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Low sperm count: Medical expert warns against excessive intake of alcohol, smoking



A medical expert, Dr Omale Garba, has warned men against excessive intake of alcohol

and smoking, saying they could also be factors that lead to low sperm count.

Garba, a medical doctor in Bwari General Hospital Abuja, gave the warning in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

He said low sperm count in men is medically called “Oligospermia” meaning the sperm count is not up to the level where a man can impregnate a woman.

toxic to the sperm cell and could affect the sperm count.

He explained that the normal sperm count according to World Health Organisation (WHO) is between 20 million and 200 million per millimetre, “any sperm count less than 20 million per millimetre is considered low.”

Diseases such as gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and C.

Garba added that HIV, urinary tract infection, among others, could also lead to low sperm count.

He said that another important factor could be any damage to the testis as a result of surgery at the genitalia testicular.

“Trauma or injuries to the testis is another factor”

“Low sperm count can occur between the age of 15 years and 55 years, that’s usually the reproductive age” Garba said.

The doctor said that the treatment of low sperm count depend on the cause, adding that with proper diagnosis, it could be treated accordingly.

He said that “if a man is suffering from low sperm count as a result of lifestyle; such a person will need to stop or modify it to get it corrected.

“If it’s as a result of surgery, he will need to see a urologist for correction.”

Garba added that if the actual cause was unknown, drugs could be given to boost the sperm “and it’s usually effective.”

He also advised men to reduce intake of sugar.


Feature: Following Captain Cook, sail into time of Endeavor as Australia’s national museum reopens




After a further easing of restrictions in Australia, people in the capital city of Canberra are able follow Captain James Cook’s footstep 250 years ago and learn more about his voyage in a delayed exhibition at the National Museum of Australia (NMA).

The exhibition, Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians, immerses visitors in the moment when the First Australians encountered James Cook and his crew in 1770.

“This exhibition tells a really epic story,” said Shona Coyne, curator of the exhibition. “Actually it’s a foundation of story that’s been rooted in Australia for a very long time.”

It was scheduled to begin in April. Just a few weeks before its launch, Australia announced the COVID-19 restrictions and museums, galleries and libraries were closed.

NMA reopened on Tuesday.

However, Coyne said that the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to alter their plan. “For instance, some of the objects were from international lenders, so we have had to replace them with facsimile.”

“That’s a bit disappointing, but the great thing is we are actually able to make them much larger and brighter so people can actually get a closer look at some of the objects,” she added.

Expanding on the often one-sided narrative associated with the Endeavour story, this new exhibition honors both Cook’s great voyage of scientific and geographic exploration and the rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that has thrived in Australia for at least 65,000 years.

On the wall there are artworks by indigenous artists from a small community south of the Cooktown. According to Coyne, after ship Endeavor crashed into the Great Barrier Reef, local residents then went to the beach, picked up drift-woods and created artworks on top of them.

“So some of these pieces might have been bits of the ship that had splintered off and washed up on the bay,” she said.

A purple piece depicted the coral, while another showed the scene of the ship. “And then there are some botanical specimens as well,” said Coyne.

On the other side of the wall there showed places named after the event, from Cook Place to Endeavor Street. “The voyage has been remembered and recorded in place names and in monuments,” said the curator.

There are interactive games designed to attract visitors. While people are still concerned about the COVID-19, measures were taken to ensure their safety.

A labyrinth game simulated Cook’s sailing through the Great Barrier Reef, which was like a maze. Visitors could use a wheel to get a ball through the maze to the other side.

“We have installed the hand sanitizer, so whenever you use an interactive, you can clean your hands before and afterwards, and then have fun with the activities we’ve created,” she said.

“Actually we have a task force go around each one of the interactive activities and make sure we had certain measures in place,” Coyne said, noting that at the drawing station, all the pencils are for single use only and visitors could take them home.

She told Xinhua that the museum also used a booking system to control the number of people allowed into the exhibition space.

