Experts said the South Africa should work with its African counterparts to finally tackle the underlying root causes of the xenophobic attacks.
Somadoda Fikeni, a political analyst with the University of South Africa, said on Tuesday that the issue of limited resources in poor communities could not be ignored and the governments should be serious about getting to the bottom of this.
“There’s no doubt that if the underlying issues are not addressed, the next attacks are as certain as the sunrising in the morning.
“The government has not dealt with the source which is fuelling the attacks which is the struggle for resources in poor areas,” he said.
Since 2008, South Africa has been dealing with sporadic attacks on migrants which have claimed over 70 lives.
Trust Matsilele, a political analyst that it was clear that other African governments were not pleased with South Africa’s actions to stop the attacks.
“If the government ensures that the rule of law is obeyed, it would help to restore its image.’’
However, he agreed that if “we’re failing to address the push factors that are pushing citisens from other countries to South Africa we would fail to deal with this.”
After President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a team of special envoys to Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia to apologise for the attacks, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu admitted that root cause behind the anti-migrant sentiments must be tackled.
“We fully agree with our president that the xenophobic violent attacks on our fellow African brothers and sisters have damaged our reputation and our standing as a country.
“We must stop these attacks whilst at the same time addressing the underlying factors,” Mthembu said on Twitter.
Fikeni said that South Africa wouldn’t be able to address the problem without involving other nations.
(Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim)
Experts urge Nigerians to embrace natural foods, proper hydration
A Professor of Biochemistry at Lagos State University (LASU) has urged Nigerians to embrace natural foods and proper hydration to boost their immune system to fight against COVID-19.
He said that regular consumption of natural foods and balanced nutrition were part of the keys to stay free from contracting COVID-19 and any other diseases.
“World Health Organization recently published a nutrition advice that people should eat fresh and unprocessed food, drink enough water, eat moderate amount of fat and oil, amongst others.
Dr Josephine Sharaibi, Lecturer, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, LASU, said that absence of cure for COVID-19 necessitated that everyone consumed the right foods and herbs as a means of boosting the immune system against the virus.
Sharaibi said that plants were critical to both the prevention and eventual cure of the disease and advised participants on the responsible use of herbs and herbal medicines in their search for solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that there were many local herbs which included ginger, garlic, tumeric and cinnamon that could be taken as immune boosters.
“There are also anti-malaria herbs such as moringa lucida (Brimstone tree), alstonia boonei (God’s tree), enantha clorantha (African whitewood) and the popular Dogonyaro tree, all of which can be used to treat symptoms of the virus.
“We should also regularly detoxify our system by taking herb drinks and natural fruit smoothies but avoid processed foods and as much as possible, stay natural,” Sharaibi advised.
Also speaking, Prof. Sunday Omilabu, Director, Centre of Excellence on Human and Zoonotic Virology, Lagos State Biobank, warned against unapproved testing process of COVID-19.
Omilabu said that till date, no serological testing platform had been licensed for COVID-19, and even when available, was not meant to replace the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of the virus.
Prof. Richard Adegbola, Research Professor and Consultant, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, recommended three pronged approaches to prepare for future pandemics.
Adegbola said that the three approaches were consistent surveillance for data aggregation and trend monitoring; modelling for prediction and forecasting; and translation and research that turned basic research into health-improving products.
He said there was need for multidisciplinary approach to problem solving because research alone would not be enough to solve all science-related problems.
“Technology and other fields, have major roles to play in keeping our world together,” Adegbola said.
Spotlight: Israeli experts call for change as COVID-19 crisis exposes lack of int’l cooperation
To better cope with the COVID-19 crisis, they have urged all countries to come together to form cohesive policies on such issues as vaccine research and international travel.
Many previous crises in history, such as the financial crisis of 2007-08, have witnessed countries making joint efforts to tackle problems, yet the current COVID-19 crisis, which has so far recorded over 6 million infections worldwide and more than 380,000 deaths, has seen a lack of coordinated response across the world with some countries shirking responsibilities expected of them, experts said.
