Connect with us

General news

Global coronavirus cases exceeds 500,000 as SA tops chart in Africa

Published

on

 With over 40 African countries currently battling with confirmed COVID-19 cases, South Africa tops the chart of the deadly virus within the continent as shown in data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the John Hopkins University tally indicates that South Africa holds the top spot in African countries with 927 cases, surpassing Egypt which previously had the highest number of cases.

As at the time of filing this report on Friday,  Egypt has a total number of 495 in confirmed cases followed by 367 cases in Algeria.

Also figures released by worldometers.infoon fatalities indicate that Algeria  currently has the highest number of deaths with 25 followed closely by Egypt with 24 deaths while South  Africa has recorded zero deaths.

The worldometers.info tally shows that Egypt has the highest number of recovered cases with 102, with Algeria and South Africa recording 29 and 12 recovered cases respectively.

Other countries with over 100 confirmed cases as indicated by John Hopkins University and worldometers.info include Morocco with 275 infected persons, Tunisia 197, Burkina Faso 152, Ghana 132 and Senegal recording 105 in infected persons.

Country with least number of confirmed cases within the continent is Libya with only one infected person, while Somalia and Guinea Bissau have two recorded cases each.

Other African countries with confirmed cases of the  novel conronavirus are Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Kenya, Rwanda, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mali, Liberia, Congo and Central Africa Republic.

NAN also reports that Nigeria has not remained unaffected by the raging pandemic with 65 confirmed cases including three recovered cases and one death.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday evening reported additional 14 new cases.

The NCDC on its official Twitter page, @NCDCgov, said that the confirmed cases were recorded in Lagos, Bauchi and the FCT.

“Fourteen new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: 1 in FCT, 1 in Bauchi and 12 in Lagos.

“Of the 14, 6 were detected on a vessel, 3 are returning travellers ans 2 are close contacts of confirmed cases,” the agency tweeted.

The NCDC in its #TakeResponsibility campaign emphasised hand washing, self-isolation,  information sharing from official sources, avoiding large gatherings and social distancing to prevent and contain the virus.

NAN also reports that a total of 532, 788 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded worldwide, with US overtaking China, the original epicentre of the pandemic.

According to the John Hopkins University data, the death toll has hit 24,077 globally while the virus has spread to 176 countries.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

Oluwabukola Akanni: 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

Foreign

More African countries should heed UN call for global ceasefire: Guterres

Published

on

More African countries should heed the UN call for a global ceasefire to push back deadly COVID-19, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.

Marking Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963, the UN chief said in his message that the COVID-19 pandemic “threatens to derail progress” which would enable countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development targets set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

The AU has established a task force to develop a continent-wide strategy and appointed special envoys to mobilize international support, said the UN chief. Its Peace and Security Council has also taken steps to counter the negative impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of critical peace agreements and reconciliation efforts.

He noted that the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established a response fund, while African member states have undertaken “robust measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the socio-economic impacts.”

Guterres welcomed the AU’s support for his global ceasefire call, an imperative that also reflects the AU’s 2020 theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”

“Armed groups in Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan have responded to the call and declared unilateral ceasefires. I implore other armed movements and governments in Africa to do likewise. I also welcome the support of African countries for my call for peace in the home, and an end to all forms of violence, including against women and girls,” he added.

Some 20 African countries are scheduled to hold elections this year, some of which are likely to be postponed due to the pandemic, with potential consequences for stability and peace, noted the secretary-general.

“I urge African political actors to engage in inclusive and sustained political dialogue to ease tensions around elections and uphold democratic practices.”

Last week, the UN issued a policy brief outlining the impacts of the pandemic on the continent. “We are calling for debt relief and action to maintain food supplies, protect jobs and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings. African countries, like everyone, everywhere, should also have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment.”

An opportunity now exists, for African governments to “use this moment” to shape new policies that bolster health systems, improve social protection and pursue climate-friendly pathways, he said.

Targeting measures to those employed in the informal sector, the vast majority of whom are women, will be an important step to recovery, said Guterres, as will empowering women to ensure their full participation and leadership.

“The inclusion and leadership of young people will also be crucial every step of the way,” said Guterres.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Sri Lanka grants approval for global airlines, crew to use two airports

Published

on

Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAASL) said on Monday it had granted approval for the Mattala International Airport and the Ratmalana Airport for international airlines and corporate jets to carry out technical landings, refueling and crew rest options as airlines worldwide look to restart operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to CAASL Chairman Upul Dharmadasa, crew members who wish to halt over for a rest can do so at a predetermined nearest hotel to the relevant airport and shall maintain self-quarantine at the respective hotels.

Several health guidelines will, however, have to be maintained including that international crew members shall undergo thermal scanning at the airport and are strictly instructed to self-quarantine in their hotel rooms and have meals only through in-room dining until they operate the next flight out of the airport to their planned destinations under strict instructions given by the Ministry of Health and CAASL.

Crew members have also been advised to wear a mask when entering the airport and also when in contact with others while in the country.

Sri Lanka closed its international airports for passenger arrivals in March in order to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 as over 1,100 people have been infected to date.