Garrett Turtill found out about the exhibition online while staying at home during the restrictions. When he learned that the museum was to open to public again, he registered for the exhibition.

“It was really easy, very quick,” said the 70-year-old man. “You just get a ticket on your phone, and you bring it in and they wave you through.”

Turtill said he was excited both to be out of doors and to be at the exhibition. “I am very interested in early maritime exploration around Australia,” he said.

“And I am satisfied with the museum’s measures as well as local government’s handling of coronavirus. That’s why I felt confident to come out to the exhibition.”

According to the original plan, the exhibition will run until this October. But the museum said it might extend it until early next year.


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New York to accelerate reopening as COVID-19 deaths hit new low



The United States state of New York on Saturday reported 35 COVID-19 deaths, the lowest daily toll from a peak of no fewer than 700 a day in April.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced this at his daily news briefing, said it was “a really good news” and a “big sigh of relief compared to where we were”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the latest figure broke Thursday’s record-low of 42 deaths statewide.

Cuomo said with the latest result, the state would have to accelerate the reopening of its economy scheduled to begin on Monday.

“We are going to open the valve more than we originally anticipated because the metrics are so good,” he said, sounding a note of warning in the same breath.

“Reopening of the economy is a valve, and you can open it faster, you can open it slower.

“We have seen it open very fast, we have seen states and countries get into trouble, and then they had to close again.

“We say we are going to open the valve incrementally, and then watch the metrics,’’ he said.

The governor said he would take further steps in addition to the reopening guidelines already issued.

He said he would sign an executive order mandating temperature checks on people as a condition to access public and commercial buildings.

Cuomo stated that synagogues, churches and mosques would be allowed to open at 25 per cent capacity.

But this will depend on places of worship hitting the state’s phase 2 requirements in their areas of location, the governor said.

“It doesn’t mean you go to a temple or a mosque and sit right next to a person. You have to socially distance.

“We leave it to our faith-based partners to come up with a smart strategy and way to do this,” he added.

Citing the World Health Organisation, Cuomo said masks were now more important in preventing spread of the virus than originally thought.

He said the state would make sure people were able to get face masks amid price gouging by vendors.

“We are going to sign an executive order saying that we will prosecute price gouging on personal protective equipment.

“To give you an idea of where we were, before the pandemic we were paying 70 cents (N263) for the N95 masks used by healthcare professionals.

“But in the middle of the pandemic, we were paying seven dollars (N1,128) per mask for the same mask,” he said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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‘Selma’ snubbed at 2015 Oscars after cast protested police violence, actor Oyelowo says



The civil rights movie “Selma” was made free for rental on Friday, a day after actor David Oyelowo said Oscar voters had deliberately snubbed the film in 2015.

Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie, said members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences objected when “Selma” cast members protested the death of a black American.

“I remember at the premiere of ‘Selma’ us wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in protest,” said Oyelowo, referring to the death in New York of Eric Garner after being held in a police chokehold.

Garner died in July 2014; “Selma” premiered in December 2014.

Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that?

“Why are they stirring S-H-I-T?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that,’” he added.

Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay were overlooked in Oscar nominations in 2015, helping to spur the #OscarsSoWhite campaign demanding greater diversity in Hollywood.

“Selma” got just two nods and a win for best original song.

The actor, who is British, was speaking in a virtual round table hosted by Screen Daily on Thursday about racism in the United States that was prompted by the death in May, of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while pinned by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

“It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite,” added Oyelowo.

“They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”

DuVernay re-tweeted the Screen Daily account, adding the comment “True story.”

The Academy replied on Twitter, “Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress.”

Movie studio Paramount Pictures declined to comment on Oyelowo’s remarks.

On Friday it announced that “Selma” would be free for rental for the remainder of June, saying that had been planned earlier this week.

“We hope this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation’s history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society,” Paramount said in a statement.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara (NAN)


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Active COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria fall below 1,000



The number of active COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria has dropped below 1,000 for the first time since April 25, the country’s Health Ministry said on its website on Saturday morning.

