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Live COVID-19 updates: Africa’s cases pass 100,000 mark

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The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

– – – –

ADDIS ABABA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa surpassed 100,000 as of Friday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC in its latest situation update issued on Friday revealed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the continent rose from 95,201 on Thursday to 100,330 as of Friday afternoon, registering about 5,129 new cases during the stated period.

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KIEV — A total of 20,148 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 588 deaths, were reported in Ukraine on Friday, while 6,585 patients have recovered, the country’s health ministry said.

As of Friday, 1,434 children and 3,907 health workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In the past 24 hours, 442 new patients have tested positive for the virus in Ukraine.

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MINSK — The World Bank has approved a 90-million-euro (about 98 million U.S.-dollar) package to help Belarus combat COVID-19, BelTA news agency reported Friday, citing the bank’s representative office in the country.

The package aims to help Belarus take effective and timely actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the country’s national healthcare system, said the report.

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MADRID — Madrid, the Spanish capital, will ease next week the lockdown restrictions imposed over two months ago to halt the spread of COVID-19, the country’s Health Minister Salvador Illa confirmed Friday at a press conference.

Illa thanked the different regional authorities for their “magnificent work over the past weeks.”

– – – –

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s COVID-19 infections increased on Friday by 62 cases to 1,086 while the death toll remained at 26, the National News Agency reported.

Three villages including Mazboud in Mount Lebanon, and Majdal Anjar and Barr Elias in the Bekaa Valley went under lockdown as they witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases.

– – – –

SAN FRANCISCO — A Chinese American community leader called for U.S.-China cooperation and an end to bigotry at a webinar held on Thursday.

Lillian Kwok Sing, Northern California’s first Asian American female judge, said the climate in the United States is a frightening one for Asian Americans and reminds her of what happened in history when Chinese Americans were terrorized simply because of their origins.

– – – –

DOHA — Qatar’s Health Ministry on Friday announced 1,830 new infections of COVID-19, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 40,481.

According to a ministry’s statement quoted by the official Qatar News Agency, “605 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 7,893, while the fatalities rose to 19.”

– – – –

DHAKA — Bangladesh recorded 24 new COVID-19 fatalities Friday, the highest increase in a single day since the pandemic began in the country on March 8.

The rise in deaths came a day after the country reported 22 COVID-19 fatalities.

(XINHUA)

General news

Kogi primary healthcare launches website to boost service delivery

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The Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KGSPHCDA) said it had established a Website that would provide quality and effective healthcare delivery for citizens at the grassroots.

Dr Abubakar Yakubu, the Executive Director, KGSPHCDA, who disclosed this in a statement in Lokoja, named the website as ”www.ksphcda.org”.

According to Yakubu, the creation of a website is part of deliberate effort of KGSPHCDA to deepen synergy between the agency, community and  development partners within and outside the state.

”Our intension is to make the website current, relevant and interactive so that local, national and international partners can be abreast of our activities.

”This will help our partners to make informed contributions to the consolidation and expansion of the modest achievement recorded in the last two and a half years and beyond,” Yakubu said.

He noted that the agency had intensified Routine Immunisation (IR) campaign through the Inauguration of State Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (SERICC) in the State and LERICC at the LGA Level.

He added that KGSPHCDA held its maiden news conference in 2018 where the agency unveiled plans to the world.

”This interactive session has gone a long way to cement the cordial relationship between the agency and the press thereby, helping to create public awareness about the activities of PHCDA in the state.

”Others are successful conduct of Baseline Survey of Primary Health Care facilities, which enables the agency and Ministry of Health to have accurate data for policy formulation and implementation in the state.

”There is support for 300 health care facilities to conduct outreach, fixed and mobile sessions to strengthen immunisation services in the state.

”Also, acquisition and furnishing of befitting new office complex for the agency,  which has created conducive working atmosphere for staff and development partners,” he said.

Yakubu added that the agency had also expanded the state’s cold store and installation of 100KVA solar energy project ready for commissioning at the cost of N67 million.

”In addition, signing of the agency’s Amendment Bill into Law by the executive governor whose significance is the aspect that incorporates PHCUOR in our edict.

”The commencement of and operationalisation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in Kogi with the approval of N100 million counter-part fund and effective pre- implementation plans for BHCPF in the state,” he stated.

The agency executive director expressed  gratitude to Gov. Yahaya Bello and his Deputy, Mr Edward Onoja, for their unflinching support.

”We consider the governor as the father of Primary Healthcare in the state because he has the singular honour of reviving the agency from its comatose state prior to my appointment in October 2017,” he said.

Yakubu commended the development partners who had been standing behind them, noting that the agency’s achievement would not have been possible without them.

He also praised the press for being instrumental to the agency’s activities through news coverage.

