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South Sudan confirms 82 new COVID-19 cases as tally rises to 563

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South Sudan’s Health Ministry on Friday confirmed 82 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 563.

Makur Matur Koriom, the undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, said the public health laboratory released 168 samples out of which 82 tested positive while 62 others tested negative while 24 are to be repeated in the next 72 hours.

Koriom said 58 of the latest cases tested in the last 48 hours were male while 24 were female patients, adding that the latest cases were part of the ongoing contact tracing and surveillance in the country.

“This brings the total number of infections in South Sudan to 563 with six recoveries and six deaths,” Koriom told reporters in Juba on Friday.

He reiterated that the Ministry of Health has now divided the capital into five zones and within the zones, there are 44 health facilities used for random testing.

“The infection is spreading fast, and if you see from the figures we released on Friday and Tuesday you will realize that many people are getting exposed to the virus,” he said.

The official said a full-contact tracing operation is underway and called on all the contacts to cooperate with the country’s rapid response teams.

(XINHUA)

Sport

Sri Lanka begin training on Monday, South Africa to follow suitp

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A select group of Sri Lanka cricketers, mainly bowlers, will return to training on Monday, amid efforts to restart the game after the coronavirus shutdown, the cricket board said on Sunday.

Professional cricket has been suspended since March because of the pandemic, with Sri Lanka’s home series against England and South Africa among its casualties.

Thirteen players will check into a hotel for a 12-day residential camp at the Colombo Cricket Club, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.

“The players taking part in the camp represent a general squad chosen from across all formats, and primarily consist of bowlers, as they need more time for conditioning before going into active competition,” it said.

A coaching and support staff of four will oversee the training, during which players will not be allowed outside the hotel premises and the practice venue.

The SLC would ensure everyone at the training camp adhered to the government health regulations, it added.

Sri Lanka are preparing to host India for a limited-overs series in July.

However, India’s cricket board has said it will wait for more clarity regarding curbs on international travel before making a decision on the tour.

On Saturday, South Africa also allowed training and playing of professional non-contact sport, a decision welcomed by its cricket board.

“This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket,” Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) acting chief executive, Jacques Faul, said in a statement.

CSA’s COVID-19 steering committee will meet on Monday to draw up a protocol for the return to training and playing, he added.

On Saturday, Britain allowed elite competitive sport in England to resume behind closed doors from Monday, in compliance with strict conditions.

ERO/a6

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Defence/Security

CLO commends FG, I-G for creating additional police zonal command in south-east

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The Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation  (CLO) in Anambra, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, on Sunday commended the Federal Government for creating an additional police zonal command in the south-east.

Ezekwueme, who made this commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu, also applauded the Inspector-General of Police Mr Mohammed Adamu for the creation.

The new Zone 13 command comprises Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States.

“There is no doubt that the new zonal command will certainly improve security architecture in the South-East geo-political zone.

“It will further close the rank between the Police and the residents of the three states,’’ Ezekwueme said.

The CLO chief also commended the I-G for choosing Anambra as headquarters of the newly created Police Zone 13 Command.

CLO commends the police commissioners of the three states for their efforts toward improving security of lives and properties.

“Worthy of commendation is the patriotic, conscientious and diligence of some divisional police officers (DPOs) in the discharge of their duties, especially their quick response to complaints at their various divisions,’’ he said.

Ezekwueme also called on the police commissioners and state governors in the new zonal formation to dismantle illegal and illegitimate revenue agents on major highways within their states.

“These miscreants, especially those at River Niger bridge-head in Onitsha, are disgrace and nightmare to the government and Nigerians.’’

NAN reports that before now, only one police zonal command existed in the South-East, which is Zone 9, with its headquarters in Umuahia, Abia.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

19th “Chinese Bridge” contest held in southern Vietnam

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The final round of the 19th “Chinese Bridge,” an annual Chinese language proficiency competition, for southern Vietnam was held in Vietnam’s southern Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.

A total of 26 students from 12 colleges in southern Vietnam participated in three sections of quiz, speech and talent show in the nearly 10-hour-long competition, themed “One World, One Family,” winning applause and cheering from the audience with their fluent Chinese and outstanding talent.

Vo Nguyen Quynh Nhu, a student at Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, won the first prize of the contest and will represent the country together with the winner of northern and central Vietnam in the “Chinese Bridge” competition in China.

Nhu said she started to learn Chinese by coincidence and had been fascinated by the beauty of Chinese language and culture ever since. “I will work harder to learn Chinese and understand the Chinese culture more deeply and comprehensively. After graduation, I would like to work in fields related to Vietnam-China friendship and improve cultural exchanges between the two countries,” she said.

Pham Tan Ha, vice president of Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said in a speech at the competition that the “Chinese Bridge” competition is expected to help students deepen their understanding of Chinese language and culture, adding that the contest was organized despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and had attracted many students who have passion for Chinese study.

Chinese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Wu Jun told Xinhua that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the China-Vietnam diplomatic ties and is of great significance, and that the increasing exchanges and cooperation between China and Vietnam have brought the two peoples closer.

