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Only neighbourhood markets allowed to operate -FCTA



The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has warned that only neighbourhood markets are allowed to operate inline with the Federal Government’s stay-at-home order.

Mr Ikharo Attah, Chairman, FCT Task Team on Enforcement of Movement Restrictions, made the clarification on Monday in Abuja during an enforcement exercise along Lugbe axis, a suburb of the FCT.

Attah cautioned that any individual found violating the order would be arrested and prosecuted.

He said that the enforcement team observed that some residents are flouting the Presidential order by going about their businesses in spite of the restrictions order.

Attah, therefore, appealed to the residents to comply with the directive and stay indoors to enable government carry out more contact tracing to contain the spread of COVID-19 into the city and satellite towns of the FCT.

He reassured the residents that the Federal Government restrictions order was in the best interests of citizens.

“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, has being doing so much to enlighten Nigerians and clarify that the issue of 10.a.m to 2p.m. market is for those who are in a neighborhood to stock food and not for major markets,” he said.

Attah warned those who are taking advantage of the stay-at-home window to construct illegal structures to desist from such act.

He said that the FCT administration would not hesitate to bring down any illegal structure built during the lockdown period.

“Embarking on any construction of structures during the period contravene government stay at home directive and any individual found in such act would be dealt with accordingly.

“You cannot be constructing illegal structures now under the guise that the nation is undergoing lock down for COVID-19.

“This illegal structures when completed, and when we now go for demolition they will now be asking, where were you when we were building.”

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Ismail Abdulaziz

Salisu Saniidris: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]


COVID – 19: Only 8 patients out of 73 still active in Zamfara – Matawalle



Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says only eight patients out of the 73 confirmed coronavirus cases recorded in the state are still at the isolation center.

Matawalle made this known on Sunday at a gathering in Maradun where he went to celebrate the Sallah break.

The governor congratulated health workers in the  state for successfully tracking and treating those infected with the virus, and expressed happiness that there were no new case in the state.

“We lost five persons to the pandemic but others survived at the isolation and were later discharged to reunite with their families in good health.

“This remarkable feat have been possible due to the effort of our medical team, our efforts in meeting all the required preventive standards and the cooperation of the good people of the state in adhering to preventive guidelines.

“I want to reiterate that COVID-19 is real, still on the rampage and dangerous  to human lives,  so we must all join hands to sustain the measures that are truncating fast spread of the disease in our communities, so that together we can defeat the pandemic.”

He appealed to the people to always check their COVID-19 status at centres located across the 14 local government areas of the state.

“My administration has recently set up a zero contact sample collection and testing center of the virus at the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital, Gusau, which is one of its type in the whole country in our effort to quickly know any carrier of the disease and save many lives in good time.

“The center will offer services to even our neighbouring state so that we can contain the inter-state  spread of this virus,” he added.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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COVID-19: Safety rules compliance, only way out- Methodist Archbishop  



The Chairman of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Enugu State, Most Rev Christopher Edeh reiterates that observation of all precautionary measures against Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the only way to combat the virus.

Edeh, who is also the Archbishop of Methodist church, Enugu Diocese,  said this during a sensitization tagged ‘Wear Your Face Mask’ in Enugu on Sunday.

The cleric urged christian faithful to ensure they wore face masks and maintain physical distancing in public places including churches, markets, offices and other crowded places.

He also advised church leaders not to allow anyone enter worship places without masks, washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers.

According to him, coronavirus is real and the only way we can fight this evil scourge is by complying to all the hygiene protocols from the federal government and other relevant agencies.

”Please stay at home if you are not on essential duties, wear your face masks when leaving your house and maintain physical distancing as well as washing your hands all the time.

”It’s cheaper and safer to follow the rules than contracting the disease and spending all you have to save your life,” the archbishop said.

The cleric used the occasion to distribute face masks to some churches he visited including Central Methodist Church, Uwani, Baptist Church, New Haven and some Anglican churches in the metropolis.

The CCN comprises Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, Qua Iboe and United Evangelical churches.


Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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Interview: Int’l collaboration “the only way” to address COVID-19 crisis, says UK scholar



International collaboration is “the only way” to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as sharing best practice, data and helping less developed countries are vital to address the global crisis, a British scholar has said.