Nine deaths have been reported from the virus in the country, the Health Ministry said.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Opinion: Post-pandemic world needs better globalization, not less

Published

on

Even at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the world, beef from New Zealand, red wine from Chile, and detergent from Germany remain just a click away to Chinese customers.

This offers a glimpse of how globalization has led to the creation of a highly integrated world web of interdependence and altered the way of living in many parts of this closely connected global community.

The ravaging pandemic, however, has jolted global supply chains and halted much of cross-border travels. It has also exposed once again some of globalization’s deep-seated deficiencies, and prompted many in academia, politics and the press to debate whether this marks the beginning of an end to this historic process.

It is not the first time that globalization has been questioned or assaulted in times of turbulence. Between the 2008 global financial crisis and this pandemic, sharp criticism against globalization was heard fueled by rising waves of trade protectionism and economic nationalism.

Thousands of demonstrators take part in a rally in Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, calling on the government to resign for the national financial crisis, Nov. 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)

Thousands of demonstrators take part in a rally in Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, calling on the government to resign for the national financial crisis, Nov. 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)

Nevertheless, being a natural process driven by the combined forces of technological breakthroughs, as well as the free flow of people and profit-thirsty capital, globalization has brought down trade and commerce barries, shrunk production costs, stimulated technological cooperation, integrated global markets and financial systems, created inestimable jobs and wealth, and raised living standards throughout the world over the centuries since the Age of Discovery.

These upsides of globalization are unmistakable, and will not be wiped out by a single global crisis. Arjun Appadurai, a U.S. globalization studies expert, argued in an opinion piece published by the Time magazine earlier this month that “globalization is here to stay,” and de-globalization efforts are no more than “wishful thinking.”

Thus the international community, instead of trying to turn inward and break away from each other, should come even closer and make globalization work better for everyone.

Pedestrians’ silhouettes are seen at the Apple store inside the Grand Central Terminal in New York, the United States, Nov. 30, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Pedestrians’ silhouettes are seen at the Apple store inside the Grand Central Terminal in New York, the United States, Nov. 30, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Pedestrians’ silhouettes

The first task should be for countries worldwide to make global production and supply chains more risk-resilient. This pandemic will not be the last one. Other unknown risks and new challenges are likely to emerge in the future.

While some Washington politicians are talking about reshoring the production of critical medical and technological supplies back to the United States, others like Shannon K. O’Neil, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that governments and boardrooms should add redundancies to the global manufacturing processes.

Information technologies have also been considered key to rendering future global supply chains more resilient. The World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested in an article published on its website last month that companies should stop recording data like ships’ cargo on paper, and start digitizing their supply chain processes so as to make sure critical information can always be available.

Whatever the proposals — reshoring, multi-sourcing or digitizing, China, with its comprehensive industrial advantages, will remain a critical part of any future global supply chains.

“I don’t think China‘s role as a major source of manufacturing is going to be eliminated. They will continue to be so,” said Morris Cohen, a professor at The Wharton School, told Deutsche Welle last month.

Photo taken on Jan. 7, 2020 shows China-produced sedans at Tesla’s gigafactory in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Photo taken on Jan. 7, 2020 shows China-produced sedans at Tesla’s gigafactory in Shanghai, east China.

(Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Secondly, the international community should jointly enhance global economic governance and further boost global free trade.

In mid-April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the global economy is on track to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020 due to COVID-19, probably the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

To forestall that nightmare scenario, governments should at the moment better coordinate their macro-economic policies so as to maintain market stability, prop up employment, conduct stimuli proportional to the ongoing pandemic, and restore global growth through such multilateral economic platforms as the Group of 20.

Also, they should give even stronger support to the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the core. Right now, because of Washington’s intentional obstruction, the WTO’s Appellate Body, which has arbitrated international trade disputes over the past 25 years to ensure fairness, has been left inquorate.

Photo taken on April 12, 2018 shows the abbreviation WTO on the wall of the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

Photo taken on April 12, 2018 shows the abbreviation WTO on the wall of the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

The Financial Times, a British newspaper, argued in a recent editorial that the WTO is needed more than ever so that it can “underpin the open global economy we will all need on the other side of the pandemic.”

The U.S. administration should curb its protectionist impulses, and actively and fully back the existing global economic governance system.

The third front should be strengthening international cooperation so that countries worldwide can better respond to their shared non-conventional security challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globalization is now far more than just economic integration. As the global village is highly interconnected, the human race needs to ramp up, not to dial down, trans-border cooperation in a bid to jointly tackle common challenges like deadly contagions, climate change, terrorism and cyber attacks, problems no country can solve single-handedly.

The most immediate mission should be stepping up global cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster the backbone-role the World Health Organization has been playing in coordinating global endeavor to beat humanity’s common enemy.

The fourth task is to make globalization more inclusive for all. The pandemic has further revealed that globalization has not turned out to be a rising tide lifting all boats, and that it could further widen the global gap between the rich and the poor.

In a WEF research report earlier this month, which focuses on epidemics like H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2012, and Zika in 2016, and traces out their distributional effects in the five years following each event, the Gini coefficient, a commonly-used index of inequality, has gone up by nearly 1.5 percent on average.

