The Jack Ma Foundation (www.JackMaFoundation.org.cn) and Alibaba Foundation are sharing key lessons and experience from doctors and other medical administrators and staff at the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine (FAHZU), who were at the frontline of COVID-19 treatment in China and crucial to slowing its spread.
In the form of a digital handbook, the medical administrators and staff cover and share globally what they’ve learned every step of the way, from screening, to diagnosis and treatment of patients who contracted COVID-19. The handbook is now available in seven languages: Chinese, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Turkish, with more languages coming soon. All versions of the handbook can be downloaded from Covid-19.AlibabaCloud.com.
Over a 50-day period, FAHZU admitted 104 patients confirmed ill with COVID-19, including 78 critically ill patients. Through pioneering efforts of medical staff and investment in new technologies, FAHZU has so far made it through the public health crisis without a single medical staff infection, missed diagnosis or patient death.
The Chinese and English versions of the handbook were viewed 1.4 million times within the first five days of publication. It is the hope of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation that medical administrators and staff around the world find this handbook helpful and useful in treating COVID-19 patients.
The handbook is part of the Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19 (GMCC) (Covid-19.AlibabaCloud.com) program, which was jointly established by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. It is designed for medical experts around the world to communicate seamlessly with each other to share their invaluable experience of fighting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to ask and answer each other’s questions. To date, the most applications have come in thus far from medical institutions in the U.S, Turkey, the U.K., Pakistan, Spain and Germany.
“Knowledge is power! We launched an online platform for doctors and nurses around the world to exchange ideas, lessons and know-how to fight the virus. We welcome all hospitals to join Chinese hospitals on this open platform Covid-19.AlibabaCloud.com. One world, one fight!”, Jack Ma wrote in a tweet (https://bit.ly/2Jj3Yki) on Wednesday.
Another centerpiece of the program is the International Medical Expert Communication Platform (https://bit.ly/2xpxe6s). So far, over 440 medical institutions from 104 countries and regions have applied to learn and share experiences in battling COVID-19 through the platform. Medical staff need to apply and be approved to join the platform. Once they’re accepted, they’re free to participate in individual or group discussions and sessions.
Through video conferencing and AI translation from and into 11 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese), the platform aims to build a virtual community.
Asia-Pacific countries on high alert of COVID-19 pandemic as India records largest daily increase
More confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded in Asia-Pacific countries on Friday, as India witnessed the biggest one-day jump and Bangladesh reported the highest daily death toll.
India’s federal health ministry Friday morning reported 148 new deaths and 6,088 positive cases since Thursday, taking the number of deaths to 3,583 and total cases to 118,447.
This is the highest one-day spike so far in the country, showed the data.
Mumbai has crossed the grim mark of 25,000 cases with 1,382 new infections recorded late Thursday, as per the update by the city’s governing authority.
Bangladesh recorded 24 new fatalities, the highest increase in a single day since the pandemic began in the country on March 8, bringing the death toll to 432.
The rise in deaths came a day after the country reported 22 fatalities.
The total number increased to 30,205, with the daily rise of 1,694 new cases reported in the country in the last 24 hours as of 8:00 a.m. local time on Friday.
Indonesia’s total cases rose by 634 within one day to 20,796, and the death toll rose by 48 to 1,326.
The Philippine health department reported 163 more cases, bringing the total number in the country to 13,597.
In a daily bulletin, the Department of Health said 92 more patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the number of recoveries to 3,092, and 11 more patients have died, bringing the death toll to 857.
Malaysia announced 78 new cases, pushing the national total to 7,137, and among these new cases, 25 are import cases while 53 are local transmissions.
One new death had been reported, with the victim having suffered from other health problems prior to being infected, pushing the total deaths to 115.
Afghanistan on Friday morning reported 542 new infections, bringing the total tally to 9,216, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
A total of 205 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak in February, including 12 deaths within the past 24 hours.
In Pakistan, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 50,694 with 1,067 deaths, according to the data updated by the country’s health ministry Friday morning.
A total of 2,603 new cases and 50 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
South Korea reported 20 positive cases compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Friday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,142.
Of the new cases, nine were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,200.
New Zealand reported one new confirmed case after four consecutive days of zero cases, with the combined total of confirmed and probable cases reaching 1,504, according to the Ministry of Health.
