Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Surpass 16,000 As Gombe Tops Daily Infections

ncdc covid-19 update
A graphic published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on June 14, 2020, displaying the country’s COVID-19 statistics.


Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases surpassed 16,000 on Sunday as Gombe State had the highest number of infections – 73 – for the day.

This was revealed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in a late-night tweet on its official handle where it added that the country had 403 new cases of the virus.

According to the agency, Lagos State trails Gombe in reported cases for the day with 68 new infections, followed by Kano State where 46 more people got the virus.

Other states with new COVID-19 cases are: Edo (36); FCT (35); Nasarawa (31);  Kaduna (17);  Oyo (16); Abia (15) and Delta (13).

A further breakdown of the latest figures from the Federal Government agency showed that they were new cases of the disease in the following states: Borno (13); Plateau (8); Niger (7); Rivers (7); Enugu (6); Ogun (6); Kebbi (3); Ondo (1); Anambra (1) and Imo (1).

The latest figures bring the number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the West African country to 16,085 with 5,220 discharged.

Of the number of persons infected, 420 are dead, according to the NCDC.

Global Outlook 

In a tally from official sources compiled by AFP, 431,193 people, globally, have died from the virus as at 1900 GMT on Sunday.

Not less than 7,848,160 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 3,534,200 are considered recovered.

The figures, using data taken by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Real Madrid Resume Quest For La Liga Title, Bash Eibar

Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Marcelo kneels on the field to celebrate his goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and SD Eibar at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid, on June 14, 2020. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP


Real Madrid stayed two points behind Barcelona after a 3-1 win over Eibar on Sunday in a game which saw Marcelo take a knee and Eden Hazard suffer another injury.

In their first game in three months following the coronavirus suspension, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo all scored in the opening 45 minutes.

Brazilian defender Marcelo marked his 37th minute goal by taking a knee and raising a fist in sympathy with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hazard, playing for the first time since February after undergoing ankle surgery in March, was replaced in the second half with what appeared to be a recurrence of the same injury.


COVID-19: Macron Says France Has Scored ‘First Victory’ Over Virus

Macron Signs Controversial French 'Anti-Rioters' Bill Into Law
File: France’s President Emmanuel Macron talks to journalists after a European Council meeting on Brexit at The Europa Building at The European Parliament in Brussels on April 11, 2019. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP


President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France has marked its first victory in the fight against the coronavirus, even if the struggle to contain the outbreak is not over.

“The fight against the epidemic is not finished but I am happy about this first victory against the virus,” Macron said in an address to the nation.

He said that all of mainland France, including Paris, would go into a “green zone” of a lower state of alert starting Monday, meaning that cafes and restaurants in the French capital can open in full and not just on terraces.

The announcement will be a relief for restaurants in Paris and its suburbs, after officials signalled last week that their reopening might not come before June 22.

Only the overseas territories of Mayotte and French Guiana will remain at the “orange” alert level, with highs number of cases still posing a threat to strained hospital systems.

Macron also said that all French schools, except high schools, would fully reopen from June 22, a move that will allow more parents to return to work and give students at least a few days with their teachers before the summer break.

Family visits will also be allowed from Monday at retirement homes, which have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 outbreak that has killed more than 29,000 people in France, though the number of new infections has slowed markedly in recent days.

“As soon as tomorrow we will be able to turn the page on this first chapter across all our territory,” Macron said.

The president also confirmed that the second round of municipal elections originally set for March, when the government imposed the lockdown against the virus, would go ahead as planned on June 28.

But mass gatherings will remain “tightly controlled” for now, since “they are the main occasions for spreading the virus,” he said.


Anti-Racism Protests: France Won’t Erase History, Take Down Statues – Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron holds a press conference at the end of the Global Fund meeting to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria on october 10, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France. Ludovic MARIN / AFP


President Emmanuel Macron vowed on Sunday that France would not try to erase elements of its history or take down statues of controversial public figures, despite growing global scrutiny of former colonial powers in the wake of worldwide protests.

In an address to the nation, Macron said France would be “uncompromising” in its fight against racism after days of demonstrations over alleged prejudice among police forces.

Angry crowds have toppled statues of colonial figures in Britain and the United States, and there has been an intensified scrutiny of the records of key leaders of the colonial era in Europe.

But Macron said the country would not obscure elements of its history or take down statues of public figures who may have advocated racist views or policies.

“The Republic will not wipe away any trace or any name from its history. It will not forget any of its works. It will not take down any of its statues but lucidly look at out history and our memory together,” he said.

He said this was especially important in Africa, where French colonial rule in several countries left a legacy that remains a subject of anger for many to this day.

Together, France and Africa need to find a “present and a future that is possible on both sides of the Mediterranean,” he said.

Several demonstrations against racism and police violence against minorities have erupted in French cities in recent weeks, given impetus by the death in police custody of George Floyd in the US.