“I think collaboration with all countries is the only way to look at this, and that is coordination with all countries globally: sharing best practice, sharing systems, sharing accurate and timely and transparent data and information and that’s the most important thing,” said Mark Eccleston-Turner, a lecturer in law at Keele University, in an interview with Xinhua.

Specializing in the field of international law and infectious diseases, he said Britain, and other Western countries, should also look to help other countries strengthen their health systems to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, as opposed to adopting a unilateral approach.

Whereas Britain, China and the European Union (EU), among others, have agreed to a collaborative global effort to combat the coronavirus, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently cut its funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and reconsider the U.S. membership in the organization.

Eccleston-Turner believes the United States move would be a huge blow for any sign of international collaboration in the fight against the coronavirus.

“It’s a big blow to multilateralism. It’s a big blow to collaboration. When you look at something like a pandemic of this sorts, it’s a public health emergency of international concern and what that means is it’s an extraordinary event which warrants a coordinated international response.”

The World Health Assembly (WHA), decision-making body of the WHO, opened its first-ever virtual session on Monday, calling for unity, a stronger WHO role and equity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the WHA, EU, Britain, China and others have endorsed the principle of making any COVID-19 vaccine produced in the near future globally accessible.

Eccleston-Turner said that is a very good thing, and it was fundamental that if Britain had successfully developed a vaccine, it would make it available for all.

According to a recent statement from the British government, the University of Oxford has agreed a global licensing agreement with AstraZeneca, a British-based pharmaceutical company, for the commercialization and manufacturing of their potential vaccine.

This means that, if the Oxford vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make up to 30 million doses available by September for people in Britain, as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total, the government said.

“The agreement will deliver 100 million doses in total, ensuring that in addition to supporting our own people, we are able to make the vaccines available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

“The real point of collaboration, the real test of collaboration and a real test of the UK’s role within the global community will be what happens if we develop a vaccine,” Eccleston-Turner said.

He said there is important reasons for such collaboration.

“Number one is that a reservoir of COVID-19 anywhere in the world remains a threat to the rest of the world. Even if COVID-19 no longer exists in the UK, if it’s endemic in other regions then it can very easily come to the UK and spread through Europe again — and spread through what we think of the global north again,” said Eccleston-Turner.

Secondly, Britain has a moral duty to share the vaccine with the world, he said.

“Individuals, regardless of wherever they live in the world, need equitable access to a vaccine against the coronavirus and just because we happen to live in a country that can afford this vaccine and can develop this vaccine doesn’t mean that we should deny other people in the rest of the world this vaccine,” he said.


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Games without spectators only a short-term solution, Wenger says



Staging football matches without spectators must only be a short-term fix during the COVID-19 pandemic as the prolonged absence of fans could damage the game, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says.

The German Bundesliga became the first major football league to resume since the novel coronavirus outbreak shut down sports earlier this year.

The Bundesliga return behind closed doors is now being closely watched by other leagues.

“Will it survive long term? Will it damage the show long term without supporters? I am convinced of that,” FIFA’s head of global development Wenger said.

“You cannot imagine a whole season without any spectators. That’s why I believe it a short-term solution.

“It is still the best possible way to get a verdict for the end of the season. It’s better than any other decision.”

England’s Premier League is hopeful `Project Restart’, which envisages a return to action in June, can gain momentum after clubs hold a conference call on Monday.

The meeting is to vote on a return to group training with matches to be played in empty stadiums.

The Frenchman added that health concerns should take priority in any decision to restart play.

“We can’t be guided too much by financial reasons and take such a big gamble,” he added.

“We have to first make sure this is medically safe.”

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)


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Online health diagnosis tools only accurate around 36 pct of the time: Aussie study



Online self-diagnosis tools only get it right about once every three diagnoses given, a new study revealed on Monday, raising serious concerns for those making health decisions based on what their computers tell them.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia studied 36 international mobile and web-based symptom checkers and found that they provide an accurate diagnosis just 36 percent of the time, with 49 percent accuracy on when and where to seek health care.

With approximately 40 percent of Australians checking their health online, lead author of the research, Masters student Michella Hill from ECU said the study should make people think twice before using those tools to treat themselves.

“While it may be tempting to use these tools to find out what may be causing your symptoms, most of the time they are unreliable at best and can be dangerous at worst,” Hill said.