The number of active cases in the Balkan country decreased to 980 after 41 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the country in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 2,668, while the number of recoveries from COVID-19 rose by 138 to 1,528, the ministry said.

The death toll from COVID-19 rose from 159 to 160, the ministry said.

It added that 147 patients are currently hospitalised, with 12 in intensive care. 


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Thai gov’t allows 7 more domestic airports to open




The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced on its website that it has granted seven more domestic airports to resume flight operations, effective from Saturday.

The seven domestic airports include Tak, Trad, Nakhon Ratchasima, Narathiwat, Pai, Phetchabun and Sukhothai.

The CAAT has greenlighted the seven airports to resume domestic flights for now, as according to the Thai government’s relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown measures,” said CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop, “All airports are not allowed commercial inbound flights yet (flights from overseas).”

The Emergency Decree banning inbound flights are still effective until the end of June.

However, the ban does not apply to state or military aircraft, emergency landing, technical landing without disembarkation, humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, repatriation flights and cargo flights.

The Thai government has yet to announce when international flights will resume, however, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he cannot control the COVID-19 situation beyond the borders of Thailand.

“Let’s ensure amongst ourselves to continue wearing face masks, wash hands regularly and practice social distancing,” said Prayut, “the more we can adjust to the new normal way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the more easing on lockdown restrictions.”

Prayut said earlier that the ban on inbound flights must be maintained as Thailand cannot afford a second wave of infections from COVID-19 imports.

Thailand on Saturday reported two additional COVID-19 infections, bringing the total to 3,104 cases.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration said on Saturday that since late May, most new infections were of Thai returnees from overseas.


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COVID-19: Ekiti Assembly marks low-key 365 days in office



The sixth Ekiti House of Assembly says it will mark its one year of qualitative legislation in low-key due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Yemisi Ayokunle, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti.

It will be recalled that the current Ekiti Assembly was inaugurated on June 6, 2019 by the State’s Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Ayokunle, in the statement, expressed the members’ gratitude to God and the public for the confidence reposed in them.

She said that the achievements made within one year had been people oriented,.

She restated the commitment of the state’s lawmakers to delivering on the electoral promises they had made to their constituents.

According to her, in the past 365 days the assembly has made various resolutions and passed bills aimed at bringing about development and meaningful changes for the benefit of Ekiti people.

The house committee chairman said the past 360 days in office had been worthwhile and would remain indelible in the hearts of the lawmakers.

The statement highlighted that a Prayer Session of not more than the COVID-19 protocol specified number of people would be organised at the Speaker’s, Mr Funminiyi Afuye Lodge on Saturday, June 6.

The statement also said,  a Special Plenary Session would hold on Monday,  June 8 at the Assembly Chamber, Ado-Ekiti, while the Committee on Media and  Public Affairs holds a  news conference immediately after plenary.

She commended the Gov. Kayode Fayemi and members of his executive team for the support accorded the assembly.

She promised that the lawmakers would not disappoint their constituencies.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Bolsonaro threatens Brazilian withdrawal from WHO, following United States



Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to pull the country out of the World Health Organisation (WHO), citing the decision by the United States to withdraw late last month.

The United States has already withdrawn. Either the WHO works without any ideological prejudices or we are out,” he told CNN Brasil on Friday night.

“We do not need any people from outside to give us tips about health here.”

President Donald Trump said at the end of May that the United States would be “terminating” its relationship with the WHO.

He accused the UN agency of failing to enact reforms in the face of United States concerns over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and that it put too much faith in information from China.

While the United States is one of the biggest funders of the WHO, Brazil already stopped paying contributions in 2019 and owes 33 million dollars to the organization, according to the newspaper Folha de S Paulo.

Bolsonaro pointed to the WHO’s decision to resume testing of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients, after trials were suspended the previous week.

“What do we need this WHO for? The WHO recommended a few days ago not to carry on with the study into hydroxychloroquine, and now they are restarting it,” he said.

