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COVID-19

Africa records over 500,000 cases of COVID-19

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says COVID-19 infections in Africa have surpassed 500, 000 and there is concern as a growing number of countries are experiencing a sharp rise in cases.

WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo disclosed this in a statement posted on its website.

It said, so far, in less than five months, the virus had claimed 11, 959 lives, overtaking the 11, 308 lives lost in the world’s worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

“Cases have more than doubled in 22 countries in the region over the past month; nearly two-thirds of countries are experiencing community transmission.

“Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa account for about 71 per cent of COVID-19 cases. South Africa alone accounts for 43 per cent of the continent’s total cases.

“However, the accelerating growth trend is not uniform across the continent, with some countries recording a steady rise in cases, indicating a protracted pandemic.

“Eritrea, Gambia, Mali, Seychelles and Togo are witnessing long doubling times and low growth rates.

“Seychelles had not experienced a case in nearly two months, but in the past week had dozens of new imported cases, linked to crew members of an international fishing vessel.’’

According to the statement, there are also some signs of progress as 10 countries have experienced a downward trend over the past month.

Although, it said Egypt accounted for 15 per cent of cumulative cases, it has seen a decline in the past week.

The statement quoted Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Director for Africa, as saying: “ with more than a third of countries in Africa doubling their cases over the past month, the threat of COVID-19 overwhelming fragile health systems on the continent is escalating.

“So far, the continent has avoided disaster and if countries continue to strengthen key public health measures such as testing, tracing contacts and isolating cases, we can slow down the spread of the virus to a manageable level.”

The UN health agency said 88 per cent of COVID-19 infections are among people aged 60 and below, likely due to Africa’s relatively young population.

“However, the likelihood of dying from COVID-19 rises with increasing age and the existence of co-morbidities, with the risk of death among patients aged 60 years and above being 10 times higher compared with those below 60.’’

The statement also quoted Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, as saying “communities across the continent have a crucial role to play in controlling the pandemic.

“They have a role to play in controlling the pandemic, especially as countries begin easing lockdowns and opening up their borders.

“As governments continue to implement public health measures, individuals must remain as cautious and vigilant as ever to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.

“Hand washing, mask use, physical distancing and other preventative measures are key to controlling transmission, saving lives, and ensuring that already overwhelmed health systems are not stretched to breaking point.”

The UN health agency further said as COVID-19 continued to spread, thousands of health workers had also fallen ill.

“Equipping and protecting health workers is one of the central pillars of the COVID-19 response.

“WHO is working to support countries respond to COVID-19 by providing technical guidance, crucial medical equipment and has remotely trained more than 25 000 health workers.

“WHO has also organised more than 420 shipments of key equipment.

“These equipment include more than 3,000 oxygen concentrators, 23, 000 GeneXpert diagnostic testing machines and almost four million pieces of personal protective equipment for health care workers,’’ it said.

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COVID-19

Why we didn’t distribute looted COVID-19 palliatives- Osun

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The Osun Food and Relief Committee on COVID-19 on Friday said the looted items at a warehouse in Ede town were not hoarded, but rather kept for flag-off of official distribution.

Alhaji Bayo Jimoh, Secretary to the committee, in a statement in Osogbo, said that the looted items were donated to the committee as palliatives to the people by Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some angry youths in the early hours of Friday broke into a warehouse in Ede town and carted away COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution.

Items such as beans, noodles, sugar, salt, garri, rice, pastas, vegetable oil, among others, were looted from the warehouse located within the moribund Cocoa Industry, Ede.

The incident, however, happened barely 24-hours after the state government announced the suspension of dusk-till-dawn curfew imposed following the #EndSARS protest.

NAN reports that Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola had in April inaugurated a 21-member Food and Relief Committee to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the people of the state.

Jimoh, however, said that the looted food items had no direct bearing with the state government, adding that the items were within the purview of the Food and Relief Committee.

He said as such, the items could only be distributed after a formal flag-off by the CACOVID Office, Abuja.

The statement read partly, ” We do not have the authority to distribute the food items without approval from Abuja.