Romania begins state of alert amid COVID-19 pandemic
Citizens wait to buy take-away coffee in Bucharest, Romania, on May 15, 2020. Romania began a state of alert, a level lower than the state of emergency on May 15. Under the new state of alert, residents are allowed to travel locally, but mask-wearing is mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport. Meanwhile, parks are reopened from Friday, while shops with access directly to the street, barbers, beauty salons, dentists and museums resume their activities. (Photo by Gabriel Petrescu/Xinhua)
S. Korea stays alert over further virus spread after Itaewon cluster cases
South Korea on Thursday reported 29 more coronavirus cases following cluster infections linked to clubs and bars in Seoul, putting health authorities on edge amid growing concerns over further virus spread.
The number of cases connected to bars and clubs in Seoul’s popular nightlife district of Itaewon reached 131 as of Thursday, according to the KCDC and the Seoul city government.
South Korea had added fewer than 15 cases of COVID-19 since mid-April, with the number of domestic infections even falling to zero on some days.
But the number of daily new cases has hovered around 30 for the past three days after the country saw an unexpected spike in cases coming from entertainment facilities, with secondary and tertiary infections reported not only in Seoul but across the country.
Of the total 29 cases, 12 came from Incheon, west of Seoul, six from Gyeonggi Province, surrounding the capital city, and three each from Seoul and North Chungcheong Province, the KCDC said.
So far, 11 confirmed virus cases are tied to him.
Imported cases, previously the biggest threat for South Korea’s quarantine operations, are now less of a concern, though the country reported three more such cases Thursday.
South Korea’s virus death toll climbed to 260 after adding one more fatality, according to the KCDC, with the mortality rate reaching 2.37 percent.
The total number of people released from quarantine after full recoveries stood at 9,762, up 67 from a day earlier, the KCDC said.
The country has carried out COVID-19 tests on 711,484 people since Jan. 3, including 15,564 from a day earlier.
The number of people undergoing tests has spiked recently due to cases linked to nightspots in Itaewon.
So far, some 35,000 people have been tested over the Itaewon infection cluster, according to the KCDC.
“A total of some 15,000 tests were conducted yesterday alone with a total of 35,000 tests undergoing in connection with Itaewon clubs,” Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official, said in a briefing.
Health authorities urged people to voluntarily get tested as those who do not follow the advice will face a fine of up to 2 million won (US$1,600).
They also said 131 people who have violated self-isolation measures will be handed over to the prosecution.
After flattening the curve of COVID-19, South Korea shifted last Wednesday to an “everyday life quarantine” scheme and the normalisation of public facilities and other business establishments, under the condition they follow basic sanitation measures.
But due to the recent surge in virus cases traced to the Itaewon area, the country has decided to push back the reopening of schools by one week, allowing students to physically attend classes in phases starting next Wednesday.
Seoul and other municipal governments have issued an administrative order banning gatherings at entertainment establishments, which has de facto forced club and bar owners to suspend business.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Thai residents on alert over dengue fever ahead of raining season
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in Thailand on Wednesday warned the residents about the risk of dengue fever as the raining season is approaching.
The BMA said it is putting in place several preventive measures as dengue fever shares similar symptoms to COVID-19.
Silapasuai Rawisaengsun, the BMA permanent secretary warned people to eradicate the ideal mosquito breeding ground of stagnant water.
She said 1,295 dengue patients were recorded from Jan. 1 to April 20, and the largest number of patients at 446 cases was in the age group between 25-29 years, according to the statistics of the BMA-run hospitals.
Anyone who has flu-like symptoms should wear masks, and if they take fever-reducing medicines and the conditions do not improve in two days, they should see the doctor, the BMA permanent secretary-general advised.
Erdogan says Turkey to keep high alert over COVID-19 pandemic
He also urged Turkish citizens to wear facemasks outside, follow the social distancing and hygiene rules, avoid going out unless necessary, and keep away from crowds.
“We are pursuing our struggle against the outbreak in a successful way,” Erdogan added.
The Turkish government has recently introduced a normalization process to ease the coronavirus restrictions. In line with the new steps, shopping malls and barbershops resumed their operations the previous day.
Turkey reported 1,704 new COVID-19 cases and 53 more deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 141,475 and the death toll to 3,894.