In the United States, the world‘s largest economy, the outbreak recession has kicked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of their jobs, while many are facing a dire choice between protecting their health or their jobs. Also, several racial minority groups account for a disproportionate number of the COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country largely due to lower living and working conditions as well as a lack of access to health care. In Wisconsin alone, a U.S. state with a 6-percent Black population, African Americans account for about half of its outbreak fatalities, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

A man rides bicycle passing by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., the United States, on May 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

A man rides bicycle passing by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., the United States, on May 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The pandemic offers decision-makers worldwide a chance to bridge those wealth and health gaps through refashioning policies like reordering tax codes, introducing universal health care coverage, and promoting common development through international cooperation in regions like Africa and the Middle East so as to make sure that the dividends of globalization can be shared by all global villagers.

Following the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage markets in 2007, shock waves swept financial sectors in all corners of the world, and the most serious financial tsunami since the Great Depression of the 1930s kicked in. Globalization then encountered a major setback. Yet despite all the second-guessing about it at that time, countries worldwide rose to the occasion and jointly steered the global economy through the uncharted waters and back onto the track of recovery.

Buyers talk with an exhibitor at the 126th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China‘s Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2019. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

Buyers talk with an exhibitor at the 126th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China‘s Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2019. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

“Our fractured world needs agile governance and smarter globalization,” Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the WEF, once said.

The world will never be the same when this pandemic comes to an end, and neither will the process of globalization. The human race has every reason to repeat what they did in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and work together to help this unstoppable trend take a turn for the better.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Commentary: Post-pandemic world needs better globalization, not less

Published

on

Even at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the world, beef from New Zealand, red wine from Chile, and detergent from Germany remain just a click away to Chinese customers.

This offers a glimpse of how globalization has led to the creation of a highly integrated world web of interdependence and altered the way of living in many parts of this closely connected global community.

The ravaging pandemic, however, has jolted global supply chains and halted much of cross-border travels. It has also exposed once again some of globalization’s deep-seated deficiencies, and prompted many in academia, politics and the press to debate whether this marks the beginning of an end to this historic process.

It is not the first time that globalization has been questioned or assaulted in times of turbulence. Between the 2008 global financial crisis and this pandemic, sharp criticism against globalization was heard fueled by rising waves of trade protectionism and economic nationalism.

Nevertheless, being a natural process driven by the combined forces of technological breakthroughs, as well as the free flow of people and profit-thirsty capital, globalization has brought down trade and commerce barries, shrunk production costs, stimulated technological cooperation, integrated global markets and financial systems, created inestimable jobs and wealth, and raised living standards throughout the world over the centuries since the Age of Discovery.

These upsides of globalization are unmistakable, and will not be wiped out by a single global crisis. Arjun Appadurai, a U.S. globalization studies expert, argued in an opinion piece published by the Time magazine earlier this month that “globalization is here to stay,” and de-globalization efforts are no more than “wishful thinking.”

Thus the international community, instead of trying to turn inward and break away from each other, should come even closer and make globalization work better for everyone.

The first task should be for countries worldwide to make global production and supply chains more risk-resilient. This pandemic will not be the last one. Other unknown risks and new challenges are likely to emerge in the future.

While some Washington politicians are talking about reshoring the production of critical medical and technological supplies back to the United States, others like Shannon K. O’Neil, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that governments and boardrooms should add redundancies to the global manufacturing processes.

Information technologies have also been considered key to rendering future global supply chains more resilient. The World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested in an article published on its website last month that companies should stop recording data like ships’ cargo on paper, and start digitizing their supply chain processes so as to make sure critical information can always be available.

Whatever the proposals — reshoring, multi-sourcing or digitizing, China, with its comprehensive industrial advantages, will remain a critical part of any future global supply chains.

“I don’t think China‘s role as a major source of manufacturing is going to be eliminated. They will continue to be so,” said Morris Cohen, a professor at The Wharton School, told Deutsche Welle last month.

Secondly, the international community should jointly enhance global economic governance and further boost global free trade.

In mid-April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the global economy is on track to contract sharply by 3 percent in 2020 due to COVID-19, probably the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

To forestall that nightmare scenario, governments should at the moment better coordinate their macro-economic policies so as to maintain market stability, prop up employment, conduct stimuli proportional to the ongoing pandemic, and restore global growth through such multilateral economic platforms as the Group of 20.

Also, they should give even stronger support to the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the core. Right now, because of Washington’s intentional obstruction, the WTO’s Appellate Body, which has arbitrated international trade disputes over the past 25 years to ensure fairness, has been left inquorate.

The Financial Times, a British newspaper, argued in a recent editorial that the WTO is needed more than ever so that it can “underpin the open global economy we will all need on the other side of the pandemic.”

The U.S. administration should curb its protectionist impulses, and actively and fully back the existing global economic governance system.

The third front should be strengthening international cooperation so that countries worldwide can better respond to their shared non-conventional security challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globalization is now far more than just economic integration. As the global village is highly interconnected, the human race needs to ramp up, not to dial down, trans-border cooperation in a bid to jointly tackle common challenges like deadly contagions, climate change, terrorism and cyber attacks, problems no country can solve single-handedly.

