne transmission.

“For example, one study found that a surrogate human coronavirus survived only two days in dechlorinated tap water and in hospital wastewater at 20° C.

“The COVID -19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low,” he added.

Tanimu, however, said that laboratory studies of surrogate coronaviruses that took place in well-controlled environments indicated that the virus could remain infectious in water contaminated with faeces for days to weeks.

“A number of measures can be taken to improve water safety; protecting the source of water; treating water at the point of distribution, collection or consumption; and ensuring that treated water is safely stored at home in regularly clean and covered containers.

“Conventional and centralised water treatment methods that utilise filtration and disinfection should inactivate the COVID -19 virus. Other human coronaviruses have been shown to be sensitive to chlorination and disinfection with ultraviolet (UV) light.

“In places where centralised water treatment and safe piped water supplies are not available, boiling or using high-performing ultrafiltration or nanomembrane filters, solar irradiation and in non-turbid waters, UV irradiation and appropriately dosed free chlorine should be used,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

Sani Idris: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Science & Technology

Nigerian brands must tackle gaps to succeed – Digital expert

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A Digital Expert, Mr Abasiama Idaresit, has decried lack of  use of the listening and monitoring tools available online by brands and putting proper plans in place to aid success in the digital technology space.

The Chief Executive Officer of  Wild Fusion made this known on Monday in Lagos, during a Virtual conference organised by GAGE Award Online platform.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that GAGE Award is an annual award that spotlights the most innovative individuals and brands in the digital space in Africa.

The topic of discussion was ‘Data and Targeting the Right Audience for Brands’.

According to him, individual brands must first have a social media philosophy which should be full proof and in place for two to three years.

“Making use of tools such as listening and monitoring tools will put a brand on track to closing  gaps that need to be filled.

“All these digital tools are online for your usage especially as technology has empowered mankind and liberating humans in every sense of the word

“A failure to have a proper plan will bring about gaps, especially when in the long run, the brand has not been targeting its own audience due to lack of understanding of its audience as well as their consumer journey.

Idaresit, who was the Google AdWords first certified digital partner in Nigeria, said there were steps that led to sale that must start  from awareness, consideration, and conversation before any sustaining sales and market share was created.

He also identified some of the gaps that existed in the digital space.

“Many brands do same thing as making use of promotions on social media, making use of influencers, and the likes, when a brand can stay distinct on its own, avoiding shortcuts that give only temporal recognition.”

He advised brand owners to be distinct with the aim of targeting certain audience.

“Don’t be online because your competitors are online. Be online because your target audience is online.”

“Staying at the top of your share of voice in the digital  space is easy, if you give 120 per cent delivery, render exceptional service and stick to excellence.

“Deliver what you promised, remain consistent, and worry less about your competitors,” the expert said.

Idaresit said that free opportunities offered by the digital space could be maximised only by brands that understood the role of professionals in developing clear cut digital strategy.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

 

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Experts laud China’s commitment to building community with shared future

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Experts have praised China‘s commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind and its efforts to promote international cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday answered questions by journalists from home and abroad on China‘s foreign policy and foreign relations at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual national legislative session.

China has been firmly safeguarding multilateralism and striving to improve global governance, and has made important contributions to world peace and stability, experts said.

Tanaka Chitsa, a researcher at the Southern African Research and Documentation Center in Zimbabwe, said that China has made important contributions to safeguarding multilateralism, world equity and justice, and promoting global economic and social development.

The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China enables countries with different ideological and cultural backgrounds to join forces and cooperate on the basis of seeking common ground while reserving differences to achieve a win-win situation, said Chitsa.

Medical supplies donated by China are unloaded from a plane at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, on May 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuliang)

Medical supplies donated by China are unloaded from a plane at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, on May 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuliang)

China, he added, has taken the initiative to make its stance known on various international occasions, actively safeguarded the interests of the vast number of developing countries, and won the trust and friendship of developing countries over the years.

Constanza Jorquera, a scholar at the School of Politics at Diego Portales University in Chile, said that China is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind and improving global governance, which is of significant importance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Francisco Carrion, Ecuador’s former foreign minister, said that while COVID-19 continued to spread, China has provided medical supplies to many countries, shared its anti-COVID-19 experiences and provided great help to global efforts in fighting against the virus, which demonstrates its responsibility as a major country.

Staff transfer medical materials donated by the Ecuador Branch of China Road and Bridge Corporation to support Ecuador’s fight against COVID-19 in Quito, Ecuador, April 16, 2020. (Photo by Santiago Armas/Xinhua)

Staff transfer medical materials donated by the Ecuador Branch of China Road and Bridge Corporation to support Ecuador’s fight against COVID-19 in Quito, Ecuador, April 16, 2020. (Photo by Santiago Armas/Xinhua)

At present, all countries should eliminate differences and prejudices, enhance cooperation and jointly combat the pandemic, Carrion said.