When did China alert U.S. of novel pneumonia outbreak?
When did China alert the U.S. of the outbreak of pneumonia with unknown cause? #COVID19Timeline
New Zealand reports two new COVID-19 cases with alert level lowered
New Zealand reported two new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one probable case over the past 24 hours, with the total number of infections being 1,472 in the country, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.
The country moved from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday and will stay for at least two weeks at Level 3 before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield stressed social distancing at the press conference in order to prevent COVID-19.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced extra support and resources to ensure New Zealanders in work or preparing for work.
The government delivered a 10.4 billion-NZ dollar (6.24 billion-U.S. dollar) wage subsidy to ensure employers and employees stay connected. But due to the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions, unemployment will rise before it improves, Sepuloni said.
“In response we need to act quickly and proactively, and keep New Zealand working,” she said.
Asia-Pacific countries on high alert of COVID-19 pandemic as possibility of resurgence remains
Asia-Pacific countries are still fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic with an alarming resurgence of infections, as three Vietnamese tested positive again for COVID-19 after being discharged from hospitals upon recovery.
Vietnam News Agency reported on Monday that a total of eight patients have retested positive after recovery in the country as of Monday noon.
Vietnam has reported a total of 270 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 222 patients cured. There have been no deaths in the country so far.
India reported 14 new deaths and 488 new infections since Monday morning, taking the number of deaths to 886 and total cases to 28,380.
So far 6,362 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.
The number of the confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 5,913, including 497 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, and the death toll has risen to 152.
Coronavirus cases in Japan increased by 144 to 13,585, according to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities on Monday evening.
The nationwide death toll from the virus has now increased to 396, including those from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.
Thailand reported nine new COVID-19 cases, the lowest daily increase of the cases since Jan. 27.
The total number of infections now stands at 2,931, and 2,609 people have recovered, with 270 patients remaining in hospital.
Indonesia confirmed 214 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total in the country to 9,096.
A total of 765 deaths have been recorded in the country, an increase of 22 over the past 24 hours.
Around 1,151 people have recovered from the disease, 44 more compared with the previous day.
The health department said that 70 more patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 932, and 10 more patients have died, taking the death toll to 511.
South Korea reported 10 more cases compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Monday local time, raising the total number to 10,738.
The daily caseload hovered around 10 for the ninth consecutive day.
One more death was confirmed, raising the death toll to 243. The total fatality rate came in at 2.26 percent.
New Zealand reported one more death, bringing the death toll to 19.
One new confirmed case and four new probable cases of COVID-19 were reported over the past 24 hours, with the total number of infections being 1,469.
New Zealand moved from COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 at 11:59 p.m. local time on Monday, relaxing on some businesses. The country will stay in Alert Level 3 for two weeks before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11.
WHO alerts on cyber attacks, calls for vigilance
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cyber attacks directed at its staff members and email scams targeting at the public since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO, in a statement on Thursday said that this week, 450 active WHO email addresses and passwords were leaked online along with thousands belonging to others working on the novel Coronavirus response.
“The leaked credentials did not put WHO systems at risk because the data was not recent.
“However, the attack did impact on older extranet system, used by current and retired staff as well as partners.
“WHO is now migrating affected systems to a more secure authentication system,” it said.
The world health agency warned that scammers impersonating WHO in emails have also increasingly targeted the general public to channel donations to a fictitious fund and not the authentic COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
It disclosed that the number of cyber attacks was now more than five times the number directed at the organisation in the same period last year.
Bernardo Mariano, WHO’s Chief Information Officer, said, “Ensuring the security of health information for Member States and the privacy of users interacting with us is a priority for WHO at all times, but also particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are grateful for the alerts we receive from Member States and the private sector. We are all in this fight together.”
The health agency advised the public to remain vigilant against fraudulent emails.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Buhari alerts ECOWAS leaders on challenges posed by COVID-19
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on fellow ECOWAS leaders to look beyond the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and tap into various opportunities that it presents for the betterment of lives in Member States.
The president made the appeal during an Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit on COVID-19 which was held via teleconferencing under the chairmanship of President Mahamadou Issoufou of the Republic of Niger, on Thursday.