He commended the management and staff of the agency for their dedication and commitment to the goals.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/ Felix Ajide (NAN)

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China-Europe freight train delivers first batch of Russia’s frozen poultry meat

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A batch of Russian frozen chicken sent by refrigerated containers on a China-Europe freight train reached southwest China‘s Chongqing Municipality on Friday, marking Russia’s first exports of frozen poultry meat to China by rail.

The 24.9-tonne frozen meat are valued at 336,000 yuan (47,000 U.S. dollars). The shipment is under customs inspection before being distributed to the market in Chongqing.

Previous to this, poultry products imported from Russia had been transported to China by offshore shipping, while the freight train service transported imports such as sugar, dairy products, candy and snacks as well as fruit juice from Russia.

A single trip of the direct train service takes 18 days from Moscow of Russia to Chongqing, which is much shorter than sea and land transportation for the food imports.

(XINHUA)

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General news

We’re still focused on delivering mandate for change – Buhari

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Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate for change remains relevant and will be steadily followed to improve livelihoods.

Shehu gave the assurance in a statement in Abuja on Friday as the Buhari administration marks the first year anniversary of his second term in office.

He said: “The campaign had been hard fought; yet the mandate the people of this country gave him was decisive. He won that election with a distance of nearly four million votes or 15 per cent of the total votes cast over his closest opponent.

“It was then – and is today – a mandate for change.

“For many years Nigerians have yearned for something different: less of the corruption and immoral greed of those who once governed; more decency in public life and fairness, and a chance to succeed.

“Nigerians yearned for improved security and end to terrorist bombings and for long-delayed infrastructure.

“Day by day, step by step, the President and his team are making the change that Nigerians have demanded.

“And it is a demand. Elected officials are servants, not masters. They govern at your discretion. The authority is yours to grant – and it is yours to take away.’’

Shehu maintained that since last year, President Buhari strived to implement the plan endorsed by the electorate.

“He has overseen an increase in foreign investment; construction of new roads, bridges and rails, and put structures in place to improve employment, and accomplished the diversification of the national economy through a massive growth in agriculture.

The President secured the long-overdue return of taxpayers’ monies from overseas, stolen in the 1990s, and put this to use in supporting citizens in dire need.

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures implemented to stem and halt its spread, much of what the administration strives for and delivered may seem at risk.’’

According to him, President Buhari realizes the burden so many citizens carry just to make ends meet, and the suffering they endure.

He said the President, however, assured Nigerians that “this too shall come to pass.’’

Shehu quoted the president to have said in a recent speech: “we are bolstering our capacity to contain the virus. Soon, when we overcome our present troubles, the work to build Nigeria will start anew.

“And as we do, we find ourselves before the gates to a new, post-Covid world.

“Thanks to reforms in governance, our war on corruption and the hard work and trust of the Nigerian people, we are better positioned as a nation than ever before to seize new opportunities that await us to trade, build, make and export with the world.

“I thank you, the people of Nigeria, for your wisdom and your determination for change. We go forward, together”.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Agriculture

Kebbi commences sales of subsidised livestock feeds

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The Kebbi Government on Friday flagged-off the sales of livestock feeds at subsidised rate to farmers across the state.

Speaking at the flagg-off ceremony held at Bagudo, the wife of the State Governor, Hajiya A’isha Atiku-Bagudu, said the gesture was aimed at boosting livestock farming in the state.

She called on members of the Sales Committee, to ensure that the feeds were sold to the farmers at subsided rates as specified.

She said: ”Let me appreciate the commitment of His Excellency, Sen. Abubakar Atiku- Bagudu for supporting all categories of farmers in the state.

“I therefore urge the beneficiaries to ensure that they collect receipts while purchasing the items.

“I also want to assure the Fulani community of the issuance of the applied loan facility, to improve their businesses”.

Similarly, the governor’s wife doled out palliatives to Rugar Idowaje, a Fulani community in Bagudo Local Government Area, to cushion the hardship occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that items donated included; rice, wheat offal, clothes and groundnuts oil.

Earlier, the Commissioner, Animal Health Husbandry and Fisheries, Aminu Garba-Dandiga commended Gov. Atiku-Bagudu and his wife, Hajiya A’isha, for their commitment in  encouraging livestock farming across the state.

He observed that the state was endowed with all farming potentials, particularly livestock, which needed to be properly harnessed to boost the revenue base of the state.

The Commissioner stressed the need for residents to take advantage of such potentials, by judiciously utilising it with a view to reducing over-reliance on proceeds from oil revenue.

“I want to assure you that livestock is another source of income we can rely on, as it produces milk and meat for people’s consumption.

“The items procured by the State Government will be sold at subsidised prices as follows: wheat offal will go for N3,000,  cotton seed cake will be sold at N3,300, 10 kilogramme salt lick costs N4,360 and 5 kilologramme will be N1,680.