The most immediate mission should be stepping up global cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster the backbone-role the World Health Organization has been playing in coordinating global endeavor to beat humanity’s common enemy.

The fourth task is to make globalization more inclusive for all. The pandemic has further revealed that globalization has not turned out to be a rising tide lifting all boats, and that it could further widen the global gap between the rich and the poor.

In a WEF research report earlier this month, which focuses on epidemics like H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2012, and Zika in 2016, and traces out their distributional effects in the five years following each event, the Gini coefficient, a commonly-used index of inequality, has gone up by nearly 1.5 percent on average.

In the United States, the world‘s largest economy, the outbreak recession has kicked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of their jobs, while many are facing a dire choice between protecting their health or their jobs. Also, several racial minority groups account for a disproportionate number of the COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country largely due to lower living and working conditions as well as a lack of access to health care. In Wisconsin alone, a U.S. state with a 6-percent Black population, African Americans account for about half of its outbreak fatalities, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

The pandemic offers decision-makers worldwide a chance to bridge those wealth and health gaps through refashioning policies like reordering tax codes, introducing universal health care coverage, and promoting common development through international cooperation in regions like Africa and the Middle East so as to make sure that the dividends of globalization can be shared by all global villagers.

Following the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage markets in 2007, shock waves swept financial sectors in all corners of the world, and the most serious financial tsunami since the Great Depression of the 1930s kicked in. Globalization then encountered a major setback. Yet despite all the second-guessing about it at that time, countries worldwide rose to the occasion and jointly steered the global economy through the uncharted waters and back onto the track of recovery.

“Our fractured world needs agile governance and smarter globalization,” Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the WEF, once said.

The world will never be the same when this pandemic comes to an end, and neither will the process of globalization. The human race has every reason to repeat what they did in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and work together to help this unstoppable trend take a turn for the better.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Kipchoge likens global pandemic to running marathon uphill

Published

on

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has likened the struggle athletes are enduring during the COVID-19 pandemic to running a marathon on an uphill course.

Kipchoge, who plans to run a course record in the London Marathon in October, said he has maintained a strict training program despite doing it alone at home.

The Olympic marathon champion, who has not lost a single race since 2013, when he was beaten by then-world record holder Wilson Kipsang in Berlin, said he is keen to defend his titles in London and at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, he said athletes must become innovative to overcome the challenges caused by the coronavirus.

“I’m a marathoner, and the marathon is like life,” Kipchoge said on Sunday from Eldoret. “We have many courses in the world: flat courses, uphill and downhill, and this period of COVID-19 is like an uphill course, where we need to live in a slow way, in a positive way, in order to finish the race well.”

Kipchoge said while he misses group training, he has adjusted his program to focus more on strength work and long runs rather than speed and tactics.

Kipchoge has been on the frontline to help athletes in vulnerable positions. He has partnered with the Kenyan government and enlisting the support of his sponsors to deliver food packages to lower-level athletes in the country, to give them the fuel required to continue their training and help their families.

“Our country right now is total upside down,” Kipchoge said. He has proved the power of sport to be a role model when needed most.

“We have many athletes in Kenya, and for 80 percent of them, is participating in races in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania regions for financial means. That’s what they were relying on. So last week, we provided about 70 athletes from five counties in Kenya with food for the whole month,” said Kipchoge.

However, despite the hunger to return to competition, Kipchoge advised athletes to stay strong and remain positive as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

General news

Sallah: APC stalwart calls for prayers against global challenges

Published

on

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Saliu Mustapha, has called for prayers by Muslims for an end to the prevailing global challenges.

Mustapha made the call in a statement issued on Saturday in Ilorin while felicitating with Muslims on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.

The former APC gubernatorial aspirant in Kwara urged Muslims to allow the lessons of the period to continue to reflect in their dealings.

According to him, only total submission to the will of Allah could end the challenges bedeviling the world.

The initiator of the Saliu Mustapha Foundation admonished Muslim faithful never to return to sinful ways after the holy month.

He also admonished wealthy individuals to always give charity to the poor in their neighborhood to alleviate their sufferings.

The APC stalwart said that the call for the rich to deploy their wealth for the purpose of providing succor for the poor became necessary in the face of the untold hardship unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the country.

“Let me also call on Muslim Ummah to strengthen their worship in Allah, repent from sins and sustain the lessons of piety, patriotism and generosity learnt during the Ramadan period.

“We thank Almighty Allah for sparing our lives, especially Muslims to be counted among the living souls that completed this year’s Ramadan.

“This is a challenging time for all of us, let us assist the needy around us, pray for our leaders and be patriotic Nigerians.

“Our leaders presently need our support and prayers, I will urge you all to support the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the task of building a better Nigeria.

“Let us support all government’s policies and adhere strictly to all government’s guidelines in containing the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

“I congratulate Muslims in Nigeria, particularly those in Kwara, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari and the Council of Ulamas in Kwara.

“I greet our Islamic teachers that provided insightful sermons for us during the period and the entire people of Ilorin Emirate on the successful conclusion of the Ramadan fast,” Mustapha said.