Any action of stigmatizing, shirking responsibilities or even provoking racism and xenophobia will negatively impact the global fight against COVID-19 and ultimately hurt human society, he added.

Gerd Kaminski, a scholar and the director of the Austrian Institute for China and Southeast Asia Studies, said that in today’s world, there is no room for isolationism and egoism, and countries must work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

It is commendable that China has been committed to promoting international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, he added.

Photo taken on May 13, 2020 shows medical supplies donated by Chinese government at the handover ceremony in Yangon, Myanmar. (Xinhua/U Aung)

Photo taken on May 13, 2020 shows medical supplies donated by Chinese government at the handover ceremony in Yangon, Myanmar. (Xinhua/U Aung)

U Khin Maung Lynn, joint secretary of the Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies, said that COVID-19 has once again highlighted the importance of multilateralism.

All countries should unite to fight the pandemic, he said, noting that China has cooperated with other countries to mobilize material, technical and human resources, and has made important contributions to the global fight against COVID-19.

Apart from public health, unity and cooperation are also needed in other fields, and only in this way can a peaceful and stable international environment be created, he added.

(XINHUA)

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“Significant” Australian bushfires increasing in frequency: experts

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Head of climate monitoring at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) Karl Braganza has warned that the devastating 2019-20 bushfires were not a “one-off event.”

Braganzaon on Monday fronted the first day of hearings for the landmark Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

Braganza said that since 2003 every jurisdiction in Australia has experienced “really significant fire events,” the frequency of which “seem to be increasing.”

“Since the Canberra 2003 fires, every jurisdiction in Australia has seen some really significant fire events that have challenged what we do to respond to them and have really challenged what we thought fire weather looked like preceding this period,” he said.

“These large fire events when you look back over the 19th and 20th century were not as frequent as they were this century.”

More than 10 million hectares of land were burned by the bushfires, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison dubbed the “black summer”, killing more than 30 people and destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

Morrison established the royal commission in February with a focus on Australia’s preparedness for natural disasters and improving natural disaster coordination.

Helen Cleugh, a senior principal research scientist from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), said that climate change was interacting with and exacerbating previous weather systems in a way never seen before, according to The Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“This means that understanding the interaction between climate variability and these drivers and climate change is very important for building preparedness for the changing nature of climate risks into the future,” she said.

“Perhaps put more simply, climate change means that the past is no longer a guide to future climate-related impacts and risks.”

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: Iran’s tankers’ cross into Venezuela waters “defies” U.S. sanctions: Iranian expert

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An Iranian expert says the arrival of Iran’s fuel tankers to the Venezuelan shores has defied U.S. sanction pressures against Tehran and Caracas.

The deal between Iran and Venezuela which came amid unprecedented U.S. sanctions on both states is primarily a “humiliation’ of U.S. policies, Foad Izadi, a professor at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, said in an interview on Sunday.

On Sunday, the first vessel of Iranian five-tanker flotilla loaded with gasoline crossed into the Venezuelan territorial waters, escorted by the the Venezuelan navy. On Monday, two other tankers entered the Caribbean Sea and are heading to the Latin American country’s refinery ports.

Squeezed under economic pressures, both Iran and Venezuela struggle to evade the impacts of embargos by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Islamic republic has a surplus of oil and gasoline, due to a significant drop in its exports pursuant to the sanctions and global economic setback caused by novel coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Venezuela is in dire need of fuel because of its aged refinery facilities and inefficient energy management, which has made it rely on its imports.

Under these circumstances, Tehran and Caracas made a “win-win deal,” according to Izadi, at the end of last year, and the Iranian-flagged vessels left the southern ports of the country in mid-March to the Caribbean shores.

Last week, the White House announced that President Nicolas Maduro was using gold from central bank reserves to pay Iran, and the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

However, Iranians warned the United States against any move which may cause trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that “if Americans create problems for our oil tankers in the Caribbean waters or in other parts of the world, we will reciprocally create problems for them.”

In the meantime, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the naval forces of the country would escort the Iranian tankers “to welcome them … and their solidarity” with Venezuela amid the U.S. sanctions.

Izadi said that “the successful measure by Iran (to supply its petrol to Venezuela) would ultimately result in the failure of U.S. sanction mechanism.”

“This also shows that the U.S. ‘maximum pressure campaign’ has been seriously challenged by the Islamic republic,” he said, adding that Tehran could maintain this “pragmatic win-win” policy.

Iran’s “successful” move will serve as an example for other countries who are under the duress of the United States, he added.