Echoing Trump, right-wing populist Bolsonaro swears on the unproven anti-malarial drug as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Brazil is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world in the virus pandemic.

More than 646,000 infections have been recorded, and more than 35,000 people have died from the virus so far.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Active COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria fall below 1,000




The number of active COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria has dropped below 1,000 for the first time since April 25, the country’s health ministry said on its website Saturday morning.

The number of active cases in the Balkan country decreased to 980, after 41 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the country in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 2,668, while the number of recoveries from COVID-19 rose by 138 to 1,528, the ministry said.

The death toll from COVID-19 rose from 159 to 160, the ministry said, adding that 147 patients are currently hospitalized, with 12 in intensive care.


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Beijing lowers COVID-19 emergency response to third level




Beijing will lower its emergency response to the novel coronavirus epidemic from the second level to the third level starting from Saturday, a local official announced on Friday.

The third emergency response level is the second-lowest.

Prevention and control measures will be adjusted accordingly, said Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, at a press conference.


Beijing will lift purchasing restrictions on plane and train tickets for people from the central province of Hubei, including those from the provincial capital Wuhan, except for people from medium- and high-risk areas. Beijing will no longer require permits for those entering the capital city from Hubei via highways.

People from Hubei Province, including those from Wuhan, will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days or go through collective observation after arriving in Beijing. Also, people from those areas currently under quarantine or observation in Beijing can be discharged, according to Chen.

People entering Beijing from Wuhan will not need another nucleic acid test as long as they have a test result proving their negative status. However, nucleic acid tests will still be required if they cannot provide such proof.

Residential compounds will no longer need to take people’s temperatures, although registration is still needed, Chen said.

Companies that provide daily necessities and services can resume production under complete control and prevention measures.

Meanwhile, in the tourism sector, Beijing will allow domestic group tours under proper conditions, except those from medium- and high-risk areas. Inbound and outbound group tours will remain suspended.

Parks, tourist sites and public indoor venues can allow more visitors under strict prevention-and-control measures. Some events, such as conferences, exhibitions, sports matches and entertainment shows, can also be held under strict prevention-and-control measures, according to the municipal government.

Students walk into the campus of Shuangyushu No. 1 Primary School in Beijing, capital of China, June 1, 2020. Students at their first and second grades of senior high schools, first and second grades of junior high schools and sixth grade of primary schools returned to school for this semester in Beijing on Monday. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

Students walk into the campus of Shuangyushu No. 1 Primary School in Beijing, capital of China, June 1, 2020. Students at their first and second grades of senior high schools, first and second grades of junior high schools and sixth grade of primary schools returned to school for this semester in Beijing on Monday. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

Schools can resume classes in an orderly manner and masks will not be required for outdoor activities.

The city will also allow people from other areas to visit hospitals in Beijing in an orderly and restricted manner, except those from medium- and high-risk areas.


The Chinese capital lowered its emergency response to COVID-19 from the top level to level two on April 30. Beijing has seen no abnormal rebound in infections since then, said Chen Bei.

By Thursday, Beijing’s 14 districts saw no new locally transmitted cases for more than 90 consecutive days, while the districts of Haidian and Chaoyang reported no new locally transmitted cases for 73 and 50 consecutive days respectively,” Chen said.

Meanwhile, population flows did not bring new infections or a rebound during the May Day holiday and the convening of the annual “two sessions,” or as schools reopened in Beijing, Chen added.

“The results of domestic prevention and control measures have been solid and local transmission has been basically cut off,” Chen said. “People’s prevention awareness has been enhanced and risks of imported cases are under control.”

Based on these national and Beijing conditions, the capital city lowered its emergency response, Chen said.

Though downgrading its emergency response to the third level, Beijing still faces risks from imported cases and from domestic cases from outside Beijing, said Chen.

“We still need to stay alert,” Chen said, adding that it is important to consolidate efforts in prevention and control while life and production return to normal.


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