For example, international flights were canceled and airports shutdown following the outbreak. The United States, the sole superpower which should have taken the lead in promoting global cooperation, halted exports of masks and respiratory machines to neighboring Canada, as well as Latin American countries.
Amnon Lahad, chairman of Family Medicine at the Hebrew University, found the real situation quite contrary to such expectations “that the United States would lead and that there would be a global response.”
“Medicine mixed with politics, which made decision-making difficult,” he said.
“What we witnessed is not a global world,” Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, told Xinhua, adding that the lack of cooperation against the epidemic has also darkened the global economic outlook.
In the face of the deadly virus, experts have urged countries to make changes as soon as possible, such as by forming cohesive policies on developing vaccines.
The international community should coordinate a push for progress in research for vaccines and treatment, they said.
Lahad warned that under the current circumstances, “vaccines will be distributed unevenly, not according to morbidity but according to financial or manufacturing abilities.”
Still, he said the above-mentioned situation could be avoided with firm international resolve, adding that global leaders must not be shortsighted when dealing with this global issue.
The experts also called on countries to set the same standard on pre-travel testing, and to form a common policy on how to compensate people who were and may still be hit by travel bans and flight cancellations.
“Now is the time to begin working,” Lahad said, adding, “there should be an international summit with experts from all countries that will manage the crisis before a second wave.”
“The WHO needs to improve its operative multi-national arm,” suggested Gamzu, calling for solidarity among the members of the global agency.
Washington using pandemic to pursue unilateralism, play blame games — experts
The U.S. administration led by President Donald Trump is taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue unilateral policies while pinning the blame for a mismanaged national health emergency on others, said experts from Latin America.
Trump has repeatedly tried to scapegoat the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming the United States is paying the price for the agency’s mishandling of the pandemic, Guatemalan political observer and former diplomat Manuel Villacorta told Xinhua.
At a time when the international community should be more united than ever, Trump is pulling the United States out of the WHO citing the global body’s alleged mishandling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, said Villacorta, describing the move as a grave error.
In fact, the U.S. handling of the health emergency has been “devastating,” he said, noting upwards of 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, more than any other country, and 40 million Americans have lost their jobs and numerous businesses have gone under.
“That’s why President Trump is looking to blame someone else. First he did it with China and now he’s doing it with the WHO — an unprecedented political mistake,” said Villacorta, who served as Guatemala’s ambassador to Israel.
Not only did Washington drop the ball on taking timely preventive measures, but its inaction shows that the United States is not leading a global initiative of this kind, said Argentine political columnist Andres Oppenheimer.
What Washington has done is using the pandemic as an excuse to unilaterally fast-track deportations of undocumented immigrants across the border into Mexico, without considering the health implications amid the pandemic.
A so-called “expedited removal,” which allows authorities to deport immigrants without going through the normal legal process of holding hearings before an immigration judge, began on March 21. In a few weeks, about 10,000 immigrants, many from Central America, had been deported to Mexico.
The prestigious El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (El Colef), a Mexican research center that studies Mexico-U.S. border issues, recently warned that “the United States‘ unilateral and rapid deportations of migrants to Mexico at late hours of the night make it difficult to provide these migrants with a medical check-up and follow-up, and raise the possibility that infected persons are entering the country.”
“For President Trump … migrants have always been scapegoats for everything,” said Masferrer.
Spotlight: Turkish health experts call for vigilance amid reopening of restaurants
Turkey has taken an important step towards normalization on Monday, allowing restaurants, cafes and many shops to reopen after more than two months of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, but health specialists call for vigilance.
Restaurants and cafes were permitted to serve customers again, as long as they adhere to physical distancing rules established by the health ministry.
Museums, some gyms and pools, and also public parks also opened their doors. Worshippers were allowed to return to mosques for prayers, wearing masks and obeying distancing rules.