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: Turkey’s COVID-19 cases surpass 156,000; Chinese experts in Algeria hold video conference on virus prevention

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Turkey’s COVID-19 cases on Sunday exceeded 156,000. Meanwhile, Chinese medical experts in Algeria shared with Chinese people in Tunisia the experience in the prevention of the coronavirus via a video conference.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, increased to 156,827 after 1,141 new infections were reported, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

The death toll from the coronavirus in the country rose to 4,340 after 32 new fatalities were added in the past 24 hours, he said, adding that 1,092 more patients recovered, bringing the overall number of recoveries to 118,694.

On the same day, Chinese medical experts in Algeria answered questions related to COVID-19 during a video conference which was participated by workers from Chinese companies and Chinese people living in Tunisia.

At the invitation of the Algerian government, the Chinese medical expert team arrived in Algeria on May 14.

In Iran, the tally of COVID-19 infections reached 135,701 with 2,180 new infections.

The country also reported 58 new deaths from the virus on Sunday, raising the death toll to 7,417. A total of 105,801 coronavirus patients have recovered, with 2,615 still in critical condition.

Saudi Arabia announced 2,399 new cases and 11 more deaths, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 72,560 and the death toll to 390.

The kingdom also reported 2,284 more recovered patients, taking the total recoveries to 43,520.

In Qatar, 1,501 new cases of coronavirus infections were detected, bringing the total number to 43,714, of whom 23 have died and 9,170 recovered.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 781 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, raising the tally of infections to 29,485 and the death toll to 245.

The total number of recoveries from the virus in the UAE rose to 15,056 after 561 more patients fully recovered.

Kuwait reported 838 new cases and eight more deaths, raising the country’s total number of infections to 21,302 and the death toll to 156.

The country’s tally of recoveries hit 6,117 after 370 more patients recovered.

Egypt’s coronavirus cases soared to 17,265 after 752 new infections were added.

The country witnessed a record of 29 daily new fatalities of COVID-19, raising the death toll to 764. The Egyptian Health Ministry also reported 179 more cases of recoveries, increasing the total recoveries to 4,807.

The North African country has received three batches of medical aid from the Chinese government to help its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Israel reported five new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day rise in the country since March 7, bringing the tally of coronavirus infections to 16,717.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 63 to 14,153.

It is worth noting that the death toll from COVID-19 in Israel remained 297 as no new death case has been recorded for four consecutive days.

Oman’s Ministry of Health announced 513 new cases of infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 7,770, including 36 deaths and 1,933 recoveries.

In Morocco, the tally of the coronavirus infections increased to 7,433 after 27 new cases were added, which included 199 fatalities and 4,703 recoveries.

Iraq confirmed 197 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 4,469, of whom 160 have died and 2,738 recovered.

In the mean time, the Iraqi Health Ministry said that further health preventive measures will be taken next week after the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, including maintaining the partial curfew to help curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Iraq has received batches of medical aid from China and the support from a team of Chinese medical experts during their 50-day stay.

In Lebanon, the number of COVID-19 infections increased by 17 to 1,114, while the death toll remained unchanged at 26.

Jordan registered four more infections, bringing the total coronavirus cases to 708, including nine deaths and 471 recoveries.

Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen’s government-controlled provinces increased to 222, as 10 new cases were confirmed.

The death toll of the pandemic climbed to 42 in different areas of the government-controlled provinces, including the southern port city of Aden.

So far, the pro-government health authorities have recorded 10 recoveries.

In addition, health authorities in the Yemeni Houthi rebel-held capital Sanaa has declared earlier a total number of four infections in northern Yemen, including one death.

In Syria, 16 new cases were recorded, raising the overall number of infections in the country to 86 which included four fatalities and 41 recoveries.

(XINHUA)

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Chinese medical experts in Algeria hold video conference about COVID-19

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Chinese medical experts in Algeria on Sunday held a video conference with Chinese people in Tunisia for the prevention of the COVID-19.

Organized by the Chinese embassy in Tunisia, workers from Chinese companies and Chinese people living in Tunisia participated in the video conference.

During the conference, Chinese medical experts answered questions related to the COVID-19, including the prospect for the resumption of the work of Chinese companies in Tunisia and personal protection measures against the COVID-19.

Chinese Ambassador to Tunisia Wang Wenbin said that Chinese people in Tunisia strengthened their confidence in the prevention of the COVID-19 through the training event.

Zhou Lin, the expert team leader and the deputy director of Chongqing Municipal Health Commission, said the expert team is willing to provide support and professional consulting for Chinese people in Tunisia to fight against the epidemic at any time.

At the invitation of the Algerian government, the Chinese medical expert team arrived in Algeria on May 14.