Buhari, who was appointed as Champion of the COVID-19 response by the ECOWAS leaders, said: “In every challenging situation such as the current one, there are also opportunities.
“Our region must therefore seek to find those opportunities provided by this gloomy global outlook for its benefit by embarking on the implementation of such critical policies, which before now, will be difficult to accept.”
While calling on his colleagues to intensify collaboration in order to save the region from “this deadly pandemic through sharing our experiences and best practices”, the Nigerian leader outlined some measures taken by his government in response to the pandemic.
According to him, these include:
- The reduction of interest rates on all applicable Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) interventions from 9 to 5 per cent and introduction of a one-year moratorium on CBN intervention facilities;
- The inauguration of Presidential Task Force to coordinate national efforts to combat the spread of the virus and ensure efficiency and effectiveness in line with the Nigerian Action Plan on Health Security;
- The provision of relief materials including medical and food supplies as well as conditional cash transfers of N20,000 each for poor and vulnerable households, and
- The establishment of more isolation centres and testing facilities to contain the spread of the virus.
Buhari also said that unprecedented economic uncertainties, including severe fiscal and foreign exchange constraints, “amid a slowdown in global economic growth that most nations are grappling with, have made it imperative for our sub-region to refocus on accelerating the implementation of our popular vision of ‘ECOWAS of the people’ by adopting dynamic regional policies aimed at providing relief to our citizens”.
He added: “Despite declining revenues, government continues to spend massively on the containment of the virus, medical care for those infected and minimising impact of the crisis on the poor and vulnerable.
“This situation puts severe pressure on our finances by increasing our expenditures amid dwindling revenues. This invariably has led to a restructuring and reduction of our budget.”
“It is imperative that while addressing short term challenges, we should also explore opportunities to promote strong and dynamic agricultural policies that will guarantee food security for our people, creating jobs and reducing poverty in the region.
The Nigerian leader affirmed Nigeria’s solidarity with other member states as they battle the virus.
He said: “At a time of global uncertainty such as this, caused by the devastating impact of the COVID-19, let me convey Nigeria’s solidarity with all the Member States as we collectively battle to defeat the pandemic.
“I am greatly saddened by loss of numerous lives and extend my heartfelt condolences to families of those who have lost loved ones throughout the region. I also wish infected victims speedy and full recovery.”
He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the well-being and safety of the people in the sub-region and restated support for any initiatives that would curb the spread of the pandemic arising from the Summit.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Asia-Pacific countries remain on high alert of COVID-19 as Singapore reports over 1,000 new cases for 4th day
Asia-Pacific countries are fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic with mounting infections while Singapore witnesses the fourth day in a row that the daily new cases in the city state has surpassed 1,000.
Singapore has recorded 1,037 new COVID-19 cases by Thursday noon, the Ministry of Health said in its daily preliminary update.
This is the fourth day in a row that the daily new cases in the city state has surpassed 1,000. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore with a total population of 5.7 million is now 11,178.
India’s federal health ministry said on Thursday morning that 29 new deaths due to COVID-19 and 922 new positive cases were reported since last evening across the country, taking the number of deaths to 681 and total cases to 21,393.
A total of 414 new cases of the COVID-19 were reported from Bangladesh capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country in the last 24 hours as of 8:00 a.m. local time Thursday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said.
The Philippines reported 271 new infections on Thursday, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 6,981 since the outbreak.
The Department of Health said that 29 more patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 722. However, 16 more patients have died from the disease, bringing the death toll to 462.
The Indonesian government on Thursday announced 357 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the archipelagic country to 7,775.
There were also 11 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 647, the government’s spokesperson for the COVID-19-related matters Achmad Yurianto said at a press conference.
The number of COVID-19 positive cases has reached 1,226 in Afghanistan as the country’s Public Health Ministry reported 50 new patients infected with the virus, spokesman of the ministry Wahidullah Mayar said.
Since the outbreak of the disease in Afghanistan, 40 patients have died and 177 others have recovered, Mayar said.
China will continue to support Afghanistan’s fight against COVID-19, Chinese Ambassador Wang Yu said on Thursday at a handover ceremony held in Kabul for medical assistance donated by the Chinese government.