(
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Interview: Chinese anti-COVID-19 engagement in Africa exemplary act of global solidarity: UN official

Published

on

Chinese engagement and support to African governments and Pan-African institutions, such as the African Union (AU), in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic should be emulated by countries across the globe as part of the global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior United Nations (UN) official said Saturday.

Speaking exclusively to Xinhua on Saturday, Antonio Pedro, Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Sub-regional Office for Central Africa, stressed that the global community should strengthen solidarity in order to effectively contend the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe as well as to build back better after the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECA Director, who emphasized the crucial imperative of deepening global solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, also singled out China as a major player in propelling the much-needed global partnership and collaboration towards combating the virus.

“We see the Chinese engagement and the support that it is providing to African governments and to the African Union in terms of access to medical supplies, masks and other things as part of the global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pedro told Xinhua on Saturday.

“This should be continued; and we very much look forward to see more and more countries to emulate the Chinese example because it’s only through global partnerships, with collaboration, and with supporting each other that we will be able to combat this virus,” he affirmed.

According to the ECA official, the global solidarity against the COVID-19 “is important because if we do not address the pandemic in Africa, it will affect the entire planet earth.”

The ECA official also stressed that the UNECA is exerting its efforts to engage with international financial institutions, the Group of 20 (G20) and others “in recognition to the fact that we need global engagement and global support with a view to address the impact of COVID-19.”

Pedro also singled out the South-South collaboration modality as an important global partnership platform in addressing the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular emphasis given to addressing the negative impacts of the pandemic on the socioeconomic and healthcare aspects of the African continent.

“The South-South collaboration modality as part of the global partnership is important to address this pandemic, especially in the context of Africa because of the vulnerabilities exacerbated by the COVID-19,” Pedro said.

The South-South cooperation a global platform that promotes an exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries.

The ECA director also stressed that the global solidarity against the COVID-19 “goes beyond the short term imperative of curing people that have been affected and ensuring that people don’t infected, but also building back better.”

According to the latest figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the African continent surpassed 103,933 as of Saturday, while the death toll also surpassed 3,183.

Some 41,473 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Saturday, according to the Africa CDC.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Global COVID-19 cases reported to WHO top 5 mln

Published

on

Globally as of Saturday morning, there have been more than 5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), the latest WHO dashboard on the disease showed.

According to the latest WHO figure, as of 9:32 a.m. Geneva time on Saturday, there have been 5,061,476 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 331,475 deaths, reported to WHO.

In the United States of America, the country hardest hit by the virus, from Jan. 20 to 9:32 a.m. CET of May 23, there have been 1,547,973 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 92,923 deaths.

The Russian Federation, the second worst hit country, has reported 326,448 confirmed cases with 3,249 deaths to the WHO from Jan. 31 to May 23.

In Brazil, now the third on the list of confirmed COVID-19 cases, has reported 310,087 cases with 20,047 deaths to the WHO from Feb. 26 to May 23.

That was followed by the United Kingdom and Spain. From Jan. 31 to Saturday, the two countries have reported respectively 250,912 and 233,037 confirmed cases to the WHO, with a death toll of 36,042 and 27,940, respectively.

In Italy, from Jan. 29 to Saturday, there have been 228,006 confirmed cases, with 32,486 deaths.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

China’s support to global anti-pandemic fight shows true leadership: UN official

Published

on

What China has done in supporting the international community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated “true leadership,” a high-ranking UN official said Friday.

China has done a tremendous work in containing the outbreak domestically,” Jorge Chediek, UN secretary general’s envoy on South-South Cooperation and director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), told Xinhua in an exclusive interview through email on Friday.

“Despite its own challenging situation, China has also provided support to over 150 countries and multilateral organizations through making available financial resources and dispatching technical expertise, as well as providing personal protective equipment, medical equipment and procurement and logistics assistance,” said Chediek.

The UNOSSC director also highly commended China‘s concrete measures pledged at the World Health Assembly to boost global fight against COVID-19, such as providing international aid.

A staff member transports medical supplies donated by the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee in Havana, Cuba, May 6, 2020. (Photo by Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua)

A staff member transports medical supplies donated by the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee in Havana, Cuba, May 6, 2020. (Photo by Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua)

“This is a demonstration of strong solidarity with the international community and true global leadership,” said Chediek.

Talking about the cooperation between UNOSSC and China, he said that his office has been working with the Chinese government in making available financial resources to support developing countries’ efforts in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are also working with many partners from China including the Alibaba Group … and many others, to coordinate knowledge exchanges among medical professionals on COVID-19 prevention and treatment between China and developing countries, and pledging and mobilizing donations of PPEs and medical equipment to developing country partners and institutions,” said Chediek.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

UN chief appoints Ojiambo of Kenya as Global Compact executive director

Published

on

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday appointed Sanda Ojiambo of Kenya as executive director of the UN Global Compact, the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.

As the second woman to be appointed in the role, Ojiambo will succeed Lise Kingo of Denmark.

Ojiambo, who assumes the role on June 17, will bring 20 years of experience to lead the Global Compact in its next phase to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders and bring the full weight of the private sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, said Guterres’ press office.