During their stay in Algeria, they have already carried out extensive and in-depth exchanges with their Algerian counterparts on the prevention and control measures of the COVID-19.

They also held several video conferences with Chinese companies and Chinese people in Algeria for the prevention and control of the COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: Expert says equality key feature of Chinese diplomacy

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China believes in equality among countries and strives to pursue equality in international relations, a Kazakh expert has said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Anton Bugayenko, chief expert of the Chinese and Asian studies program at Kazakhstan’s Institute of World Economics and Politics, said that by adhering to the principle of equality, China has been able to win more support from the international arena.

Over the past years, China has been engaged closely in global issues, increasing its gravity in international relations, he added.

The expert noted that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China has traveled a journey of tests and global challenges and walked on its path towards national rejuvenation. The COVID-19 epidemic would not waver the country’s determination to achieve the goal, he said.

Bugayenko said China has not only tamed the virus, but actively promoted global cooperation. “China has become a key player in promoting coordination in the anti-virus efforts at the international level,” said the expert.

As COVID-19 rocks the world, China‘s pursuit of cooperation is in stark contrast to the U.S. approach which has defected to isolationism and tried to shrug off its international obligations, said Bugayenko, adding that China‘s call for global cooperation has won more and more recognition internationally.

(XINHUA)

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China to send medical experts to Republic of Congo on COVID-19

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The Chinese government has decided to send a medical expert team to the Republic of the Congo to support the country in its response to COVID-19, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said here Saturday.

Zhao Lijian said the expert team was organized by the National Health Commission and consisted of experts selected by the Hebei Provincial Health Commission.

(XINHUA)

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Environment

Experts highlight impact of climate change on ecosystem

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Dr Kevin Njabo, Africa Director, Centre for Tropical Research (CTR), University of California, USA, has warned of the devastating impact of climate change on the ecosystem.

Njabo spoke during the Zoom meeting organised by the Conservation Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, on Saturday.

The event is in commemoratiin of the 2020 Biodiversity Day with the theme “Our Solution Are In Nature”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the International Day for Biological Diversity is a United Nations’ international day for the promotion of biodiversity issues.

The African director, who spoke on, “Wildlife and Pandemics,” said that climate change could also have effect on wildlife and environmental sustainability.

According to him, rising global temperature due to climate change will negatively impact on food, water security, increase the spread of diseases and put pressure on the ecosystem.

He said that increase in the spread of zoonotic diseases was as a result of human activities such as agricultural expansion, logging, mining and so on.

“In the last 50 years, the world has lost 60 per cent of all wildlife and the number of new infectious diseases has quadrupled in the last 60 years,” Njabo said.

Also speaking, Dr Joseph Onoja, Technical Director, Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF), in his lecture titled “The Role of Wildlife to a Pandemic” listed four ways by which nature provided solutions to pandemic.

According to Onoja, the four ways are sanitation, flood prevention, regulation as well as pest management.

He explained the role of vultures in cleaning up carcasses before they develop bacterium, noting that forest was important in the prevention of flood and landslides.

Another speaker, Dr Anil Kumar, Foundation for Natural Conservation, India, compared the Biodiversity of India to that of Nigeria.

Kumar said that biodiversity was thriving in India because of religion, yoga system, tolerance, strong and legal support.

He said that the main threats to biodiversity are habitat destruction; introduction of invasive species;

genetic pollution; overpopulation of human; over exploitation; climate change and diseases.

On COVID-19, he explained that viruses generally coexisted with their hosts and ecosystem and would be violent when forced to another host or system.

Kumar said that the destruction of biodiversity and habitat loss of their (viruses) primary hosts was the cause of the outbreak of diseases.

He urged people to stop animal trade and the disruption of the ecosystem. .

AIC /

—————-

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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COVID-19: Provide enabling environment to aid researchers’ work, Expert urges Govts

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A Medical Researcher, Dr Babatunde Adewale, has urged the three tiers of government to provide the enabling environment to aid the medical researchers’ works during public health emergency.

Adewale, also Head, Public Health and Epidemiology Department, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, gave the advice on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

According to him, Nigeria is blessed with human capital, both at home and abroad, and they are doing great.

“We can do more than what we are doing now, if government can provide the enabling environment in terms of resources.

“This country is highly endowed with human capital, both at home and abroad, they are doing greatly in the medical field,” he said.

Adewale commended the efforts and strategies which governments had been using in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, there is always room for improvement in every of effort adopted by governments.

“We must understand something, and that is the beauty of what Nigeria is doing; though, it seems to be slow.

“The technique being used, which is the reverse transcription Polymerase chain reaction, is a good technique.

“When a result is positive or negative, it is definite; unlike a dollar test kits that some countries are using which may give a wrong result, and that is dangerous when talking about diagnosis.