Istanbul’s landmarks, the Grand Bazaar and the ottoman Topkapi palace, have begun to receive visitors.
Despite cloudy weather following a rainy weekend, many young people returned to the cafes in downtown Ankara.
“We have been waiting for this day for a long time, we really want to go to normal life, as possible as we can. It is difficult to stay at home when the weather is so good (in previous weeks),” Ece Tekin, a university student, told Xinhua in a shop located on the busy Tunali Hilmi Avenue.
The young women, who was sipping coffee with a mask under her chin, said that she was still alert about the situation.
“I will try to make the best of this time because I don’t know if it will last. People are talking of a new wave of outbreak, I hope it will not be the case and hopefully we will wake up from what seems a science fiction movie,” she said.
The restaurant staff are required to wear masks and gloves. Social distancing rules also limited the businesses to run at around 50 percent capacity.
“It’s hot and wearing with this protective gear is not easy, but we must do, at least the customers are back,” said a waiter. “Although we cannot accommodate them all, we are glad to be back and trying to adapt to this.”
Tables were also moved further apart and disinfectants were placed on them.
In the Segmenler and Kugulu parks located nearby, people were enjoying timid rays of sunshine, but some of them were not wearing masks.
The two-month lockdown brings significant setback for most of the restaurants and cafes, which were already hit by high inflation before the outbreak.
Some shops have closed in downtown Kizilay, as they were unable to afford the rent and personnel wages during the lockdown.
“We must remain vigilant and wear masks when we go outside. Whether there will be a resurgence depends on how we are protecting ourselves and others. We can do it if we abide by three rules: masks, distancing and hygiene,” tweeted professor Tevfik Ozlu, a virologist and member of the Coronavirus Science Board.
Some citizens and scientists are uneasy about the progress of normalization, which they argued is too fast as daily infections numbers are still around 800-900.
“While the outbreak is not fully under control, opening kindergartens, shopping centers and gyms, which are common places, poses a serious risk,” said public health expert Tugrul Erbaydar.
“This normalization is going too fast,” he stressed, hoping that the country doesn’t return back “to square one” in its fight against the coronavirus.
Chinese medical experts awarded by Serbia for assistance in fighting COVID-19
The medals were awarded by Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin to the three members, who arrived on May 4 to replace their colleagues.
Following the award ceremony, Cheng Shouzhen, a member of the Chinese medical team, said the team has toured many places in Serbia, such as COVID-19 hospitals, elderly care facilities, and child care centers.
“We shared our experience gained in China and especially in Wuhan. We openly exchanged suggestions and opinions in line with the current epidemiological situation about treatment of patients, abolition of the state of emergency, gradual return to work and restarting production, as well as opening borders,” she said.
“The Chinese expert medical team to Serbia became a symbol of the friendship between our two countries,” Chen said.
Chinese medical experts in Sudan hold video conference about COVID-19
Workers from Chinese companies and Chinese people living in Sudan participated in the video conference, during which Chinese medical experts answered questions related to the coronavirus and introduced the personal protection measures.
“We are paying attention to the collection of questions and give more video exchanges in recent days,” Zhou Lin, the expert team leader, told Xinhua.
On May 30, the medical experts were divided into two groups for the anti-coronavirus mission in Sudan. One of them provided an on-site training for the Chinese doctors from Omdurman Friendship Hospital of Sudan.
The other group went to an office of a Chinese company in Sudan to give an on-site training to the staff.
In late March, the Chinese Embassy in Sudan donated over 400,000 surgical masks to the Sudanese government.
Experts call for inclusive slums upgrade in Lagos,other cities
Some experts on Saturday called for the upgrade of slums in Nigeria through sustained efforts to build resilient cities that would enhance good health and welfare of the residents.
The theme of the meeting was: `’Cities beyond Pandemic’’.
They urged leaders in Lagos State and across the country to plan for inclusive urban settlements that would reduce migration,tackle infrastructure problems, and avert spread of diseases from overcrowding.
