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Pandemic: Commission donates 2 ambulance, 50 hospital beds to Yobe state



The Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) on Friday presented two ambulance, 50 hospital beds, food items and other medical equipment to Yobe state government.

Muhammed Jawa, the Executive Director NEDC while presenting the items to Yobe State Governor, MaiMala Buni in Damaturu said it was part of the palliative measures to contain COVID-19 pandemic.

“In order to assist people and reduce the spread of the pandemic, this time around we are presenting to Yobe state government two ambulance, 50 hospital beds, 1,100 cartons of macaroni,

“5,100 bags of rice of 25kg, 1,000 bags of maize flour, 13,000 gallons of vegetable oil, 1,700 cartons of tomato paste, 12,000 packets of seasoning 1,100 cartons of spaghetti and 1,100 packs of salt,

Jawa also noted that the commission had earlier donated other palliative items to the state government.

“Earlier we gave out some palliative items to Yobe State Government which included protective equipment, ventilators, surgical masks, ordinary face masks, infrared thermometers hand gloves hand sanitisers among others,”he added.

In his appreciation remarks, Yobe state Governor, MaiMala Buni, represented by his Deputy, Idi Gubana, said the support had come at an appropriate time.

“This donation of food items and medical equipment by NEDC has come at the right time because of the current COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.

“All businesses have been shut down and people are struggling on how to sustain their lives with lockdowns.

“So Yobe state governor has been doing everything possible to ensure all palliatives reach the grassroots. So these items are highly welcomed.

“We appreciate the management of NEDC for this gesture,” he said.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)






















Tanzanian universities reopen on cautious note over COVID-19 pandemic




Tanzanian universities reopened on Monday on a caution note after they were shut down about two months ago following the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the east African nation.

Chancellors of universities in the country said they had taken precautionary measures days before they reopened according to instructions of education authorities.

They said the measures included making sure that the students wash hands as they enter the academic buildings, wear face masks, undergo thermal scanning and observe a one-meter social distance.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor for private-owned Tumaini University’s Dar es Salaam College, Andrew Mollel, said 70 percent of students at the college based in Mwenge area have already reported for studies.

“We have made adjustments to the academic program to enable them to cover their curriculum in the remaining 12 weeks before they sit for their examinations,” said Mollel.

Jackson Isdory, communications officer for government-owned University of Dar es Salaam, said many students reported on Monday, adding that all precautionary guidelines against CIVID-19 were already in place.

Faustian Bee, the chancellor of state-run University of Dodoma, said 12, 533 students, an equivalent of 42 percent of total students, have already reported for studies.

“We have placed buckets for hand washing all over the university. All students have been instructed to wear face masks. In short, we are observing guidelines given by the Ministry of Health,” said Bee.

On May 21, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced the reopening of universities on June 1 after what he described as a decline in COVID-19 infection cases.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the shutdown of schools and universities on March 17 and March 18, respectively, following the outbreak of the virus in the east African nation.


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Japan’s corporate profits book sharpest dive since 2009 amid global pandemic




Japan’s corporate profits in the January-March quarter booked the largest decline since 2009, as numerous companies were hurt financially by the global coronavirus pandemic, which saw demand and consumption slump amid the shuttering of plants and businesses.

According to the Finance Ministry‘s quarterly survey, pretax profits of domestic companies tumbled 32.0 percent to 15.14 trillion yen (140.76 billion United States dollars) from a year earlier, marking the fourth successive month quarterly profits have retreated.

This also marked the sharpest decline since a 32.4 percent fall was booked in the July-September period in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, the ministry’s figures showed.

Amid falling global demand, manufacturers felt the brunt of the pandemic, with the transportation equipment sector booking a 50.7 percent dive in pretax profit, the ministry said.

As for the non-manufacturing sector, meanwhile, pretax profits marked significant declines in the service sector, dropping 59.6 percent, while those in the wholesale and retail industry fell 38.0 percent, the ministry’s data also showed.

Declining for a third straight quarter, corporate sales in Japan were down 3.5 percent from the previous year to 359.56 trillion yen (3.34 trillion United States dollars).

Capital spending by all non-financial sectors increased 4.3 percent to 16.35 trillion yen (152.01 billion United States dollars), the ministry’s data also showed, with this figure coming on the heels of a 3.5 percent drop in the previous period.

Revised gross domestic product data for the January-March quarter will be released by the Cabinet Office on June 8, with the figures expected to be upwardly revised owing to the increase in capital expenditure, although the rise could be negligible when the drop in private consumption is factored in.

Preliminary data showed Japan’s economy shrank an annualized real 3.4 percent in the three-month period due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This was the second successive quarterly contraction and saw Japan enter a technical recession.

The finance ministry polled 31,540 companies capitalized at 10 million yen (92,963 United States dollars) or more.