The research found that other major issues that need to be addressed included lack of government regulation and the concern that users were given a false sense of security despite the severely limited scope of online tools.

“We’ve all been guilty of being ‘cyberchondriacs’ and googling at the first sign of a niggle or headache,” Hill said.

“But the reality is these websites and apps should be viewed very cautiously as they do not look at the whole picture – they don’t know your medical history or other symptoms.”

“For people who lack health knowledge, they may think the advice they’re given is accurate or that their condition is not serious when it may be,” she added.

Despite the obvious conclusion that online symptom checkers can not replace real doctors, the study’s authors found that they may actually have a place in the modern health system.

“These sites are not a replacement for going to the doctor, but they can be useful in providing more information once you do have an official diagnosis,” she said.


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Remaining 5 COVID-19 patients in Laos only have light symptoms: official



The remaining five COVID-19 patients in Laos have only experienced light symptoms, according to a Lao official.

Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under Lao Ministry of Health Rattanaxay Phetsavanh told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Sunday that five COVID-19 patients, who are treated in Mittaphab Hospital have light symptoms or no noticeable symptoms at all.

The five infected cases included an 18-year-old man, who was confirmed as the eighth case and treated since March 28; the 10th case, a 21-year-old woman, who was treated since April 1; the 16th case, a 23-year-old woman, who was treated since April 9; the 17th case, a 32-year-old woman, who was treated since April 11; and the 18th case, a 32-year-old woman, who was treated since April 11.

All of the patients are treated in the designated hospital – Mittaphab Hospital (Hospital 150) and living in Lao capital Vientiane.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Laos remained at 19, as no new case was confirmed for 35 consecutive days, according to reports.

As of Sunday, Laos has tested 4,562 suspected cases with 19 cases tested positive, and 14 patients have recovered.

Laos announced its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 24.


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COVID-19: Bayelsa discharges two patients, now has only one active case



Two COVID-19 patients in Bayelsa were  discharged on Saturday, Dr Inodu Apoku, the Co- Chairman, Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, has said.



The patients, who were admitted at the isolation centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH)  Okolobiri, were linked to the index case that was discharged about a week ago.


In a statement signed by Apoku, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health,  said the repeated tests of the remaining cases linked to the index case  returned negative.


“These patients have also met all other National Centre for Disease Control,  guidelines for discharge.


“Consequently, they have been discharged today (Saturday).


“So there is only one active COVID-19 case in the state after discharging the index case and the other four linked cases,” he added.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Obike Ukoh (NAN)


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COVID-19: Publish only verified reports, Ondo commissioner urges journalists



The Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, has urged journalists in the state to ensure they only publish verified stories, especially at a time the COVID-19 is ravaging the world.

Ojogo made the plea in Akure on Friday while declaring open a one-day training programme for journalists in radio stations on mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

He said that the programme, which was organised by the state government in collaboration with UNICEF, was aimed at sensitising journalists on their roles in the society during the current pandemic.

Ojogo implored journalists to work in line with the ethics of the profession, part of which required the publishing of only verified and accurate stories.

He added that UNICEF and the state government had been collaborating through production and airing of jingles on the deadly virus in order to alert and educate the public on the dangers associated with the pandemic.

“The jingles are produced in various languages spoken by people of the state so that people can understand the messages in the simplest form.

“The role of the media in information dissemination, public enlightenment and education to people at the grassroots and urban areas cannot be underestimated.

“I appreciate media outfits in the state for collaborating with the government by airing the jingles so as to contain the outbreak of the pandemic in Ondo State.

“Measures have been put in place by the state to tackle the virus while it has equally implemented programmes like distribution of palliatives, relief materials, foodstuff, beverages and face masks,” Ojogo said.

The Guest Lecturer and the state’s Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Dr Stephen Fagbemi, said there must be changes in the approach to mitigating the spread of the pandemic as there was need to understand the preventive messages properly.

Fagbemi said that local languages should be used to reach people at the grassroots for better understanding,  adding that radio stations must re-strategise and re-design their media content.

He urged journalists to ensure adequate publicity was given to educate the masses on the virus ravaging the globe.

“More COVID-19 patients currently on treatment in the state’s centres will soon be discharged.