Ojiambo is a long-time business leader in Kenya. She holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota, the United States, and a Bachelor’s degree in economics and international development from McGill University, Canada.

Launched in July 2000, the UN Global Compact is the secretary-general’s strategic policy and advocacy initiative calling for the alignment of business operations and strategies with 10 universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

COVID-19 pandemic reaffirms need to protect global biodiversity, UN official says

Published

on

The COVID-19 pandemic reaffirms the urgency to protect global biodiversity, said Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Elizabeth Maruma Mrema on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Elizabeth expressed her hope that the COVID-19 pandemic could serve as a wake-up call for people to fix deteriorating relations with nature.

“Biodiversity loss presents a fundamental risk to the healthy and stable ecosystems that sustain all aspects of our societies,” she said, ahead of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) which falls on Friday.

Under theme of “Our solutions are in nature,” this year’s IBD highlights that biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges, such as climate change and food security.

“We must also address the underlying drivers of disease emergence, many of which also overlap with drivers of biodiversity loss,” she said.

“We need to better manage ecosystems to reduce the risks of infectious diseases, including zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, for example by avoiding ecosystem degradation, including deforestation, intensification of agriculture and livestock, human encroachment on natural habitats, resource extraction, prevention of invasive alien species, and limit or control human-wildlife contact,” Mrema said.

Mrema mentioned that linkages between biodiversity and human health have offered a broad range of opportunities for jointly protecting health and biodiversity, and for advancing human wellbeing.

“Going forward, we need an integrated, whole of government, whole of society approach to improve the way we manage the natural environment and interactions with human society,” said the executive secretary.

“We need what is known as a ‘One Health’ approach, where we are concerned with the health, or people, wild and domesticated animals, and the wider environment altogether,” she added.

The IDB was designed by the United Nations to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

China to draft food security plan amid global coronavirus epidemic

Published

on

China will draft and carry out, in 2020, a response plan for ensuring food security amid the global coronavirus pandemic, the country’s state planner said on Friday.

Beijing will also draw up a new national medium-to-long-term plan in the New Year to secure food supplies, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in an annual report to parliament.

The move came as the pandemic has roiled agriculture supply chains worldwide and threatened to trigger a potential food crisis.

Chinese authorities have urged state and private firms to boost inventories of major agriculture products like soybeans and corn to prepare for any further disruptions from the outbreak.

“It is imperative, and it is well within our ability, to ensure the food supply for 1.4 billion Chinese people through our own efforts,’’ China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, said to parliament.

China will keep total crop acreage and grain output stable in 2020, give more rewards to major grain producing counties, and raise the minimum purchase price of rice, Li said.

Chinese farmers plan to plant 70 million mu (4.6 million hectares or 11.4 million acres) of early rice this year, up by more than three million mu from a year ago, according to Premier Li.

A mu is a traditional unit used for land area.

While improving the management of grain reserves, China will take active measures to expand the capacity of grain silos for summer harvests, the state planner said.

China will continue to promote pig production recovery and strengthen the inspection and prevention of major animal diseases like African swine fever, according to the report.

The highly contagious disease, which has decimated China’s massive pig herd, remains a threat to hog production, but the country will not see a big increase in pork prices, Agriculture Minister, Han Changfu, said.

China will also diversify imports of major agricultural products and guarantee the stable supply of produce including grain, edible oil, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables, the NDRC said in its report.

The world’s top agriculture market relies on overseas markets for soybeans and has been seeking ways to increase imports of meats to plug a domestic supply gap after African swine fever slashed pork output.

China will also ensure the supply of seed, fertiliser, pesticide and farming machinery, Premier Li said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Feature: FAO promotes first Int’l Tea Day to help improve global health, fight poverty

Published

on

To promote tea consumption among the world‘s population, the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has spearheaded the effort to mark May 21 as the International Tea Day that falls on Thursday for the first time.

FAO said that the day was organized in part because of the health benefits of tea, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and also as a way to strengthen the economies of the main tea-producing countries, which are clustered in Asia and Africa.

“Welcome excellencies, dear guests, friends and tea lovers,” FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, said to open a virtual meeting of world leaders, economists, and tea industry figures called to mark International Tea Day.

Qu said, “this day is a proof that the United Nations recognizes the importance of tea”, adding that the economic benefits of tea as a crop were important. “Most tea is grown in poor areas, often mountainous areas that need the economic development that comes from tea.”

Calling the day’s activities a “celebration of life,” Qu called on the world to “celebrate tea and tea farmers and producers around the world.”

In a series of statements FAO furthered Qu’s remarks. “International Tea Day is an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage, health benefits, and economic importance of tea, while working to make its production sustainable from the fields where it is grown to individual teacups, ensuring its benefits for people, cultures, and the environment,” FAO said in a statement.

FAO further explained: “The tea industry is the main source of income and export revenues for some of the poorest countries and, as a labor-intensive sector, provides jobs, especially in remote and economically disadvantaged areas,” it said. “Tea can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction, and food security in developing countries, being one of the most important cash crops.”

Marco Bertona, president of the Italian Tea & Infusions Association — one of the main organizations that lobbied the United Nations and FAO to celebrate International Tea Day — said the double goal of improving health outcomes and aiding farmers in developing countries is an important combination.