The experts also called for sustained slums upgrade plans for local communities that would make electricity, education, transportation, security, employment and mass housing availalable to the residents.
In her presentation, Chiara Tomaselli, the Urban Resilience Project Manager, Resilience, Sixense Engineering, Paris, stressed the need for knowledge to face the uncertainties of COVID-19.
Tomaselli ,who spoke on: “Managing Cities Development Need in Post Pandemic’’, said that ignorance and limited resources were some of the challenges facing African cities in preventing outbreak of diseases.
She called on African leaders to immediately begin to address underlying issue of infrastructure deficit that had given rise to urban slums.
Tomaselli commended the Lagos State Government’s response to COVID-19,adding that it was important for the state to build urban resilience that would provide good transportation,health and other needs for her citizens.
“We need to increase mobility without compromising health issues. Mobility shouldn’t ignore climate change.
“Also public health capturing in urban metropolitan area is important to curb the transmission of the virus. Improper water and sanitation also lead to outbreaks, ” she said.
She, however, warned that realistic planning should capture the most vulnerable people through adequate provision of affordable food, shelter and other basic needs.
“We have to know that cities are places of opportunities and they will keep growing,” she said.
Also, Mr Nelson De Lamare, a climate change expert, emphasised the importance of the local government in driving clean climate agenda that would have direct impact on a healthy environment.
He, however, noted that the difference in carbon emissions was not so visible in Lagos because of inadequate power supply which had increased the use of generators inspite of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Fighting climate change does not only require behavioural changes but also systemic changes,” he said.
Lamare listed other causes of climate change linked to human action, and called for a need to reduce both the COVID-19 curve and that of global warming for more resilient cities.
Lamare said that town planners should be at the forefront of driving resilient cities agenda while calling for political will on the part of leaders to evolve and implement policies.
“Post pandemic recovery plans must tackle the climate crisis by improving how cities are built, organised and used, by adjusting policies towards greener and cleaner economies and increasing resilience to future crisis.
“Mainstream climate mitigation and adaptation properties in stimulus packages and investments to recover from the crisis, while setting accompanying measures for the most vulnerable groups who may be disproportionately affected,’’ he said.
Okunlola said that the crisis had presented opportunities for town planners to drive the agenda of tackling challenges of urbanisation and urban slums.
He gave statistics of COVID-19 incidences and fatalities in countries and compared the figures with Ebola crisis, and called for focus on how cities develop and enforce planning to remove pressure on infrastructure.
He called for a new city plan that would capture the informal sector and the poor to accommodate changing travel, shopping and work lifestyles of urban dwellers.
An architect,Mr Jorgen Andersen, who spoke on “Pandemics and Planning in African Cities’’ also noted the huge infrastructure deficit due to lack of sustained planning.
Andersen, an associate professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Denmark, made slide presentations of poor living densities of various African communities including Mokoko in Lagos State, vunerable to COVID-19 infection.
According to him, most of the inhabitants lived and worked in the informal economy in compact settlements and houses which make social distancing impossible.
“How can you have social distancing when we live in settings like this, how can you go into self isolation if you are living in a condition like this. This is a challenge for regional and urban planners.
“In order to build better cities preparing for future pandemics, communities should be carried along to become involved, upgrade slums.
“Planning is governance and governance is about interest ,and it should capture the ordinary people,’’ he said.
Edited /Peter Dada
Experts on U.S. filing frivolous lawsuits against China over COVID-19
The law only protects the legitimate right of action and reasonable demands, said Huang Huikang, a member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations.
Making false accusations and frivolous lawsuits are against the principles of equity and justice, and will disrupt social order and waste judicial resources, Huang noted in an article carried by Thursday’s Guangming Daily, adding that such acts have always been banned by laws of various countries.
Huang called such accusations and lawsuits a “political farce” and voiced against politicizing the pandemic.