“This is the second batch of 7.2-ton medical supplies donated by China, including much-needed medical equipment such as test kits, masks, protective clothes, goggles and infrared thermometer,” Wang said at the ceremony which was also attended by Afghan Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz.
South Korea reported eight more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Thursday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,702.
The daily caseload hovered around 10 for the sixth straight day. Two more deaths were confirmed, lifting the death toll to 240.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia as of Thursday morning has reached 6,654 — an increase of only seven, or 0.1 percent, from 6,647 on Wednesday.
It is the fewest number of new confirmed cases in Australia since March 6.
The number of COVID-19 infections in Myanmar has risen to 127 in total, with four more confirmed cases reported on Thursday. The death toll stands at five.
New Zealand recorded two more deaths of COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 16.
Two new confirmed cases and one probable case were reported over the past 24 hours, with the total number of infections reaching 1,451 in the country.
Thailand’s youngest COVID-19 patient, a one-month-old baby, has fully recovered and returned home in Thailand’s eastern province of Rayong on Thursday, Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutacha said.
The baby, nick-named by his nurse as Kin Kin, stayed at Bamrasnaradura Institute of Infectious Diseases in Nonthaburi province for nearly 20 days.
Satit described the baby as healthy, cute, good-natured and only cried for milk at night.
Sri Lanka’s National Association for Professionals in Tourism (NAFPT) on Thursday said it had launched a 4-day campaign in several areas of the country to assist foreign tourists who are currently stranded in Sri Lanka due to the pandemic.
In a statement, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said the NAFPT had launched the campaign titled “Tourism Disaster Monitoring and Hosting Program” along with the Tourist Police Division where tourism officials will visit the foreign tourists, providing them with dry ration gift packages, familiarizing the current situation and identifying the difficulties they are facing and providing assistance.
Asia-Pacific countries on high alert amid COVID-19 pandemic, India’s total cases cross 20,000 mark
Many countries in Asia-Pacific are witnessing increasing number of COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with Bangladesh reporting 390 new COVID-19 cases and India’s total cases crossing 20,000 mark, reaching 20,471.
Bangladesh on Wednesday reported 390 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 3,772.
“Three hundred and ninety new COVID-19 positive cases and 10 deaths reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh,” Senior health ministry official Professor Nasima Sultana told a press conference broadcast by television channels on Wednesday afternoon.
Singapore reported 1,016 new cases of COVID-19 infection as of Wednesday noon, bringing the city state’s total confirmed cases to 10,141, the Ministry of Health said.
The vast majority of the new cases are Work Permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. There are also 15 cases involving Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.
Japan’s Nagasaki prefectural government on Wednesday said that 33 more crew members aboard an Italian cruise ship docked in the Koyagi district have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number to 34.
On Tuesday, one member aboard the Costa Atlantica, docked for repairs in the southwestern prefecture, was confirmed as being infected with the virus, with prefectural officials saying they would conduct tests on 53 others who had been in close contact with the infected crew member.
The 33 who have newly tested positive for the coronavirus, at the moment, have not developed severe symptoms and have not been judged as being in a critical condition, the officials added.
Malaysia recorded 50 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 5,532, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that 103 patients had been released, bringing the number of those cured and discharged to 3,452 in total or 62.4 percent of all cases.
The Philippines reported 111 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, raising the total number of cases in the country to 6,710.
The Department of Health (DOH) said that 39 more patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 693. Nine more patients have died, bringing the death toll to 446.
Vietnam has placed a town in the northern province of Ha Giang under quarantine after the province reported a COVID-19 infection earlier, Vietnam News Agency reported on Wednesday.
Dong Van town, covering about 27,500 hectares and home to 1,629 households with over 7,600 people, has been quarantined from Wednesday morning until further notice, the news agency quoted an official of Dong Van district, where the town is located, as saying.
Vietnam reported no new cases of COVID-19 infection on Wednesday, the sixth consecutive day after it confirmed the latest case on April 17, with its total confirmed cases remaining at 268, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Indonesia has reported 283 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 7,418, the government’s spokesperson for the COVID-19-related matters Achmad Yurianto said at a press conference here on Wednesday afternoon.
Laos tested 83 more cases of COVID-19, all of which were tested negative, with the total number in the country remaining at 19 on Wednesday.
The total number of COVID-19 case in Laos remained at 19, as no new case was confirmed, Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference on Wednesday.