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Thailand authorities further ease up anti-pandemic measures




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Staff members sterilize seats at a movie theater in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 1, 2020. Movie theaters, spa parlors, beauty salons and fitness centers in Thailand were reopened on Monday as the authorities have further eased up anti-pandemic measures. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

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COVID-19 pandemic delays arrival of RoRo vessel at Rivers Port



Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Monday said that the first RoRo vessel expected by the Rivers Port in Port Harcourt had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Mr Adams Jatto made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

According to him, the vessel, which was supposed to have come in by April, has not been able to make it, and there is no definite date for its arrival  the country.

“This vessel is a special cargo which has to do with vehicles and, maybe, they could not get people to load them.

“We are still in touch with them to get updates,” he said.

Recall that on March 15, the NPA, in its bid to improve vessel traffic to the Eastern Ports, said that the Rivers Port was expecting its first Roll on/Roll off (RoRo) operations.

Jatto had said that the first RoRo Vessel to berth in the history of the Rivers Port was scheduled to depart the United States of America in the middle of March and arrive Port Harcourt at the end of March or early April.

He had said that the introduction of RoRo operations would in no small measure increase the revenue base of Rivers Port in particular and NPA as a whole.

Jatto had indicated that the move was traceable to intentional commitment and landmark reforms that the current management of the NPA had instituted toward ensuring that all ports in Nigeria became optimally functional.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)


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Portugal’s industrial production down 25.9 pct in April amid pandemic




The National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Portugal announced on Monday that the country’s industrial production index fell 25.9 percent in April in comparison with the same month of the previous year, directly reflecting the paralysis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared to the month of March, when the fall had been 6.8 percent, Portuguese industrial activity sank another 19.1 percentage points.

According to the statistics agency, the rate of change in the manufacturing section decreased by 29.0 percent in April, while in March it had fallen by 10.2 percent.

“Reflecting the constraints to economic activity determined by measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industrial production index registered a negative variation,” said INE on its website.

On Monday, Portugal began the third and final phase of deconfinement, with the general reopening of trade, and the government encourages the return of consumption as a way to reactivate the economy. However, the third phase of reopening for the Greater Lisbon will be postpone to June 4 due to the new outbreaks.


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South Australia set for space industry boom in wake of COVID-19 pandemic




About two billion Australian dollars (1.3 billion United States dollars) are invested in Australia’s space industry, the nation’s space agency has revealed.

According to the 2019 State of Space Report published recently by the Australian Space Agency (ASA), there are 88 space projects worth a combined two billion Australian dollars in the pipeline across the country from July 2018 through to June 2028.

South Australia (SA), where the ASA is headquartered, is on track to receive one third of the total investment but only nine percent of that from private space companies.

The ASA was formed in July 2018 with the goal of increasing the value of Australia’s space industry to 12 billion Australian dollars (8.02 billion USD) and creating 20,000 new jobs by 2030.

Steven Marshall, the Premier of SA, told News Corp Australia that the growing space industry would have a key role to play in helping the Australian economy recover from the coronavirus crisis.

“There is a new importance placed on national resilience and sovereign capability since the COVID-19 crisis, which offers opportunities for homegrown innovation,” he said.

“The space sector is one area that can certainly play a role in this.”


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Immigration rights activists call United States routine deportations amid pandemic “outrageous”




Immigration rights activists in Mexico have been outraged by the U.S. government’s routine deportations of undocumented migrants amid the COVID-19 pandemic without taking any health precautions.

It’s “outrageous,” said Ana Laura Lopez, founder of advocacy group “Deportees United in the Struggle.”

The group has aided deportees who complained of a general lack of adequate health and sanitary measures at U.S. detention centers, and throughout deportation proceedings, Lopez told Xinhua.

In addition, deportees found it hard to process needed documents or even buy basic necessities amid the COVID-19 lockdown, which ordered many government offices and non-essential businesses to close or curtail operations.

“We know what the posture of (United States President Donald) Trump‘s administration is: inhumane. If it was already inhumane before, it’s worse now — it is horribly evident,” said Lopez.

Migrant shelters along Mexico’s northern border with the United States, including the Catholic Church-run Nazareth Migrant Shelter in Nuevo Laredo, in the northeast state of Tamaulipas, have been wary of COVID-19 outbreaks sparked by the ongoing deportations.

In April, 15 migrants at the shelter, which borders the U.S. state of Texas, tested positive for the virus, piling more woes atop the residents’ existing concerns, recalled Father Marvin Ajic, a priest.

Six of the migrants were Honduran, four Mexican, three Cuban, and one from Guatemala and one Cameroon. Among them were minors aged 10, 13 and 16.

Being isolated “was painful for each of them,” said Ajic, adding that “it is important to take into consideration mental and psychological health.”

Since 2019, the United States‘ so-called Migrant Protection Protocols have allowed it to deport undocumented migrants seeking asylum in Mexico, where they await the outcomes of applications.

A COVID-19 outbreak at the shelter “was inevitable,” given that “a large percentage of those arriving had been in prisons” in the United States, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, warned Ajic.

Other Latin American countries such as Guatemala, Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica have also reported cases of deportees infected with COVID-19.