“It will be recalled that the state discharged six out of 13 cases being managed at the state’s treatment centre.

“I, however, urge people of the state to adhere to protocols laid down by the World Health Organisation in tackling the virus by maintaining social and physical distancing, use of nose mask, regular handwashing and use of hand sanitisers regularly,” he said.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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CJN directs courts to hear only urgent matters



was issued to all Heads of court in the Federal and State Judiciaries.

It is titled: Re: Implementation Guidelines For The Cobtainment of COVID-19 Issued by The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19

“This Circular is imperative following the Guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for the phased easing of the lockdown.

“And having regard to the fact that the National Judicial Council, as Your Lordships are aware, had constituted a Committee to, inter-alia, come up with urgent practical strategic measures to be instituted in order to ensure that Courts continue to function despite the lockdown and the COVID-19 Challenges.

“These measures are expected to include recommendations on how the Courts could leverage on Technology to hold virtual sittings or remote hearings.

“In addition, the National Centre for Disease Control had made an announcement to the effect that we are now at Community transmission phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Furthermore, it is a fact that many of our Judges and Justices are in the high-risk category in terms of age bracket, resulting in many having underlying condition that make them more vulnerable to the virulent manifestation of the disease once infected.

“Hence, we cannot afford to put them and their families at risk by allowing a haphazard resumption of Court without clear Guidelines and Protocols that will safeguard the health and wellbeing of the Judges, Lawyers, Court Staff as well as Members of the Public.

“It is however observed that some Courts, without awaiting the outcome of the NJC Committee, have resumed and continued to conduct proceedings as if normalcy has been restored.

” It is for the aforementioned reasons that all Heads of Courts and Judicial Bodies are directed to continue to abide by the NJC Circular No. /656, dated April 6, 2020 until the following measures are put in place:

“Guidelines on the use of appropriate Technology on virtual or remote hearings issued by the NJC;

“Strategic measures and Guidance must be provided for Courts where physical hearings must be held and they must do so sparingly and in line with appropriate regulations and guidelines issued by the NJC, and the health protocols approved by the NCDC.

“This should cover things like access control, infrared temperature detector/thermometer, space requirement per person, physical distancing within the Court premises, protective gears, sanitation and periodic decontamination of the Courtrooms amongst other measures;

“Every Court/Judicial Body Administrator is required to provide adequate safety equipment like face masks and sanitary stations with hand washing facilities to the Judges, Justices, Staff and general Court users;

“In line with the Guidelines for the phased easing of the lockdown by the Presidential Task Force, only Staff on the Grade Level 14 and above shall resume duty.

“All Heads of Courts/Judicial Bodies are hereby directed to bring the content of this Circular to the notice of all Stakeholders in justice administration, please,” he said

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Thai gov’t lifts ban on sale of alcoholic beverages, restricting to take-away only



Thai government, on Friday, announced it will allow the sale of alcoholic beverages starting on Sunday.

The government will, however, restrict buyers to only “take-away”.

“Shops selling alcoholic beverages are allowed to open but consumption at the shop is banned,’’ said the Royal Gazette notice, signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcohol as part of the condition for their reopening from Sunday.

Pubs and other entertainment venues, where alcohol is served, will remain closed, the Royal Gazette said.

The ban on alcoholic beverage sales was enforced for most of April across the country.

In Bangkok, it started from April 10.

The ban was aimed at curbing social gatherings, which the government said would increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The lifting of the ban was part of the government’s easing of some stringent measures imposed to stem the spread of the virus.

The COVID-19 curve in Thailand is on a downward trend, with only six new COVID-19 cases and zero death reported on Friday.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Only three persons cannot represent ‘ Enugu residents’: Lockdown: Set up boundaries’ mobile courts to prosecute violators, residents urge government 



A cross section of Enugu residents have urged the state government to set up mobile courts at the boundaries to prosecute violators of the lockdown order following the global coronavirus pandemic.

Some residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Enugu, said that the setting up of the mobile courts would help to enforce the order.

Mr Chijioke Eneh, a civil servant said that the presence of mobile courts at the boundaries would go a long way in restricting the movement of people leaving and coming into the state as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease.

“When violators of the lockdown are arrested at the boundaries and charged to mobile court immediately, the number of those travelling out or coming into the state will reduce,” Eneh said.