Fifty-one more COVID-19 positive cases had been confirmed over the past 24 hours, bringing the number of patients infected with the virus to 1,143 in Afghanistan, spokesman for Afghan Public Health Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.
South Korea added a total of 89.4 trillion won (72.6 billion U.S. dollars) Wednesday for additional economic stimulus package to tackle a possible “employment shock” from the COVID-19 outbreak across the world.
The country reported 11 more cases of the COVID-19 compared with the previous day as of midnight Wednesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,694.
The daily caseload hovered around 10 for the fifth straight day.
Pakistani health officials playing a central role in the fight against COVID-19 feared of a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases during the next couple of weeks, local media reported Wednesday morning.
Thai authorities on Wednesday expressed confidence in the latest downward trajectory of the COVID-19 cases curve, with 15 new cases and one fatality reported.
New Zealand reported one more death of COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 14 in the country, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.
UN ‘on high alert’ as lockdowns expose refugee women to violence
span class=”credit”> Displaced women around the world are exposed to a heightened risk of domestic violence because of restrictive measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warns.
>Women who are refugees, internally displaced or stateless are finding it more difficult to protect themselves under quarantine or lockdown, the Geneva-based agency said on Monday.
>“Some may end up confined to their shelters and homes, trapped with their abusers without the opportunity to distance themselves or to seek in-person support,” said Gillian Triggs, UNHCR’s assistant high commissioner for protection.
>Because of a lack of documents and worsening economic conditions, others may be forced to into prostitution or child marriages, she warned.
>“Globally, our network of UNHCR protection staff are on high alert,” said Triggs.
>In some locations, UNCHR programmes to protect women and girls are now being managed remotely amid the pandemic, with the help of local community volunteers.
>The UN Refugee Agency urged governments and humanitarian agencies to account for the growing risk of gender-based violence against displaced women as they draw up pandemic response strategies.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
New Zealand set to lower COVID-19 alert level
New Zealand will move from COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 at 11:59 p.m. on April 27, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
The country will stay in Alert Level 3 for two weeks before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11, Ardern said at a press conference.
“Going hard and early to stamp out the virus, backed by an effort of 5 million New Zealanders to break the chain of transmission, means together we have helped stop the uncontrolled explosion of COVID-19 in New Zealand,” Ardern said.
On the recommendation of the director general of health, who believed there is currently no widespread undetected community transmission, Ardern said they were able to take a balanced approach in transitioning through alert levels and restarting the economy.
“The sacrifices made to date have been huge,” Ardern said.
She said at Level 3, there are about 400,000 more New Zealanders returning to work, with key sectors such as construction, manufacturing and forestry starting up again.
Under Alert Level 3, children who can stay at home should stay at home. Early learning centers and schools will physically be open for up to year 10 for families that need them, according to earlier announced rules.
Taiwan still on high alert even as COVID-19 cases plunge
According to the Central Epidemic Command Centre, the two patients are Taiwanese nationals, who recently returned from the U.S.
According to the centre, as of Wednesday, Taiwan has reported 395 patients of COVID-19, including 340 imported cases, with six deaths and 137 patients have since recovered.
Health and Welfare Minister, Chen Shih-chung, said Taiwan had done a good job in containing the virus as the number of locally transmitted cases had not risen.
However, he said Taiwan should remain alert and restrictions imposed to fight against the virus would not be lifted in the near future.
“We can’t afford dealing with the global pandemic situation carelessly.
“As everybody can see the global total number of infections have sharply doubled to more than two million since April 3.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that WHO’s rejection of Taiwan as a member not only jeopardised the health of 23 million people in Taiwan but also hindered other countries from benefiting from Taiwan’s experience.
WHO, under pressure from Beijing, does not recognise Taiwan, in line with the UN.
The ministry urged WHO to ensure the participation of concerned stakeholders, including Taiwan.
It also urged WHO to invite Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly, usually held in May, as an observer and further allow Taiwan’s wide-range participation.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Expect your payment alerts on Tuesday: Minister tells 500,000 N-Power enrollees
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, says N-Power enrollees across the country, should expect credit alerts for outstanding payments of their monthly entitlements from Tuesday.