Some 986 migrants at more than 40 U.S. detention centers have tested positive for the virus, figures from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency show.

To prevent the spread of the outbreak, Mexican authorities have geared up to monitor deportees via temperature checks and other measures, as many of them return to their communities and rejoin families and friends, said Brenda Cardenas, head of the state-run Tamaulipas Migrant Institute.


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General news

Research outfit releases findings on Nigerians’ response to COVID-19 pandemic



A data analysis firm, ResearcherNG, has released five major findings from its survey on perception and attitude of Nigerians to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The research which was released on Sunday in Abuja, aimed at understanding public behaviour and the effect of the pandemic on the lives of people.

In a statement, Ms Farida Adamu,  Lead Consultant on the research, said the findings were  from the survey conducted between April 6, and April 30.

She said the ResearcherNG sampled the opinion of 1,122 Nigerians to arrive at the conclusions.

Stating the five major findings, she said that 43 per cent of the population sampled said they knew someone who took pay cuts, lost their jobs, with some of them affected in either.

The Coronavirus  did not only affect healthcare systems across the world but crippled businesses and affected economies in eventful ways.

ResearcherNG in seeking to validate experiences of people, shared mostly via online channels,  asked respondents what their current views weasre.

“Forty three per cent said they had either lost their jobs/businesses, taken pay cuts or knew someone who had similar experiences.

“Thirty two per cent said they still had their jobs and full pay,  two per cent of our respondents said they got financial support from their employers, while one per cent were uncertain about their next pay.

“Fourteen per cent of our respondents said they considered taking a loan to ease financial stress,” she said.

The firm also found out that 55.5 per cent of the survey respondents said they now attended religious events online only, while 18.6 per cent said nothing had changed about the way they practiced religion.

Furthermore, the firm’s findings revealed that one of the most important issues that had trailed public space since the outbreak of the Coronavirus was about its origins.

It noted that lots of conspiracies and theories had emerged about where the virus must have emerged from.

On where the Coronavirus came from, most of the respondents, 43.8 per cent actually, thought it was developed intentionally by someone in a lab.

They bowed to the theory that surfaced on the internet that the disease originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.

The research finding also revealed that Nigerians had higher levels of confidence in the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), than they did with the rest of Government in their response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Nigeria confronted the Coronavirus at a time where trust in many public institutions was abysmally low.

ResearcherNG measured perception toward the NCDC and the rest of government by asking respondents how confident they were in the response of the NCDC versus that of other government agencies,” she  added.

She said that social media was the primary source of news on COVID-19 related issues for most Nigerians.

According to the findings, Nigerians also think the media are covering the outbreak of the Coronavirus well.

55.8 per cent of respondents said they have been following news about the Coronavirus outbreak very closely, and get most of  the COVID-19 related information from social media,” she said.

News Agency of Nigeria , reports that as at May 30, Nigeria had a total of 9,855 confirmed COVID-19 cases according to statistics released by the NCDC.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Asia-Pacific region continues keeping watchful eye on COVID-19 pandemic




Asia-Pacific region continued to pay close attention to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday.

Bangladesh reported 40 new COVID-19 deaths and 2,545 new patients in just one day – by far the country’s biggest one-day tally since the crisis began in the country on March 8.

The highest single-day rise in deaths came just a day after the country reported 28 COVID-19 fatalities.

According to the official, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 47,153 on Sunday with the rise of the new 2,545 cases.

Malaysia reported 57 new cases on Sunday, pushing the national total to 7,819, the Health Ministry said.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that 10 of the new cases are imported, with 47 more being local transmissions, of which 43 are foreign nationals from a cluster at an immigration detention facility and three new clusters in the central Pahang state.

The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 700 within one day to 26,473, with the death toll adding by 40 to 1,613, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference here Sunday.

According to him, 293 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients stand at 7,308.

Lao National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control is keen to treat the last three infected cases, so they can be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.

The remaining three patients have light symptoms and they will be released from hospital if they test negative twice for the virus, Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Sunday.

As of Sunday, Laos has tested 6,928 suspected cases with 19 cases tested positive, and 16 patients have recovered.

India’s federal health ministry on Sunday morning said 193 new deaths and an additional 8,380 positive cases were reported since Monday in the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,164 and total cases to 182,143.

South Korea reported 27 more cases of COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Sunday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,468.

The daily caseload fell below 30 in five days. The confirmed cases rose fast in recent days due to a cluster infection at a logistics center of local e-commerce operator Coupang in Bucheon, west of the capital Seoul.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 270.

New Zealand has reported no new case for nine days in a row, said a statement of the New Zealand Ministry of Health on Sunday.

New Zealand‘s combined total number of confirmed and probable cases stays at 1,504, of which 1,154 are confirmed, it said.

The country currently has 1,481 people reported as having recovered from COVID-19, unchanged from Saturday. The death toll remained at 22.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 506 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 34,366.

Of the newly confirmed cases, five were cases in the community, and 501 were work permit holders residing in dormitories. There were no imported cases.

The number of cases that had passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection was 23.


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