The French government and medical unions on Monday signed off on a deal to boost the pay of hospital staff, after they were hailed as heroes during the coronavirus epidemic.
The “historic” deal would involve an extra 7.6 billion euros (8.6 billion dollars) yearly, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
Some 1.5 million workers would get net raises of 183 euros monthly, and pay scales for some groups, such as nurses and nursing aides, would also be revised, Veran said.
President Emmanuel Macron promised in March to come up with “a massive plan” to invest in hospitals and better reward health professionals once the epidemic was over.
The president got a heated reception from staff on several visits to hospitals during the crisis.
Many emergency departments had been on strike for months, complaining of poor facilities, low pay for some staff and lack of funding.
The group behind the strike at emergency departments has already rejected the latest deal as inadequate and is calling for a protest in Paris on Tuesday, France’s national holiday.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Bayelsa Govt. promises safety of students as schools reopen Aug.5
Bayelsa Government says it is taking steps to ensure that schools are safe to allow final year students to resume and participate in external examinations as directed by the Federal Government.
Messrs Freston Akpor and Walter Liverpool, Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Information and Education, respectively assured that the government was doing its best to protect students and teachers.
They said that government was already fumigating schools across the state as well as providing hand washing facilities and urged parents and communities to complement the efforts of the government.
Akpor, who is a member of the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, said that Gov. Douye Diri of the state who chairs the Task Force had approved the deployment of health professionals to schools while temporary isolation facilities would be put in place in schools.
“The government of Bayelsa has been working to get our schools ready and safe for our children and that is why we have scheduled a train the trainers programme to acquaint schools with COVID-19 safety protocols.
“The essence is to build capacity of our people and update them with the guidelines from the Federal Government on the reopening of schools that is why we are taking our time and shifted the resumption for final year students to Aug. 5.
“Government is providing face masks, infrared thermometers and access to water for schools without water supply, alternative arrangements are in place and we are poised to check the spread of the coronavirus.
“In view of the questionable and low quality of hand sanitisers, we are emphasising frequent hand washing with soap and water and we appeal to members of the public as well as parents and guardians to complement the efforts government is making.
“Parents should for example provide additional face masks for their wards so that for instance when they wash the ones provided in schools, they can have a spare one,” Akpor said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government has scheduled a COVID-19 prevention training programme for private and public schools to ensure safety protocols are complied with when schools resume on Aug 5.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Obike Ukoh (NAN)
China’s manufacturing sector shows strong recovery – Survey
China’s manufacturing activity expanded in July at the fastest pace in almost a decade, according to a private survey released on Monday, though employment continued to drop in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 52.8 for July, compared to 51.2 in June.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while one below shows contraction.
The survey indicates the quickest monthly expansion of manufacturing output and new orders since January 2011.
Meanwhile, new business from overseas fell at the slowest rate in six months.
The index beat analysts’ expectations and comes as China has largely contained the coronavirus crisis and most companies have resumed operations.
Nevertheless, employment dropped for the seventh consecutive month.
While some companies hired more workers to meet production needs, others laid off employees to cut costs, the survey showed.
“To increase employment, manufacturers will need more time and confidence,” said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group.
Official manufacturing data released last week also indicated a recovery.
The official manufacturing PMI came in at 51.1 in July compared to 50.9 in June.
China’s economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of the year, according to official data, after contracting 6.8 per cent in the first quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Study finds people can transmit coronavirus to cats, dogs
A study by Italian scientists has found that people can transmit the coronavirus SARS–COV-2 to cats and dogs.
The study tested 540 dogs and 277 cats living in households in northern Italy, particularly in Lombardy, where someone was infected with the virus or in areas where there were many cases.
The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, found coronavirus antibodies in 3.4 per cent of dogs and 3.9 per cent of cats, indicating they were infected with the virus.
Swab tests for active virus infections were negative in all animals, as the virus shedding period ended after two weeks.
The tests were conducted between March and May of this year.
Thomas Mettenleiter, leader of the German Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI), said the results showed that the virus could be transmitted between humans and animals.
“This confirms what we already know,” Mettenleiter said, adding that the large scale of the study was unprecedented as it was difficult to get samples.
According to Mettenleiter, most animals in the study came from households affected by the coronavirus, indicating that infection is generally transmitted from humans to animals.
People, who are infected with the virus, however, should limit their contact with their pets, although there are no indications so far that animals can die of the coronavirus, according to Mettenleiter.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Tougher COVID-19 measures as Melbourne closes retail shops, pubs
Tougher new measures have been announced in the COVID-19-ravaged Australian city of Melbourne, with retail businesses, shops, pubs, and hotels shut down amid rising coronavirus cases.
“All Victorians are required to work from home, except where this is not practicable,” state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.
All retail business, pubs and hotels, as well as manufacturing, will stop operations from 11:59 pm (1359 GMT) on Wednesday for six weeks to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 community transmission, Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
“Retail will look very different than it has ever looked,” he said.
Only essential shops, like supermarkets, groceries, fuel suppliers, pharmacies and post offices, are to remain open. Some of the shops will be able to offer “click and collect” services or delivery.
Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, is Australia’s second-most populous city.
It has been hit by a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic since June.
Thirteen people died from coronavirus overnight, driving the state toll to 136 and the national toll to 221, Andrews announced, with 429 new cases of the disease, with a vast majority of them being in Melbourne.
On Sunday, a “state of disaster” was announced, along with a slew of strict six-week-long restrictions, including a night curfew from 8 pm to 5 am in Melbourne, with on-the-spot fine of 1,652 dollars (1,179 US dollars) for anyone breaching it.
Residents can also not travel more than 5 kilometres from home to shop for groceries or exercise.
The state parliament has been suspended.
All recreational activities and weddings have been banned.
While the use of face masks is compulsory, restrictions are in place until Sept. 13.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)