Farouq gave the indication in a statement signed by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr Salisu Dambatta, on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that the mandate for the outstanding payment to the 500,000 enrollees had been signed after all due processes, in line with the rules guiding Federal Government’s public financial expenditure.
“Those responsible for processing the payment must do it in conformity with the necessary rules and regulations to ensure accountability.
“Now that the rules were followed strictly and the process concluded, I was given the assurance that they will start receiving credit alerts from their banks today, Tuesday, April 14, 2020,” Farouq said.
She said the creation of the ministry was leading to the institutionalisation of the programme which entailed that payments for N-Power participants or their enrolment, must be through transparent processes, in line with the relevant rules to ensure accountability.
The minister restated the resolve of the current administration to overhaul the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs) including the N-Power component.
Farouq said the measure was to ensure transparency, effectiveness, accountability and judicious application of public resources in running the programmes.
“The ministry will along with relevant partners drive the overhauling process to ensure that the expected benefits of the NSIPs are realised in full,” she said.
The N-Power programme is a job creation and skills empowerment programme of the federal government for young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35.
It is designed to help young Nigerians acquire and develop life-long skills to become practical solution providers in their communities, enabling them to become innovative players in the domestic and global markets.
Enrolled participants are weaned off the programme after every 24 months and replaced by another batch of youths drawn from across the country. Each participant is paid N30, 000 monthly allowance. (NAN)
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Ejike Obeta (NAN)
2 groups alert FG on food security implications of COVID-19
The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and West African Institute for Trade and Agricultural Development (WAITAD) have called for urgent need to address food security implications of post COVID-19 on Nigeria.
The two organisations made the call on Sunday in Abuja in a joint statement signed by the Presidentof NANTS, Dr Ken Ukaoha.
Ukaoha appealed to the government to awaken Nigerian economic managers including the President’s Economic Advisory Council for immediate consideration towards addressing post COVID-19 economic environment, particularly the future of food security.
He expressed dissatisfaction that while given attention and funding the health sector, food security and livelihoods of the population, which was another looming disease facing the entire population, were not being contemplated for strategic planning by governments.
“The reason is that COVID-19 has resulted in the lockdown of the country in a bid to reduce or curtail the spread.
He said that the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic had gradually enveloped the global economy and the populations in fear, resulting in automatic and unwitting declaration of ‘State of Emergency’ on Health sector by several Governments globally.
Ukaoha noted that where many deadlier diseases which have taken more lives have failed to attract respect and attention, COVID-19 has gained more prominence with heavy budgetary allocations accorded to assuage its ravaging popularity.
“NANTS and WAITAD further note that COVID-19 has caused a serious depletion in the revenue of many countries, especially countries like Nigeria that are largely dependent on oil revenue for sustenance.
“The disease has literarily widely exposed the unsustainability of Nigeria’s unfortunate reliance on oil and the mirage of reclining on the vagaries and impulses of international oil market economy.
“We are strongly concerned that at the moment, producers, transporters, traders and other production value chain actors are asked to stay at home, thereby implicating a stagnated economy courtesy of COVID-19 induced policies and regulations.
“We note that the above situation has occasioned the recent hike in price of food commodities in the markets across the country where few goods are chased by several mouths, and sadly with limited cash at hand.
“The situation leaves traders off the hook of culpability of accomplice in the conspiracy of high price of food commodities, especially considering the complexity, high transportation costs and risks associated with moving commodities from one state to another which are exacerbated by boundary closures for fear of ‘Corona’,’’ he said.
Ukaoha, while notifying the government on an imminent gross food insecurity, said the awakening note had become imperative and
given that the food sector in Nigeria has of late been undergoing a siege.
He listed the three siege which had affected the food sector as the Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen/farmers crises, and banditry and
He said the Boko Haram insurgency had displaced over 80 per cent of farmers from the North East zone while the herdsmen/farmers crises had turned farmers from the North Central and once ‘food basket of the nation’ to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
According to him, banditry and kidnapping made inhabitants of North West to abandon their farms in honour of the dreaded killers.
“The gains made by the commendable policy approach by government in closing the land border against food commodities smuggled into the country, and which rightly culminated in reduction of rice and poultry import bills, among others, are speedily being eroded by the pandemic.
“NANTS and WAITAD insist that the parliamentarians at all levels must devise ways of convening virtual meetings and deliberations via ICT tools.