” Besides, the Committee is still expecting the rice component of the donated items, which is 40, 230 bags of 5kg.

“All these are part of the reasons the items were still in the warehouse up till the time of the invasion.

“The following items were donated; Pasta FMN – 29, 992; Pasta OLAM -10, 282; Noodles- 80, 644; Garri -40, 322; Salt- 40, 320; and Sugar – 40, 227.

“However, the rice components of the donated items are yet to be delivered until now.

The Committee wrote to CACOVID as recently as Sept. 28, 2020, reminding it of the rice component, which is yet to be delivered.

“However, until this moment, we are yet to receive response from CACOVID.

“This is the truth about the status of the donated relief items until the unfortunate looting,” Jimoh said.

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COVID-19

ECOWAS donates food items worth $4million to Nigeria, 3 others

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has donated food items worth $4 million to four member states, including Nigeria, to mitigate impacts of their humanitarian needs.

Ms Fatima Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs, made this known during the commemoration of the 2020 World Humanitarian Day on Wednesday in Abuja,

Jagne, who was represented by Mr Alozie Godfrey from the directorate, said the intervention was aimed at reducing the pains and sufferings of those in humanitarian needs.

She said the need for humanitarian services were on the increase worldwide but the challenges of delivering them were also increasing in a world that is conflict and disaster saturated.

Jagne said this, however, called for support of efforts by states and other actors to prevent crisis and build resilience of the population against natural disasters.

“The ECOWAS commission will continue its collaboration with member states and partners to promote the protection of humanitarian workers through policy implementation, sensitisation and advocacy.

“The commission will also continue to respond to the plights of the affected population through the donation of food and non-food items to reduce the sufferings of the vulnerable population.

“In this regard, the commission is handing over food worth over four million US Dollars to four member countries including Nigeria to assuage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jange said.

Jagne said that this year, COVID-19 had been the biggest challenge to humanitarian operations around the world.

She added that the lack of access and restrictions placed by governments around the world had resulted in communities, civil society and local NGOs being the frontline of the response.

This situation, she said, emphasised the reason for localisation of resources to enhance the first responder initiative.

She said that unfortunately, the ECOWAS region was seriously impacted by both crises and the COVID – 19 pandemic.

Jagne said the theme for this year’s celebration, #RealLifeHeroes, focused on what motivated humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives regardless of conflict, insecurity, lack of access, and risks linked to COVID-19.

“This year’s campaign affords us the opportunity to appreciate the inspiring and selfless assistance carried out by humanitarians who risk and dedicate their lives in crisis and peace times treating and preventing COVID-19.

“Administering vaccines, providing food, setting up safe spaces for women and girls, and containing locust invasions despite the pandemic.

“We all must join hands in supporting our #RealLifeHeroes this World Humanitarian Day and going forward.

“As humanitarian workers deliver aid, and medical workers help the injured and sick, often times, they are directly targeted and prevented from bringing relief and care to those in distress,” Jagne said.

Jagne said that given the recklessness exhibited in modern warfare, civilians more often than not, became targets of most conflicts.

She, however, called for the moral and legal obligation of all parties to a conflict to abide by the rules of International Humanitarian Law as provided by Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols.

“Preventive and proactive peacetime measures aimed at ensuring better respect for International Humanitarian Law must be encouraged.

“These actions will help create the enabling environment for aid workers to work,” she said.

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COVID-19

UPDATE: Lagos to reopen worship centres, restaurants on August 7, 14

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Lagos state government has announced that all religious centres and restaurants are to resume operations from August 7th and 14th, 2020 respectively.

While religious centres are expected to operate at 50% capacity, the restaurant are expected to operate eat-in services.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said “While we try to ensure that life gradually returns to normal, we implore residents to continue to use face masks in public spaces and adhere strictly to all the public health safety measures and guidelines.

“At this point, I have to emphasize how important and necessary it is for us to self-regulate. Everyone of us must take up the mantle of responsibility and ensure that we are self-regulating ourselves in our interest and in the interest of our loved ones.”

 

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