Mr Charles Ikechi, a bus commercial driver said that if mobile courts were in place at each entry point of the state, the state would not have recorded the third cases of the virus, reported to have come from Jos.

“Mobile Court will have prevented the third case of COVID-19 in Enugu because it will have identify violators and taken for isolation centre for 14 days quanrantine, which is one of the punishment.

“Setting up a mobile court at boundaries is a serious matter, once a person violates the lockdown order either by leaving or coming into the state, the security personnel should arrest him or her and charge such a person to the mobile court immediately,” Ikechi added.

Mrs Uju Okoye, a teacher said that anyone violating the order should not only be quarantined but also be made to pay a fine of N50,000 so as to serve as a deterrent to other would-be violators of the lockdown order.

“Deny lockdown violators their freedom of movement for 14 days by isolating them and fine them a huge sum of money, nothing less than N50,000 at the same time, so that others will learn to obey orders,” Okoye said.

She called on the security agencies to rise up to their responsibilities by ensuring that both human and vehicular movement at the boundaries were restricted so as to curb the virus in the society.


Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/ (NAN)

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Restaurant provides takeaway service only due to COVID-19 in Dusseldorf, Germany



A customer (R) picks up a takeaway bag in a restaurant that provides takeaway service only due to the concern of COVID-19 in Dusseldorf, Germany, April 28, 2020. (Photo by Ulrich Hufnagel/Xinhua)

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AL chief reaffirms political dialogue “only” path to settle Libyan crisis



Arab League (AL) Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit stressed on Wednesday that the political solution is “the only way to settle the Libyan crisis.”

In a statement, Aboul-Gheit voiced worries regarding “the escalation that Libya has been experiencing at the military and political levels.”

He reaffirmed the pan-Arab body’s rejection to any military actions for bringing peace and stability to the war-torn country.

He condemned the ongoing military operations across Libya, especially around the capital Tripoli and the western areas of the country.

Aboul-Gheit renewed his calls for the two warring parties, the UN-backed Libyan government and the eastern-based Libyan National Army, to abide by a humanitarian truce especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

“The Libyan leaders should realize that there is no place for ending the current struggle in Libya without a political solution,” the statement added.

It noted that the political solution should be “based on reaching a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire, dismantling the armed militia that threatens the stability and security of Libya and unifying national efforts for combating terrorism.”

The AL chief further slammed all foreign military intervention violating the international laws, adding that “it is the source for feeding the conflicts.”

Libya has been engaged in a civil war since the ouster and killing of the former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign in and around Tripoli, attempting to take over the city and topple the rival UN-backed government.

On Monday, Khalifa Haftar, commander of the eastern-based army of Libya, announced cancelling the UN-sponsored political agreement reached between the rival sides in 2015, claiming that it’s “people’s authorization” for him to run the country.


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Albania to open schools shortly only to high school graduates



The Albanian government has decided to open schools for a few weeks only to high school graduates due to the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Besa Shahini said on Tuesday.

During an online press conference, Shahini announced the latest government decision on the 2019-2020 school year, which was interrupted in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus among students.

According to the decision, high school graduates will return to school from May 18 to June 5 to prepare for the state exams, which will be held from June 8 to 18.

The 2019-2020 school year process will be closed in June, and during this time teaching will continue to take place online, Shahini said.

“Students from first to 11th grade will continue to study at home through online classes until May 29,” she explained.

“The partial opening of schools will begin by enforcing strict rules of social distancing and the maximum number of students per class will be 15,” Shahini added.

The minister did not make any announcement for the university students.

Schools and universities in Albania have been closed since March 9, when the first case of coronavirus infection was confirmed in the country.

As of Tuesday, the total number of cases in Albania reached 750, with 431 recoveries and 30 fatalities, according to the Public Health Institute.


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Yemen’s only confirmed COVID-19 case recovers



Yemen’s Ministry of Health announced Monday that the first and only confirmed case of COVID-19 has recovered in the eastern province of Hadramout.

The pro-government ministry announced officially in a statement “the recovery of the only case of COVID-19 registered previously in the port city of Ash Shihr in the country’s eastern province of Hadramout.”

The ministry’s statement confirmed that “the results of all the medical and clinical examinations carried out on the patient and his relatives were negative.”