China, where COVID-19 was first identified, has made valuable contributions to the fight against the virus and the protection of rights to life and health, said Liu Huawen, vice-director of the Institute of International Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In an article published in Friday’s Guangming Daily, Liu said considering that source tracing of the virus has not seen notable progress, some U.S. politicians and a small number of legal figures are already eager to shift the blame to China, blatantly violating the principle of state immunity, which is also acknowledged by the U.S. laws and legal precedents.
China and the Chinese government are exempt from the jurisdiction of other country’s courts, meaning that they cannot be listed as defendants in such lawsuits, said Xu Guojian, a lawyer based in Shanghai, in an article in Friday’s Legal Daily.
It makes no sense for serious and scrupulous legal workers to file lawsuits against China merely based on media reports and ideas from academic papers, said Xu.
Greece-China cooperation under BRI will progress despite COVID-19 pandemic: officials, experts
After the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, China reiterated during the just-concluded “Two Sessions” its determination to further increase trade and investment ties with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Greek officials, experts and entrepreneurs told Xinhua here in recent interviews that Greece-China cooperation under the BRI will undoubtedly progress with strong momentum to the benefit of both sides.
“I said from the first moment this crisis broke out that we will not allow COVID-19 to harm Greece-China relations,” Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development and Investment, wrote in a written statement to Xinhua.
“We believe in the ties between the two countries. We appreciate China as a true friend of Greece and a significant investor in our country… All our investment plans continue normally, and we are waiting for our Chinese friends to continue with even greater momentum,” he noted.
The Greek minister also expressed his admiration for the way in which the Chinese government has dealt with the pandemic, stressing that this global crisis affects all of humanity regardless of race, nationality or religion, and that “all together humanity will move forward.”
China‘s COSCO Shipping Taurus docks at Piraeus port, Greece, Feb. 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
China‘s COSCO Shipping Taurus docks at Piraeus port, Greece, Feb. 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
Nicolas A. Vernicos, vice chair of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, and Fotis Provatas, chairman of the Chamber of Greek-Chinese Economic Cooperation, highlighted the success of the flagship investment project of China‘s COSCO Shipping in Piraeus, Greece‘s largest port, over the past decade, saying they were confident that Greece and China will take further steps to boost bilateral economic cooperation.
The image of the Port of Piraeus has improved drastically in recent years through a series of upgrades that continue this year despite the novel coronavirus challenge.
In the framework of China‘s new Maritime Silk Road project under the BRI, Greece and the Port of Piraeus — which under Chinese management has become the largest container port in the Mediterranean — provide a secure hub for Chinese traders and investors in the countries of the central, southern and eastern Europe as well as in the countries of the Mediterranean, Vernicos and Provatas noted.
“We are working intensively to create a great ‘Mediterranean Silk Road Alliance‘ in our region that will unite the most active entrepreneurial organizations in our broader area to support, enforce and guarantee the BRI‘s development policies,” they said.
Vasilis Trigkas, research fellow at the Belt & Road Strategy Centre at China‘s Tsinghua University, was also confident that the BRI will move forward to the benefit of all its participants.
Photo taken on Nov. 7, 2019 shows the Piraeus Port in Greece. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)
Photo taken on Nov. 7, 2019 shows the Piraeus Port in Greece. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)
The sector, which helped pull Greece out of the bailouts era in the past decade, has suffered a significant blow this year due to the pandemic. The summer season will start with a delay and the country will most likely not manage to break a new record for arrivals, as it did in previous years.
Considering that both China and Greece have managed to limit the scale of the pandemic within their territories, there is a great opportunity for Chinese tourists to make Greece their No.1 summer destination, especially since Greece will be the safest destination in Europe, Trigkas stressed.
Fanis Soulis, a tour operator who over the past eight years has been living and working in Beijing and continues to help enhance bilateral cooperation in tourism, has no doubt that this is a great opportunity for both sides.