“I therefore call on the beneficiaries to utilise the programme in a proper way and I assure you that the programme will be continued,” he assured.

NAN reports that the occasion was attended by the Permanant Secretaries Ministries of Animal Health Husbandry and Fisheries; Education and Women Affairs.

Others in attendance were members of the State and Federal legislature, Chairman, Bagudo Local Government, and the State and National Chairmen of Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, among others.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Home delivery businesses booming in Tanzania amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Since the COVID-19 outbreak started in Tanzania in mid-March, 30-year-old Hassan Teja has been a busy man from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Teja is a co-founder and chief operating officer of duka.direct, a start-up online shopping platform that was launched in February. The online platform allows customers to order products across various categories such as groceries and household essentials, and delivers them to doorsteps.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, customers’ demand for home delivery services has increased by two times, said Teja in an interview with Xinhua at his office located in the city center of Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

During the period of self-isolation, online shopping through app with free courier service has become the first choice for people living in the commercial hub of the east African nation, as a way to avoid shopping in crowded open markets, said Teja.

“This has been a great opportunity for us to witness a change in customer behavior in the nation, including their growing acceptance of digital payment,” said Teja.

He said currently, the company’s delivery coverage is within a 25 km distance from the city center, but as they are seeing more and more suburban customers inquiring about the service, they are aiming to expand the business to reach more corners in the city.

Teja says plans are afoot to expand duka.direct online services to neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda.

Demand for delivery also increases in other businesses. Jibril Mohamed, a restaurant owner in Dar es Salaam, said despite the fact that the number of dine-in customers have largely decreased due to the pandemic, requests for home delivery service have doubled last month.

Kauthar D’Souza, a Tanzanian housewife residing in Kariakoo, a major market area in the commercial capital, said COVID-19 had doubled her online shopping needs.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic I have been buying all my basic needs, including food and clothing, online”, she said.

“Online shopping is the best way of avoiding mass gathering. It gets me less exposed, especially during this time when authorities request us to avoid mass gathering as a way to protect ourselves against the COVID-19“, said D’Souza.

Bora Chitanda, a Tanzanian salesman working in marketing industry, said the culture of online buying and home delivery in Tanzania that had been accelerated following the outbreak of COVID-19 should be maintained even after the disease was contained.

Meanwhile, he also hoped that the trend of online shopping may not render the employees in supermarkets and restaurants jobless.

(XINHUA)

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Agriculture

Veterinary council tasks AMAC on monthly decontamination of livestock markets, abattoirs

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The Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) has recommended monthly decontamination of  livestock markets, slaughter slabs and other veterinary premises within Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to curb the spread of COVID-19.

 

Dr Aishatu Abubakar-Baju, the President of VCN made the recommendation at the launching of the decontamination of premises of area councils of FCT against COVID-19 on Friday in Abuja organised by AMAC in collaboration with the Veterinary Council of Nigeria.

 

Abubakar-Baju said that the measure would ensure and bring about quality assurance of products from such sites like eggs, hides and skins, milk among others as well as

the protection of human health through good animal health.

 

She said that it would as well improve quality of life of their operators.

 

Describing the exercise as epoch making event, the president reaffirmed that COVID-19 had assumed a pandemic status.

 

The FCT-wide decontamination exercise on April 25 at Garki International Market live bird market by the Minister of State of FCT Ramatu Aliyu.

 

“The veterinary and animal-related sites and premises in the FCT have been duly profiled by my team and it is expected that at the end of three-day FCT wide decontamination programme, all the sites must have been adequately and properly covered.

 

“The exercise though focusing on COVID-19, will also control other animal diseases causing pathogens including those of public health and economic importance.

 

“The decontamination exercise is therefore ultimately geared toward the provision and protection of human health through good animal health.

 

“In realisation of the need for everyone and all agencies to bring to bear their professional and individual capacities and competencies in the fight against COVID-19.

 

The VCN has taken it upon itself to initiate and implement a nationwide decontamination of birds markets, abattoirs, slaughter houses/slabs, livestock markets, control post, veterinary practicing premises and other veterinary and animal-related sites.

 

“We are confident that with the support of the various strata of government and other public-spirited individuals, this programme will drastically reduce the exposure potential of our people to this dreaded disease to the glory of God Almighty,” she assured.

 

Abubakar-Baju said that the outbreak of the disease and its assumption as a pandemic was an embarrassment to governments and individuals across the world including Nigeria.

 

She noted that the pandemic had literally brought the global health system and governments to their knees causing the process a of panic and devastation.

 

“The outbreak of the disease and its assumption as a pandemic is an embarrassment to governments and individuals across the world including Nigeria.

 

“The pandemic has literally brought the global health system and governments to their knees causing the panic and devastation.