On April 10, Yemen’s supreme national emergency committee declared that a 60-year-old Yemeni man, who worked in Ash Shihr, was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Plagued by cholera, malnutrition, and diphtheria, Yemen lacks the ability to cope with deadly epidemics as its five years of civil war has almost destroyed its healthcare system.

According to UN estimates, nearly 80 percent of the population in Yemen require humanitarian assistance and protection.

Ten million people are a step away from famine and 7 million people are malnourished.

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COVID-19: Only persons wearing facemasks can access our health facilities–C/River Govt.



Dr Betta Edu, the Chairman, Cross River COVID-19 Taskforce, on Friday directed healthcare  workers in the state not to grant access into the state’s healt facilities to anyone who failed to put on facemasks.

Edu said this when she paid an unscheduled visit to the General Hospital, Calabar, where she meet with healthcare workers on the front line.

The chairman  said that wearing facemasks  was very important  in providing protection to both the sick and healthy persons in the society.

Edu, also  the Commissioner for Health, said if everyone wore a mask, the chances of transmitting  any disease would be as low as 1.5 per cent.

She added that health workers and clients  should always protect themselves  as the fight against COVID-19 continues.

“Only persons  with facemasks should gain  access into our hospitals in Cross River, as Gov. Ben Ayade’s  policy of ‘No mask no movement’ applies here too.

“The welfare  and safety of the health workers in all the hospitals across the state should not be taken for granted. Always maintain a high index of suspicion and take precautionary measures even when dealing with patients.

“You should not hesitate to report any suspected case of COVID-19 to the State epidemiologist for proper evacuation and attention,” she said.

The chairman, who was impressed with  the level of activities going on in the hospital, donated some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the hospital.

She added that the Cross River Government’s policy of : “No mask no movement” should be implemented as a precautionary measure against the deadly virus as the residents  safety meant a lot to the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Government of Cross River had earlier declared a:  “No mask no movement” order in the state.

According to the state government, any defaulters would pay a fine of N300,000 and would also be isolated for two weeks.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Peter Dada (NAN)

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India’s aviation minister says flight restrictions to be lifted only when COVID-19 under control



India’s Federal Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Monday the flight restrictions that were in place as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak would only be lifted after the spread of the virus is controlled.

“I want to once again say that flight restrictions that are in place as a result of India’s fight against COVID-19 will be lifted once we are confident that the spread of the virus has been controlled and it poses no danger to our country and people,” Puri wrote on twitter.

The minister’s reaction came in response to the opening of ticket bookings by some airlines.

“Since some airlines did not heed our advisory and opened bookings and started collecting money from flyers, a directive was issued to them on 19th April restraining them from doing so. They were also informed that they will be given sufficient notice and time to commence bookings,” Puri writes.

Earlier this month Puri said the government has not decided to resume air service (domestic and international) in the country.

India is currently reeling under a lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown was announced on March 25 and has been extended until May 3.

All road, rail and air services have been suspended in wake of the lockdown, except for essential services which are exempted.

Details released by the federal health ministry Monday morning showed the death toll due to COVID-19 in India rose to 543 and the total cases have reached 17,265.

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Lockdown: Online educational programmes will benefit only few students- Experts



Some educationists in Ibadan on Friday said only few students will benefit from online educational engagements being carried out in some parts of the country due to the lockdown.

The experts told the News Agency of Nigeria that many students would not benefit from the online educational initiatives due to lack of infrastructure.

Mr Kayode Adeyemi, the President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Oyo State, said power supply critical to the success of the online engagement as well as monitoring of the students to ensure they follow through with the programme were lacking.

Adeyemi said though the government and some private school operators had engaged students with online educational programmes, the impact would continue to be minimal due to the current challenges in the country.

“In terms of quality, even if you do online engagement, it cannot be as effective as being in the classroom or having teachers whom the students are familiar with and who have authority to teach them.

“Even at the online engagement level, we still have students who can’t login due to lack of data, some have flat batteries while some parents would claim they are not aware of the arrangement.

“Some schools that are very passionate in getting things done, however, go the extra mile to call parents to make sure that they have data,” he said.

According to Adeyemi, money to recharge data is also a challenge as many homes are managing their finances at this period.