“China has been the world‘s largest market in outbound tourism since 2012, growing at a fast rate over the last decades. As a tourism professional working in China for many years, I can reassure you that the majority of Chinese travelers favor and think highly of Greece as a tourism destination,” he told Xinhua.
In order to make the most of this opportunity, Soulis suggested that Greece should modify its planning and operational model when it comes to attracting and welcoming Chinese travelers. He proposed, for example, more promotional campaigns targeting Chinese travelers’ special needs and introducing lesser-known destinations across Greece. ■
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- Vietnam’s automobile import down 29.7% in 5 months
- Vietnam aims to make 5G service universal by 2030
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- India COVID-19 death toll rises to 6,075 as total cases reach 216,919
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- S.Korea reports 39 more COVID-19 cases, 11,629 in total
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- United States crude oil refinery inputs increase last week: EIA
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- Turkey’s aquarium boosts hygiene measures against COVID-19
- Libya’s UN-backed government forces take over Tripoli International Airport
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- Tunisian PM says urgent solutions needed for economic recovery
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- Palestine records 6 new COVID-19 cases, extends state of emergency
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- Oyo govt. to establish agency for PLWDs
- Edo Guber primaries: APC generates N135m from sale of forms
- Maggi launches novel website for African dishes, embellishes Yelo Pèppè drama
- UN chief calls for solidarity in response to COVID-19
- Israeli scientists directly observe light flow using unique quantum microscope
- Technologist tasks public officers on honesty
- Morocco reports 56 new COVID-19 cases, 7,922 in total
- COVID-19: Jigawa govt. extends work-from-home order by 2 weeks
- Yuguda pledges to prioritise investors’ protection
- Google removes app from India Play store that deletes Chinese apps
- Egypt announces new oil discovery in Western Desert
- United States factory orders extend decline in April
- 10 vessels expected at Delta ports, says NPA
- Deregistration: INEC asks court to dismiss 31 political parties’ application
- Nigeria’s proven gas reserve now 203.16tcf, says DPR
- Stakeholders urge FG to increase epidemic funding
- Clinic trial of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients to continue: WHO
- Red Cross, Facebook to launch digital campaign against COVID-19
- Cyprus proceeds with phase 3 of lockdown easing
- Libya officials hold talks abroad amid fears of more fighting
- Developed countries urged to lift sanctions, offer debt relief amid COVID-19
- Earthquake jolts Indonesia’s Bali, no tsunami alert issued
- New United States restrictions on 33 Chinese firms, institutions take effect June 5
- Justice, fair play to workers remain our priority – Oyo TUC
- United States to bar Chinese passenger airlines from June 16
- COVID-19: NCoS reopens custodial centres to admit offenders
- 10 vessels expected at Delta ports– NPA
- Stock market appreciates N13bn
- Number of COVID-19 cases rise to 316 in Mozambique
- UNECA projects COVID-19 could push 29 million Africans into extreme poverty
- Bank of Canada announces unchanged interest rate
- UNGA President urges investment in cycling infrastructure
- Covid-19: Rotary Club donates food items to 200 widows in Plateau
- Over 110 Hand sanitisers production Coys registered in Nigeria- NAFDAC
- Spain reports steep increase in coronavirus cases, one new death
- Ondo 2020: Okunomo, PDP governorship aspirant, picks party’s nomination form
- UK to go ahead with 2-week quarantine for new arrivals despite potential impact: home secretary
- Union urges dialogue between Agric Ministry, contractors over contract liability
- Ekiti: COVID-19 cases rise to 25
- UN, int’l humanitarian movement call for “people’s vaccine” against COVID-19
- 5.7-magnitude quake hits 166 km N of Labuan Lombok, Indonesia — USGS
- Dozens arrested in France as protests over death of black Frenchman turn violent
- Somalia confirms 57 new COVID-19 cases, tally hits 2,146
- Lagos Taskforce recovers stolen goats from abandoned vehicle