“We still need to step up our resources as a nation to have more COVID-19 testing laboratories in order to increase the possibility of a larger outreach,” he said.

The medical researcher said governments should not relent on its COVID-19 enlightenment, as the country continued to record more cases.

He said enlightenment on the pandemic should be intensified, because of misleading information and propaganda being circulated about the virus.

COVID-19 is real, but many people are being misled about the situation on ground; and that is why governments need to intensify their enlightenment about the virus.

“Most especially, people at the grassroots need to be educated on the reality and risk involved in order to curb the spread,” he said.

Adewale said the development of vaccine for the virus would be a game changer, noting that Africans should not be used as guinea pigs for vaccine testing.

“The development of vaccine against COVID-19 is good, but it is not something that can be done over night, because it takes processes.

“But, vaccine should not be developed in Europe or America and bring to Africa in order to use Africans as guinea pigs for vaccine testing,” he said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Afghan experts commend China’s role in COVID-19 fight

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Afghan political analysts on Friday spoke highly of China‘s role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congratulating China on its success in the fight against COVID-19, Afghan expert Shamsul Haq Arianfar said the fact that China was able to control the spread of the disease successfully, and that’s why the COVID-19 death rate in the country is much lower than in many other countries.

China‘s technical and medical support, and the transfer of its experiences in the battle against the disease in particular, could help Afghanistan to curb the virus’s spread, said Arianfar.

The U.S. accusation of China for allegedly exporting COVID-19 is ridiculous, said the Afghan expert, adding that the motive behind Washington’s allegations is to discourage companies’ investment in China.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined economic growth in almost all countries, including the United States, European countries and China, Arianfar said “China‘s timely control over the disease has helped the country to escape economic losses,” while expressing optimism over China‘s economic recovery in the next few months.

Mansoor Faizy, editor-in-chief of the Afghan Times, thanked China for sending several batches of medical supplies to Afghanistan over the past few months to assist in the country’s COVID-19 fight.

The Chinese embassy in Afghanistan handed over a batch of food assistance to Afghanistan on Thursday to help the needy people celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month Ramadan.

The food aid from China included cooking oil and rice, which were much-needed supplies for the impoverished population in the war-torn country, especially at a time when the fight against COVID-19 has forced many to stay at home.

This is the fourth batch of assistance China has provided to Afghanistan since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country in February.

Afghanistan on Friday reported 542 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally in the country to 9,216, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

A total of 205 deaths have been recorded since February, including 12 deaths within the past 24 hours, said the ministry.

(XINHUA)

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Expert advises pregnant women on immunity building against COVID-19

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A Maternal Health Expert, Mrs Olajumoke Adebayo, has advised pregnant women and new mothers to build their immunity by eating well and engage in mild exercise to limit their exposure and reduce risk of contracting COVID-19.

Adebayo, also the Programmes Officer, Motherhood Cell Groups, Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

She explained that due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pregnant women and new mothers should endeavour to learn and limit their exposure.

“They should practice good hand hygiene, cough hygiene and avoid having contact with those that have travel history to countries prone to COVID-19.

“Washing of hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after eating, and using toilet should be constant.

“During this time, pregnant women should continue to use their routine medications, and also keep in touch with their doctors or midwives on phone, if they have medical or checkup appointments,” Adebayo said.

She urged pregnant women and nursing mothers to ask their employers on update of health guidelines to protect workers in the workplace before resuming work.

“They should continue to check online for a professional pre and postpartum support group for pregnant and new mothers, where they can learn and share experiences that meet a need because such groups are good for sanity and networking,” she said.

Adebayo also called on governments to collaborate with a midwifery focussed organisation to provide support for advocating water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in maternity settings.

“Midwives cannot do their jobs without the enabling environment in place which include basic hygiene and WASH.

“Midwives are very critical in ending maternal and child mortality in Nigeria and significantly improving the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls in the country.

“According to UNFPA, midwives can carry out 85 per cent of reproductive health services and care, because they provide care before, during and after pregnancy,” she said.

Adebayo said that the most pressing issues of sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria could be done by midwives.

“We should begin to embrace the work of midwives and develop innovative ways to ensure retention and capacity building to provide quality care.

“It is important that governments understand the work and importance of midwives in reducing maternal and child morality, and register trained traditional birth attendants as support to the system,” she said.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Interview: COVID-19 crisis has limited impact in long term, says German expert

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Professor Michael Zuern, director at Berlin Social Sciences Center, believed that the ongoing coronavirus-triggered crisis has a limited long-term impact on the world, and the globalization will not end after the crisis.