“The priority of an average household now is on how to feed the family and survive the lockdown, not really to expend money on data or fuel to power television or radio.

“Some students will be given assignments online only for them to call back and say they didn’t see it clearly, some of them will not even respond or they would  complain of network issue.

“That is the platform we say we want to migrate to because of lockdown. This alternative can only work for about 45 per cent of students who are serious minded and have the means,” he said.

Also speaking, Prof. Adams Onuka, an Education Evaluation Expert at the University of Ibadan,  described the development as ‘ fire brigade approach’ due to lack of infrastructure to make it effective.

He noted that those in the rural areas would be left out as only the elites would benefit the most from the engagement.

The don said: “This is something that should be systematically planned and executed.

“The engagement is not taking into cognisance those whose means of livelihood had been affected and those in the rural areas who don’t have access to electricity supply.

“Though, it is a laudable idea but it is being done at a wrong time because we are not prepared for it and the people are not equipped for it as there is no provision for it to be successful.

“Most of the government’s resources now are spent on health care, There is no structure on ground to execute this, even radio that is not costly, some people might not have access to it in the villages.

” What infrastructure do we have in place for its success?”

He, however, enjoined the government to use the occasion of COVID-19 pandemic to overhaul critical sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

“We just have to look at the fundamentals, I think COVID-19 has provided us with the opportunity to overhaul critical sectors.It will help our economy  to grow and depend less on the western world for survival,” Onuka said.

NAN reports that since schools were closed in Oyo State, many private schools have engaged students on social media platforms while the government is sponsoring educational programmes on television tagged  “School-on-Air.”

Dr Nureni Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, also announced that the state would commence teaching of English language and Mathematics to pupils on government-owned radio stations across the state on Monday.

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Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Only 2 Nigerians in Switzerland interested in evacuation back home – Envoy



Two Nigerians temporarily living in Switzerland have indicated that they desire to be evacuated to Nigeria amid the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.

Amb. Baba Madugu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland disclosed this on Tuesday in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria correspondent in that country.

It will be recalled that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently directed all its missions abroad to compile lists of willing nationals who wished to return home to Nigeria.

That was sequel to the request by Nigerians stranded abroad in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of the Nigeria in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), who was quoted in a statement signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media and Public Relations Unit of the commission in Abuja.

According to Dabiri-Erewa, the interested Nigerians are advised to inform the missions in the various countries they are in, who will then collate and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The NIDCOM chairman urged Nigerians stranded abroad willing to return home to key into this Federal Government gesture by providing their information to the mission in their respective host countries.

She said that while embassies in several countries were also on lockdown, those interested could also go online and fill a form provided on the commission’s website: Form101 – Nigerians in Diaspora Commission

Madugu further told NAN that a female on internship in Zurich and a male, who had embarked on a brief visit to Geneva had contacted the embassy and expressed the willingness to be evacuated back home following the government’s lockdown order which has seen Swiss residents staying at home since March 16.

According to him, most Nigerians in the country are residents and do not fall under the category of those stranded in a foreign land.

“That explains their unwillingness to be evacuated home as they are not in need of such measure,” he said.

He also told NAN that there had been no reported cases of Nigerians who had tested positive for the coronavirus in Switzerland.

The envoy appealed to the diaspora community to strictly adhere to the safety guidelines  put in place by the Swiss authorities.

NAN reports that Switzerland, recently recorded between 500 and 700 new cases, a development which raised the number of infections in the country to more than 25,000 with the number of deaths topping 1,000.

These make the small Alpine nation one of the countries most affected by the pandemic to date.

In response to the development,  the Swiss government had extended the lockdown to April 26 and is expected on Thursday to announce new plans to ease restrictions introduced to counter the spread of the virus that originated in China and spread across the globe.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim) (NAN)

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Bulgarian churches open for Easter, but only most devout go




For Martin Zhekov, a Sofia fashion hairdresser, attending church on Palm Sunday was a need he could not brush aside.

“The church always gives solace, especially in these troubling times,” he said. “Nothing is like it used to be and nor will it be any time soon.”

Elsewhere, on what was Easter Sunday for other Christian denominations, Pope Francis delivered his Easter message to Roman Catholics from a empty St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Also just a handful of clerics gathered at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’ death and resurrection that is normally packed with pilgrims.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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