“Tea is a healthy drink and it improves the quality of life for the people who drink it. And encouraging its use helps the economic prospects for tea farmers in poor and developing countries,” Bertona told Xinhua. “Promoting the use of tea spreads benefits.”

According to the statement from FAO, the origins of tea date back more than 5,000 years ago, in what is now southwest China, northern Myanmar, and northeastern India. Today, it is grown in more than 35 countries and more than 13 million people depend on tea in some way for their livelihoods.

International Tea Day, which will be celebrated annually going forward, is part of the United Nations’ far broader Millennium Development Goals, which seek to eradicate poverty and hunger, improve educational outcomes, combat disease, foster sustainability, and promote gender equality, among other areas.

According to FAO, International Tea Day addresses several of those points, including fighting poverty and hunger, empowering women, and sustainable development.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

UN launches global initiative to combat COVID-19 misinformation

Published

on

The United Nations on Thursday launched an initiative called “Verified” to counter COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information.

“We cannot cede our virtual spaces to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who announced the initiative. “Misinformation spreads online, in messaging apps and person to person. Its creators use savvy production and distribution methods. To counter it, scientists and institutions like the United Nations need to reach people with accurate information they can trust.”

Verified, led by the UN Department for Global Communications (DGC), will provide information around three themes: science, solidarity and solutions. It will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger, said the United Nations in a press release.

The initiative is calling on people around the world to sign up to become “information volunteers” to share trusted content to keep their families and communities safe and connected. The volunteers will receive a daily feed of verified content optimized for social sharing with simple, compelling messaging that either directly counters misinformation or fills an information void.

The DGC will partner with UN agencies and UN country teams, influencers, civil society, business and media organizations to distribute trusted, accurate content and work with social media platforms to root out hate and harmful assertions about COVID-19.

“In many countries, the misinformation surging across digital channels is impeding the public health response and stirring unrest. There are disturbing efforts to exploit the crisis to advance nativism or to target minority groups, which could worsen as the strain on societies grows and the economic and social fallout kicks in,” said Melissa Fleming, UN undersecretary-general for global communications.

COVID-19 is not just this century’s largest public health emergency, but also a communication crisis, Fleming told a virtual press briefing.

Over a quarter of the most viewed videos on Youtube about COVID-19 contained misleading information, Fleming said, quoting a recent study of the British Medical Journal. “Fiction is often circulating faster than fact.”

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Japan’s exports see steepest drop in 10 years in April as global pandemic takes toll

Published

on

Japan’s exports logged the steepest drop in April in more than 10 years as the coronavirus pandemic saw overseas demand slump amid global business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, the government said in a report Thursday.

According to the Finance Ministry, exports in the recording period plummeted 21.9 percent from a year earlier to 5.20 trillion yen (48.24 billion U.S. dollars), marking the 17th straight month of decline.

The decline marked the steepest drop since a 23.2-percent dive booked in October 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, the ministry’s data showed.

Imports, meanwhile, dropped 7.2 percent to 6.13 trillion yen, marking the 12th straight month of decline, owing to slumping purchases of crude oil and coal among other energy resources, according to the ministry’s preliminary report.

Japan’s goods trade deficit stood at 930.40 billion yen in the recording period, with the figure turning negative for the first time in three months, the latest data set also showed.

Exports to the United States fell 37.8 percent to 879.80 billion yen, owing to falling demand for cars and aircraft engines, the ministry said, adding that imports form the United States rose 1.6 percent to 698.63 billion yen, leading to a 181.17 billion yen deficit in the recording period.

Exports to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, fell 4.1 percent to 1.18 trillion yen, in the recording period, marking the fourth straight month of decline, the ministry said.

Imports from China, however, increased 11.7 percent to 1.73 trillion yen, leading to a trade deficit of 552.60 billion yen, the latest figures showed.

For the whole of Asia, including China, exports were down 11.4 percent, while imports rose 2.2 percent, with the deficit standing at 27.04 billion yen in April on year, the ministry said.

Exports to the European Union, meanwhile, tumbled 28.0 percent in April to 483.51 billion yen, while imports from the single currency bloc fell 6.8 percent to 674.68 billion yen, resulting in a deficit of 191.18 billion yen, the Finance Ministry said.

“Of course, we don’t think the virus pandemic is coming to an end, so it is possible that the negative effect will continue in May,” a finance ministry official was quoted as telling a press briefing on the matter. (1 U.S. dollar equals 107.77 yen).

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Global COVID-19 cases top 5 mln — Johns Hopkins University

Published

on

Global confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 5 million on Thursday, reaching 5,000,038 as of 1:59 p.m. (0559 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Health

COVID-19: UK-based group to train Nigerian nurses, midwives on global best practices

Published

on

A non-profit making organisation, Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association-United Kingdom (NNCA UK), says it will conduct an online training for Nigerian Nurses and Midwives on global best practices.

The group made the disclosure in a statement issued by its President, Ms Wendy Olayiwola-Odutola and Director for International Liason, Mr Peters Omoragbon, and a copy obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

 

The group said it would also provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the frontline health workers.