“I do not expect that the crisis will change the general setups in society after it is over. We will return to many of the practices that were stable before,” said Zuern in an interview with Xinhua.

Zuern, who also works at the Free University of Berlin, said the ongoing crisis will lead only to an acceleration of some existing developments, for example, the digitalization of society and more state control of the medical industry in the near future.

Those developments, he said, have already appeared before the crisis and they will be strengthened in the short term after the crisis. But after the crisis, “we won’t see an end of globalization.” There is no question that there are alternatives to global production and supply chains. And a partial re-nationalization of business processes is possible.

However, this leads to increased costs and considerable welfare losses. “When normalcy returns, the enormous public and private debts will grow everywhere. We will be in a global recession. The cost pressure will then be particularly high,” he said.

“How to produce in the most efficient and cheapest way? In that situation, globalization will go back. That is the reason why it won’t end,” said Zuern.

Zuern said that mankind has certainly learned lessons from pandemics in history so that the health system has been built and people are more prepared. However, pandemic comes at a certain point that people cannot know in advance, not to mention that pandemics are based on different viruses.

Therefore, Zuern believed that after the pandemic people will be more careful in the way they approach each other, so that it will be fewer handshakes and kisses, and the health system may be better prepared for a crisis, but there is no way to prevent all crises.

“The virus will be controlled with vaccines, so mankind will return to normal again. But a new virus will come in an unknown form and at an unknown time.”

When it comes to politics, Zuern said the crisis did not make a change but accelerated some tendencies that have already emerged before the crisis, for instance, the growing difficulties to organize international cooperation and the change of the global balance of power in favor of China.

Regarding the future of global governance, one outcome of the crisis may turn out to be especially important. Populist governments have criticized global governance the most.

“In comparison, those countries with populist leaders perform the worst in handling the virus, thus possibly weakening the populist thoughts. That might be a positive change the coronavirus brings to the world,” said Zuern.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: Good relationship with China critical to Australia, says agriculture expert

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A good relationship with China is critical to Australia, especially the country’s agricultural sector, said Fiona Simson, president of the Australian National Farmers’ Federation.

“I think it’s critical that relationships are built in the good times because that’s what you go back to in the bad times,” Simson told Xinhua earlier this week, adding that many farmers “believe that this relationship (with China) is a relationship worth investing in.”

Simson is the first female president of the NFF. After four years on the job, she has been a highly effective advocate for the sector’s peak body.

Over the past two decades, China has risen as a key market for Australian exporters, especially for those in the agricultural sector.

As China has become Australia’s largest export destination in recent years, “Australian farmers have matured and become a lot more customer and consumer focused,” Simson said.

“Perhaps we’re helped along by China as a market which is intrinsically like that, where buyers are interested in the technical aspects of produce and consumers are more concerned about quality,” Simson said.

Meanwhile, “it is incredibly important to realize Australia can’t take anything for granted,” she cautioned.

“Whilst Chinese consumers are very fond of Australian produce, most of the things we produce they can get from elsewhere,” she noted, highlighting the importance of bilateral relations.

“This is critical, the relationship needs to be deep, it’s just not enough to have one person who has a good relationship with China, it actually needs to be multi-tiered and multi-pronged,” she emphasized.

“Farmers are very astute businesspeople,” said Simson. “They are very open-minded and accepting of a wide range of people in their communities, because their communities are diverse, they are very aware of building relationships and the importance of trade.”

Although Australia and China have many differences in their cultures and traditions, Simson believes that “at the end of the day we’ve had a very fulfilling trade relationship and that’s built on shared needs and shared outcomes.”

“It’s worth it for both countries to keep working together,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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Agriculture

Expert recommends recycling of organic waste to manure for crop production

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An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has suggested the recycling of organic wastes into manure for crop production to enhance the clean environment and boost food production.

Odubote, the Global Head of Social Media at ‘Let’s Do It World’ (LDIW), an environmental NGO, gave the recommendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

He explained that the recycling of organic wastes to compost manure would be of dual benefits to the environment and the agriculture sector.

He said that an analysis of solid wastes by LAWMA in Lagos State revealed that 47 per cent of it was composed of biodegradable organic material and in some areas it could constitute as much as 55 per cent of the total waste stream.

“Biodegradable includes wastes from the kitchen, gardens, markets, restaurants and the agriculture sector among others.

“These wastes can be oxidised by natural microorganisms because they are derived from living organisms.

“The organic wastes can be compost as manure for farm production and refined into useful energy production such as in biomass and biofuel, which can be part of a sustainable energy mix.

“Organic waste can also be treated to make compost for soil manure and other soil conditioning products.

“Some countries have developed specialised infrastructures to recycle organic waste and recover material from a broader range of degradable organic carbon,” Odubote said.