The young generation of China and Vietnam should improve the cultural exchanges and mutual understanding and jointly promote the shared future of humanity for the two countries, he said.

The contest was co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) and the Chinese Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and organized by Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Magnitude-5.4 earthquake rattles southern Philippines

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An offshore earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook Davao Occidental province in the southern Philippines on Saturday night, the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs) said.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 9:06 p.m. local time, hit at a depth of 101 km, about 202 km southeast of Sarangani town.

The institute said the tremor was also felt in the towns of Alabama, Malungon and Kiamba in Sarangani Province and Tupi town in South Cotabato Province.

The institute said the quake, which was tectonic in origin, will trigger aftershocks but will not cause damage.

The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire“.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

13 new COVID-19 cases reported in southern Libya

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The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Friday announced 13 new COVID-19 cases in the southern city of Sabha.

The center said in a statement that it received 423 suspected samples, 410 of which tested negative and 13 positive, adding that the new infections have been detected in Sabha.

The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases so far is 118, including 41 recoveries and five deaths, according to the center.

Due to the rise of infections in the city recently, the UN-backed government decided to ban the entry into and exit from Sabha and impose a 24-hour curfew for seven days starting from Thursday, in order to fight the pandemic.

A series of protective measures have been taken by the Libyan authorities against the virus, including closing the country’s borders, mosques and schools, and imposing a curfew.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Nubian ibexes seen in Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel

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A Nubian ibex is seen by a road in Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel, on May 29, 2020. (Xinhua/Shang Hao)

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Foreign

COVID-19 to reverse southern Africa’s industrial, trade gains: SADC official

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A senior official with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said on Friday the COVID-19 outbreak will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years.

Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the SADC Executive Secretary, said a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID-19 on the SADC region has shown that the pandemic will heavily impact the SADC region across a number of social and economic sectors.

Speaking at the opening of the SADC Council of Ministers virtual meeting hosted by Tanzania, Tax said the decline in the global economy was projected to lead to decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020.

“This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Tax told the meeting chaired by Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Palamagamba Kabudi.

She said the 16 member states of the regional bloc were already experiencing disruption of economic activities, including on agricultural production, food security and cross-border trade.

The SADC member states were also experiencing disruptions on tourism, foreign investment flows, macro-economic stability, peace and security caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tax.

“Findings also show that, government expenditures on COVID-19 related activities have increased at a time that most of the member states are facing fiscal challenges,” she said.

In view of the findings of the socio-economic impact analysis on SADC economies, Tax said, a number of measures have been recommended for consideration at national and regional levels.

Tanzania is the current chair of the SADC, an inter-governmental organization established in 1992 to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 southern African countries.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Sri Lanka prepares disaster efforts ahead of southwest monsoon

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Sri Lanka‘s Disaster Management Center (DMC) has said it is readying for any disaster possibilities ahead of the southwest monsoon and has assured to include COVID-19 mitigation and social distancing response measures in its relief efforts, local media reported here Friday.

DMC Director General, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe said that DMC had decided to take extra precautions due to the risk of COVID-19 and measures would be taken to maintain social distancing at relief centers.

The DMC, Meteorology Department, National Building Research Organisation and Irrigation Department will work closely to prepare for any disaster situation that could arise due to the Southwest Monsoon and house those who might be affected due to adverse weather at safe locations,” Ranasinghe said.

According to the Major General, the DMC has identified eight districts that could be affected by adverse weather which includes capital Colombo, several districts in the southern coast, the northwest, and the central highlands.

A quarantine center will also be established in all districts that were identified as prone to floods or landslides and this decision was taken to prevent any outbreak of the virus during a natural disaster.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Tobacco giant to take legal action against South African sales ban

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British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) on Friday announce that it would begin urgent legal proceedings to challenge the government’s continued ban on tobacco sales during the coronavirus lockdown.

South Africa has started easing its lockdown measures, allowing sales of alcohol from Monday. However, a ban on sales of tobacco will remain in place.

The government has cited health reasons for the ban, but human rights groups and business leaders say it has dire consequences for addicts and the already flailing economy.

BATSA’s head of external affairs, Johnny Moloto, said that the continued ban was threatening the survival of the legal tobacco sector as well as livelihoods of those it employs.

“The ban has only succeeded in significantly growing a massive and nationwide illegal industry at the direct expense of law-abiding businesses, citizens and taxpayers,” Moloto said in a statement.

He added that the treasury was losing about 2 million dollars in excise taxes every day the ban continued.

South African Revenue Service Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter estimated that more than 80 million dollars had been lost due to illicit trade in alcohol and cigarettes during the lockdown.

South Africa has earned praise for its rapid response to the pandemic, but also criticism of its strict regulations and brutal enforcement by the police and army.

President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted the government had received numerous legal challenges from individuals, religious bodies, political parties, NGOs and business organisations since March.

South Africa had 27,403 confirmed cases by Thursday, of which 14,370 have recovered and 577 have died.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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