 

Olayiwola-Odutola explained that Nigerian Nurses and Midwives in diaspora and global stakeholders in collaboration with NNCAUK would support their colleagues on COVID-19 and general nursing practice.

 

According to the president, training the nurses and midwives would form part of activities to mark the year 2020 as year of Nurses and Midwives as declared by the World Health Organisation.

 

She, however, said  that the COVID-19 global pandemic had stripped the excitement from many nurses and midwives.

 

“They have risen to the challenge and work, and continue to do so even with limited or adequate equipment; they were putting their lives and those of their families at risk,’’ the officials said.

 

Olayiwola-Odutola pointed out that the group had inaugurated a fund to enable it achieve the feat.

 

NNCAUK is appealing to individuals and corporate organisations  to donate in aid to our efforts to purchase the needed PPE for Nigerian nurses and other healthcare professionals.

 

“The Nurses and Midwives are our heroes as they risk their lives to save others.’’

 

She said that the association had received request from some associations in Nigeria for support.

 

According to her, we have received requests from Nigerian Union of Nursing Students, Leadnurse Africa, Naija Aid to mention but few for financial support.

 

“Please, every donation will go a long way. Tom Moore the British veteran singlehandedly raised more than 10 million pounds  in the support of the National Health Insurance.

 

“You can do more. Support us to support them in Nigeria,’’ the president said.

 

NAN reports that Nurses Charitable Association-UK is a non-profitable organisation incorporated in January 1998 in the UK.

 

The association represents about 5,000 Nigerian Nurses and Midwives with established chapters nationwide.

 

The mission of the association is to provide a forum for collective action by Nigerian nurses to investigate, define and determine issues affecting its members.

Edited By: Shuaib Sadiq/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

Continue Reading

Foreign

UN chief urges global support for Africa as virus threatens progress

Published

on

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for global solidarity with Africa, warning that the coronavirus pandemic threatens the continent’s progress.

“It will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease,’’ Guterres said in a video message.

According to him, already, demand for Africa’s commodities, tourism and remittances are declining.

“The opening of the trade zone had been pushed back and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty,’’ Guterres said.

The UN inaugurated a policy brief, calling for international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies and avoid a financial crisis.

He said that African countries should have equal access to any vaccine and treatment, and that they must halt conflicts and address violent extremism.

Guterres said Africa should receive 200 billion dollars from the international community as part of his call for a global response package amounting to at least 10 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“These are still early days for the pandemic in Africa, and disruption could escalate quickly.

“Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative now and for recovering better,’’ he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

 

Continue Reading

Economy

Global green energy growth to fall for first time in 20 years – IEA

Published

on

Global growth in new renewable energy capacity will experience its first annual decline in 20 years, this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But, it is expected to pick up next year, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The world is set to build fewer wind turbines, solar plants and other installations that produce renewable electricity this year as energy demand has been reduced across commercial and industrial sectors and logistics issues delay projects.

“Countries are continuing to build new wind turbines and solar plants, but at a much slower pace,’’ IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol, said.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world needed to significantly accelerate the deployment of renewables to have a chance of meeting its energy and climate goals.’’

Renewable capacity additions this year are set to total 167 gigawatts (GW), 13 per cent less than last year, according to the IEA’s Renewable Market Update report.

But overall global renewable power capacity is still expanding and will grow by six per cent in 2020.

Slower growth this year reflects delays in construction activity due to supply chain disruptions, lockdown measures and social distancing as well as financing challenges.

Next year, renewable power additions are forecast to rebound to the level reached in 2019, as delayed projects come online and assuming a continuation of supportive government policies.

Growth for 2020 and 2021 combined is expected to be 10 per cent lower than the IEA had previously forecast before the coronavirus outbreak.

Almost all mature markets are affected by downward revisions, except the U.S. where investors are rushing to finish projects before tax credits expire.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Continue Reading

Health

Health Assembly ends with global commitment to COVID-19 response

Published

on

The 73rd virtual World Health Assembly (WHA) ended on Tuesday with delegates adopting a landmark resolution to bring the world together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Health Assembly is the forum through which the World Health Organisation (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states.

WHO in a statement posted on its website, said the resolution was co-sponsored by more than 130 countries and was adopted by consensus.

“It calls for the intensification of efforts to control the pandemic and for equitable access to and fair distribution of all essential health technologies and products to combat the virus.

“It also calls for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the global response including, but not limited to, WHO’s performance.

“As WHO convened ministers of health from almost every country in the world, the consistent message throughout the two-day meeting was that global unity is the most powerful tool to combat the outbreak.

“The resolution is a concrete manifestation of this call, and a roadmap for controlling the outbreak.’’

According to the statement, 14 heads of state participated in the opening and closing sessions.

The statement quoted WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus in his closing remarks as saying: “COVID-19 has robbed us of people we love.

“Its robbed us of lives and livelihoods; its shaken the foundations of our world, it threatens to tear the fabric of international cooperation.

“But its also reminded us that for all our differences, we are one human race and we are stronger together.”

The World Health Assembly (WHA) will reconvene later in the year.

NAN reports that WHA is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

 

.

CIA/

Continue Reading

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

Latest News