He pointed out that challenges might be encountered in recycling organic wastes.

The environmentalist, therefore, called for all hands to be on deck to make the practice a reality.

“The key challenge to recycling organic wastes is the inability to sort them appropriately from various wastes streams right from home or point of generation.

“Also the fact that we do not have adequate infrastructure to selectively sort wastes from homes, require facilities to recycling them on a large scale without polluting the environment.

“Sending organic wastes to landfill, which we are currently experiencing, is causing harm to the environment.

“Organic wastes should be seen as an important resource that can be refined into marketable products that would generate revenue and employment opportunities.’’

The expert also called for intensive campaigns to advocate for the conversion of biodegradable domestic waste to manure for agricultural purposes and waste reduction in the country.

“Most awareness campaigns have focused on plastic wastes and recycling.

“It is equally important we sensitise people about organic waste and how we can have a rethink about it.

“There is a need for government and private organisations to increase investments towards developing facilities for recycling organic wastes.

“Recycling requires a lot of funding and we must get it right.

“While a plan should be put in place to out rightly ban organic wastes from landfills, stakeholders must collaborate in developing measures to reduce wastes,” he told NAN.

For example, he said that market people could be trained on how to properly handle and store organic products.

“We cannot keep doing the same thing the same way and expect a different result.

“It is high time we have a rethink about how we use our resources.’”

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Spotlight: Kuwaiti experts expect China’s economy to recover quickly as virus wanes

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China‘s economy will recover faster and stronger when life gradually returns to normal as the coronavirus outbreak wanes in China and some other countries, Kuwaiti experts have said.

Hajjaj Bukhadour, an Kuwaiti economic analyst who has worked for several governmental and private institutions, told Xinhua the Chinese economy is solid and will experience a strong recovery due to its competencies and capabilities.

Mohamed Ramadan, economic researcher and writer for the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas, said it is unlikely that China will fail at recovering its economy, as the country has overcome many crises in the past, including the economic crisis of 2008.

Economic analyst Maitham Al-Shas also believes that China has the ability to recover strongly and quickly. He expects several sectors of the Chinese economy to recover first, such as the retail and clothing sectors, in addition to the development of digital, technological, and medical industries.

China will have a prominent role in these industries after the virus wanes,” he said.

According to Kuwaiti experts, the global health crisis would spawn fresh opportunities for a raft of sectors including health, entertainment and leisure.

Bukhadour said he expects China to play a major role in developing medical products, in addition to paying more attention to the environment and e-learning.

According to Ramadan, a new way of life and requirements for social distancing will cause a high demand for home office electronics such as webcams for working remotely and sports equipment for exercising at home.

Meanwhile, major sectors including tourism, travel and aviation have been badly hit by the crisis due to precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic, experts said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Chinese experts share experience with Mozambican doctors on COVID-19 response

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Chinese obstetricians and pediatricians share their experience with Mozambican doctors Thursday on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 among pregnant women and children through a teleconference at Maputo Central Hospital (HCM).

The two-hour communication event was part of a series of training sessions offered by Chinese doctors and medical experts to their Mozambican peers on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday’s session, experts from West China Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Sichuan University of China talked about preventing and treating novel coronavirus infection in children, and the classified management throughout the perinatal period of pregnant women in the epidemic.

The series of online training have yielded very positive and visible results, allowing doctors in the hospital to improve their work in the treatment and management protocols for patients in the context of the pandemic, HCM Director Mouzinho Saide said at the teleconference.

“The coronavirus pandemic forces us to reinvent ourselves and find innovative solutions, to maintain high quality work and respond to the wishes of those in the hospital who care for the sick or those who seek to relieve pain and cure their illnesses from the hospital,” said Saide.

Members of the 22nd Chinese medical team to Mozambique, which has been coordinating the exchanges of doctors between the two countries, along with 23 local medical specialists, participated in the teleconference session.

As a representative of the Chinese embassy to Mozambique, Counsellor Liu Xiaoguang said the Chinese medical team has assisted HCM in establishing a response plan, emphasizing worldwide cooperation and solidarity in dealing with the pandemic.

He said that by far China has donated more than 1.3 million medical masks, nearly 40,000 sets of testing kits, 20,000 sets of protective clothing and other medical supplies to Mozambique.

“The epidemic situation in Mozambique is still serious, which makes the task of protecting women and children and other vulnerable groups more urgent,” said Liu, adding that he hopes previous achievements could be consolidated and boosted through this training session.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID-19: FG to dispatch experts to re-engage Kogi Govt

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The Federal Government on Thursday announced that a ministerial team of experts would soon be dispatched to Kogi on a mission to engage authorities of the state, to determine material and technical needs of the state on COVID-19.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the announcement in Abuja at a news conference by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Kogi Government had alleged refusal of NCDC officials to observe protocols in line with the containment of the coronavirus when they visited the state.