“By so doing, exhibit the character of true representation of their constituencies beyond the rhetoric of handouts and palliatives and move towards strategic thinking that leads to economic recovery and sustainability of food on the table of their electorate.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
NDDC alerts Nigerians on fraudulent social media accounts offering jobs, contracts
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), on Tuesday, warned the public to disregard social media accounts advertising jobs and contracts opportunities in the commission.
Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, NDDC Acting Managing Director, gave the warning in a statement in Port Harcourt, and said that two Facebook accounts had been purportedly opened in his name to dupe unsuspecting Nigerians.
“The two Facebook accounts used in deceiving Nigerians were operated by so-called ‘Dr. Alfred of SDG’ with phone number: (Phone/Email) .
“Also, Truecaller application identifies the phone number as belonging to Engineer Alfred.
“Clearly, the Facebook accounts were created for the purpose of duping unsuspecting members of the public and in the process bringing the NDDC and its Chief Executive Officer to disrepute,” he stated.
The managing director said that the impersonators were collating a list of contractors with jobs in the commission as well as negotiating payments purportedly on his behalf before the discovery.
“Prof. Pondei does not have an active Facebook account as he is occupied with the repositioning of NDDC.
“The accounts are cloned buttons activated by scammers to use the name and photograph of Prof. Pondei to defraud members of the public.
“Anyone who relates with Pondei on Facebook does so at a huge risk, as the acting managing director has not solicited for payment of any kind as a condition for employment or contracts,” he warned.
Pondei advised individuals and groups willing to do business with NDDC to always crosscheck facts at the commission’s official website and other social media handles.
According to him, the matter has been reported to security agencies to investigate and bring the criminals behind the fake accounts to justice.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ejike Obeta
NAFDAC alerts Nigerians on circulation of fake chloroquine 250mg tablets
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Monday alerted Nigerians on the circulation of falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
In a a statement the Director-General of the agency, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said the NAFDAC was notified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the circulation of the tablets in Cameroon.
“The falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets were manufactured by Jiangsu pharmaceutical Inc, Astral pharmaceutical New Bhupalpura, China.
“The tablets manufactured by these companies has no Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and are in packs of 1000 tablets.
“The use of the falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets may result in treatment failure and could even cause death,” she warned.
She also said that the labelling information on the falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets manufactured by Jiangsu pharmaceutical Inc, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC No.: 028060.
“The Astral pharmaceuticals, New Bhupalpura, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC registration No. 0587612 and advised the general public to be aware of this drug.
“All importers, wholesalers and retailers are hereby cautioned to desist from illegal importation, distribution and sale of falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“NAFDAC has strengthened its surveillance in all ports of entry to prevent illegal importation of the falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“The agency has also heightened surveillance in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to prevent distribution and sale of this falsified drug.
“Healthcare providers and other members of public are advised to be vigilant and contact the nearest NAFDAC office with any information on the falsified chloroquine,” she said.
She called on anybody in possession of the falsified chloroquine to submit it to the nearest NAFDAC office, and advised the consumer to report adverse events related with the use of the medicine, or call the agency toll free lines: 0800-1-NAFDAC and 0800-1-623322.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
WHO Health Alert brings COVID-19 facts to billions via WhatsApp
WHO has launched a dedicated messaging services in Arabic, English, French and Spanish with partners WhatsApp and Facebook to keep people safe from coronavirus. This easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach 2 billion people and enables WHO to get information directly into the hands of the people that need it.
From government leaders to health workers and family and friends, this messaging service provides the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves and others. It also provides the latest situation reports and numbers in real-time to help government decision-makers protect the health of their populations.
The service can be accessed by a link that opens a conversation on WhatsApp. Users can simply type “hi”, “hola”, “salut” or “مرحبا” to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about COVID-19.
The WHO Health Alert was developed in collaboration with Praekelt.Org, using Turn machine learning technology.
Join WHO's Health Alert on WhatsApp:
Send “مرحبا” to +41 22 501 70 23 on WhatsApp
Send “salut” to +41 22 501 72 98 on WhatsApp
Send “hola” to +41 22 501 76 90 on WhatsApp
Send “hi” to +41 79 893 18 92 on WhatsApp