 

“While science and technology continue to battle for the development and utilisation of effective vaccines and other medical products against the disease, we continue to apply equally effective alternative disease control strategies and measures against this dreaded COVID-19.

 

“One of the most applied and cost -effective control measures against the disease is institution of good biosecurity measures, especially decontamination of human and animal habitations.

 

“Decontamination reduces and in most cases totally eliminates disease-causing microbes from the environment as well as human and animal habitations making these places safe for productive activities.’’

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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COVID-19: Don’t play politics with people’s lives, Edo govt. tells opposition

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The Edo government has advised opposition parties to be conscious of COVID-19 and not endanger voters on the altar of electioneering campaigns.

The Deputy Governor of Edo, Mr Philip Shaibu, gave the advice in Benin on Friday while receiving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donated by Azura Power Plant.

“I know very soon Edo will go into electioneering campaigns My appeal to you is that, please don’t play politics with COVID-19 because you don’t know if you are going to be the next if you don’t observe social distancing.

“For us as a state, we will not mix politics with COVID-19. Some persons make all forms of statements in the name of politics. The life of our people is very important to us as a state than the elections.

“Election will come and go. We need our people to be alive to be able to vote. They need us to be alive to make ourselves available to be voted for.

” I am appealing to us, we should not play politics with the lives of our people. This period, we should not mix politics with this pandemic.

“For us in Edo, it is all about infrastructure and the well-being of our people.

” We appreciate Azura Power Plant for this donation of relief materials as it affects our health workers, they are our heroes in this period,” he said.

Presenting the PPE to the state government, the Azura Power Plant Community Relations Manager, Sunny Ogbodo, said that the organisation was identifying with the state government in the fight against the COVID-19.

(
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Vietnam to import live pigs for first time against domestic price hike

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Vietnam will allow the import of live pigs for the first time in a bid to counter the increasing live hog prices in the domestic market, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The move is attributable to the complex developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising pork prices, Vietnam News Agency quoted Deputy Agricultural Minister Phung Duc Tien as saying on Friday, noting that the import will be under tight monitoring to prevent its negative impacts on the local market.

The first shipments could probably come from Thailand, Tien said, adding that the ministry will also create the best possible conditions for the import of breeding pigs to help increase the number of local herds.

The African swine fever has reoccurred in 155 communes of 20 provinces and cities in Vietnam, leading to the culling of nearly 4,000 pigs since early this year, local media reported on Wednesday. In 2019, the disease spread to all 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam, leading to the death and culling of about 5.9 million pigs, according to Vietnam News Agency.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Live COVID-19 updates: Egypt’s cases surpass 20,000, with new record in daily rise

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The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

– – – –

CAIRO — Egypt on Thursday set a new record of single-day rise in COVID-19 infections, with 1,127 new cases confirmed, bringing the total cases to 20,793.

It was the first time for Egypt’s COVID-19 daily infections to surpass 1,000, after the country saw 910 infections on Wednesday, following eight consecutive days of registering over 700 daily infections.

– – – –

MEXICO CITY — Up to 3,377 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Mexico over the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 81,400, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, 447 more deaths have been recorded in the country, taking the death toll to 9,044, it said.

– – – –

KHARTOUM — A Chinese medical team on Thursday arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to support Sudan’s efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sudan’s Health Minister Akram Ali Al-Tom, who received the Chinese team upon arrival at the airport, commended China for its strong support to Sudan.

– – – –

RAMALLAH — Palestine on Thursday declared that 12 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the West Bank, bringing the total number of infections to 625.

Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement that 11 of the new cases were found in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilya after a poultry vendor was diagnosed with the deadly virus, and the rest one in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

– – – –

MUSCAT — Omani announced on Thursday 636 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 9,009.

All the new cases, including 345 Omanis, are related to community contact, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

– – – –

RABAT — The ratio of the patients who recovered from COVID-19 infections in Morocco has risen rapidly to about 68 percent, the Moroccan Ministry of Health said Thursday.

The epidemic situation had some positive changes in the past days as 5,195 out of 7,643 total patients had recovered, said the ministry’s spokesperson in a daily briefing.

– – – –

ADEN, Yemen — Yemen‘s health ministry on Thursday confirmed 22 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of infections to 278 in the country’s provinces controlled by the government.

According to a brief statement released by the country’s supreme national emergency committee, “during the past 24 hours, the heath departments officially recorded 22 new COVID-19 cases in four provinces controlled by the government.”

– – – –

PARIS — France will further unwind anti-coronavirus lockdown from June 2, lifting 100-km travel restriction and allowing non-essential businesses, parks and beaches to reopen, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Thursday.

The last three weeks of the first phase of deconfinement had “good results,” Philippe told a press meeting. “During this phase 2, freedom will become the rule again and bans will be the exception.”

(XINHUA)

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