The allegation stirred up drama between the two parties as the NCDC officials left Kogi without adhering to terms and conditions, rolled out by Gov. Yahaya Bello.

Following the development, Ehanire said the committee would need to re-engage the governor and work with him and his team to create conditions with which the NCDC officials could complete their job.

The minister said that the ministry had developed key performance indicators to track surveillance, strategic activities and programmes.

He said that the ministry would also be working with states to establish protocols that would improve on communication and reporting.

Ehanire noted that the fact-finding team that was sent to Cross River had returned and that the ministry had been able to identify areas of need in the state.

He said that the state’s level of preparedness was reasonable.

“They have set up a committee on COVID-19 and have also started making face masks and Personal Protective Equipment.”

He, however, said that a new medical team had been assembled to take over the management of This Day Dome Treatment Centre.

“Surveillance, contact tracing and testing capacity is increasing in all states as more labs are being added to our network COVID-19 laboratories,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

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Environment

Expert harps on numerous benefits of tree planting

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An Environmental activist, Mr Rasheed Lawal, has harped on the benefits of tree planting to address climate change.

Lawal made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

He said that it was important to actively pursue tree planting because of its inherent commercial benefits.

“With tree planting, we will achieve a better world through mitigating the rapidly changing climate; these trees will be a ‘sink’ and a form of balancing greenhouse gas emissions.

“There will also be provision of jobs and source of livelihood to planters and maintainers of these trees.

“We can make tree planting a front burner issue by promoting the commercial and profit making side of tree planting. This is one way of getting private individuals to establish plantation of commercial trees.

“There are wide ranges of trees whose by-products could be exploited for commercial gains,” he said.

Lawal also called for government’s intervention in provision of incentives for tree farmers as they were doing to food crop farmers.

“Forestry departments of the ministries of agriculture across states have neglected the campaign for tree planting and the impending benefits. This should be revived.

“Just as arable crops farmers are getting incentives from the government, tree farmers should also benefit from such grants.

“The usual or correct answer to address deforestation issues will be government regulations and control. But with experience, that alone will not stop these acts, especially the illegal wood miners,”Lawal said.

The expert said there was need to reduce the toxic and climate wrenching greenhouse gases directly linked to most companies and industries.

“Hence, it is now up to us to engage in ventures that will curb the excesses of company’s emissions into the environment. It is a form of balancing the scale.

“Trees being planted will definitely suffice for the deficit,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Foreign

Roundup: Chinese medical experts visit 3 provinces in Zimbabwe, donate medical supplies

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The visiting team of Chinese medical experts have toured the country’s three provinces to share their experience with local medical staff who stand at the frontline to fight COVID-19 in the southern African country.

The 12-member team, which arrived in Zimbabwe last Monday, comes from southern China‘s Hunan Province.

The team is made up of experts from infectious diseases and respiratory illnesses, intensive medicine, infection control, traditional Chinese medicine as well as public health and nursing.

In this week, they visited Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces, covering more than 1,000 km.

In Marondera Provincial Hospital, the main provincial hospital in Mashonaland East, the Chinese experts gave a lecture to the doctors and nurses, sharing their experience with their Zimbabwean counterparts to help them fight against the pandemic.

Zhu Yimin, the leader of the Chinese team, said every country had the problem of inward transmissions and there was need to scale up health screening at ports of entry, closely monitor inbound travelers and compulsorily quarantine them.

“The issue of transmissions that are inbound is affecting every country and there is need to ensure that people are thoroughly screened at ports of entry as well as quarantine them as per international standards,” he said.

Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital and Mvurwi Hospital are the COVID-19 isolation and treatment hospital in Mashonaland West and East provinces. During the visit, the Chinese medical experts toured the wards and isolation center of the two hospitals and provided recommendations on hospital infection control, laboratory testing among other issues.

The team also donated medical supplies to the hospitals they visited including Marondera Provincial Hospital, Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital and Mvurwi Hospital.

Provincial officials and medical staff highly praised the Chinese experts for helping Zimbabwe in its fight against COVID-19, saying they believed that it has greatly helped the provinces to fight the epidemic.

Mary Mliswa, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs of Mashonaland West, expressed sincere gratitude to the Chinese medical experts for unreservedly sharing the experience with their Zimbabwean counterparts.

Appollonia Munzverengwi, Mashonaland East’s Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, hailed cordial China-Zimbabwe ties that date back to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, adding that Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from China which managed to contain a huge outbreak of COVID-19.

“As a province and as a country, we can get an insight and learn much from the Chinese who have always been our all-weather friends,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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