Protesters have rallied in particular around the case of a young black man, Adama Traore, who died in custody in 2016, a case that remains under investigation.

Macron acknowledged that France had to fight against the fact that “the name, the address, the colour of the skin” can affect a person’s chances in their lives.

“We will be uncompromising against racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination. New decisions for equality will be taken,” he said.

But he warned that the fight against racism became distorted when it became exploited by what he described as “separatists.”

“It is necessary to unite around Republican patriotism. We are a nation where everyone — whatever their origin and religion — can find their place,” he said.


Tension In US As Police Officer Kills Another Black Man

This undated handout photo obtained June 14, 2020, courtesy of the Atlanta Police Department, shows Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe. Handout / The Atlanta Police Department / AFP


The fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer, this time in Atlanta, Georgia, poured more fuel Sunday on a raging US debate over racism after another round of street protests and the resignation of the city’s police chief.

A Wendy’s restaurant where 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was killed was set on fire Saturday and hundreds of people marched to protest the killing.

Recorded on video and surveillance cameras, Brooks’s fatal encounter with police was the latest in a string of incidents that has sparked a wave of nationwide protests over police brutality.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced at a news conference Saturday that Police Chief Erika Shields had decided to step down.

“I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said. The officer who shot Brooks — identified as Garrett Rolfe — was dismissed.

The death drew expressions of outrage, shock and dismay in a country deeply shaken by civil unrest since the May 25 police killing in Minneapolis, Minnesota of George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

James Clyburn, an African American member of Congress from South Carolina, said he was incensed.

“This did not call for lethal force. And I don’t know what’s in the culture that would make this guy do that. It has got to be the culture. It’s got to be the system,” he said, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The latest protests come as lawmakers are debating how to reform a judicial system seen by critics as stacked against poor and minority citizens and which has proved stubbornly resistant to change.

Some activists on the left have taken up “defund the police” as a rallying cry, one that US President Donald Trump has jumped on to use as a cudgel against his Democratic rival for the White House, Joe Biden.

Biden, for his part, has tried to distance the party from the defund movement, instead advocating increased funding for community policing.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American congresswoman from Minnesota, called that idea “ludicrous” and instead supports dismantling troubled police forces in places like Minneapolis, her hometown, and rebuilding them from the ground up.

“Nobody is going to defund the  police,” said Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.

“The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play,” he said. “What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in,” he said.

– A struggle turns deadly –

In Atlanta, authorities pledged a full investigation into Brooks’s death.

The incident began when police responded to a complaint that Brooks was asleep in his car, blocking the drive-in lane at the Wendy’s restaurant.

Brooks allegedly failed a sobriety test administered by police, and when the officers tried to arrest him, a struggle broke out.

Video of the incident circulating on social media showed two white police officers wrestling Brooks to the ground in the parking lot.

One of them attempts to use a Taser on Brooks, but he manages to grab the stun gun and run away, the video images show.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which probes police-involved killings, also released restaurant surveillance video that showed Brooks turn and appear to fire the Taser at the officers.

An officer reaches for his service weapon, and as Brooks turns back “the weapon goes off,” GBI director Vic Reynolds told reporters.

Brooks was taken to the hospital but died after surgery, the GBI said, adding that one officer was injured.

An attorney acting for the dead man’s family said disproportionate force was used in the confrontation.

“In Georgia, a Taser is not a deadly weapon — that’s the law,” L. Chris Stewart told reporters.

“Support came, in I think two minutes. He would have been boxed in and trapped. Why did you have to kill him?”

“(The officer) had other options than shooting a man in the back.”

Brooks had four children, Stewart added, and had celebrated the birthday of his eight-year-old daughter earlier on Friday.

His death is the 48th shooting involving an officer that the GBI has been asked to investigate this year, according to local newspaper the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Fifteen of those incidents were fatal.


Nigerian Striker Awoniyi Hospitalized After Suffering Concussion

Taiwo Awoniyi being stretchered off the pitch after colliding with Augsburg’s Felix Uduokhai in a Bundesliga game on 14/6/2020. Photo: Twitter/Mainz 05


Nigerian striker, Taiwo Awoniyi has been hospitalized after he suffered a concussion during a match between his club, Mainz and Augsburg on Sunday. 

Awoniyi who is on loan from Liverpool, was motionless for some moments after he landed badly following a collision with Augsburg’s Felix Uduokhai in the first half of the German Bundesliga encounter.

The former U-17 World Cup winner was stretchered off the pitch with his neck in a brace after receiving medical treatment on the field.

According to a statement from the club, Awoniyi, 22, has been hospitalized and is in a stable condition.

“Our striker Taiwo Awoniyi suffered a concussion in his collision with
Augsburg’s Felix Uduokhai and is spending the night in hospital as a precautionary measure,” the club tweeted. “Get well soon, Taiwo!”


A first minute strike from Florian Niederlechner handed Augsburg all three points away from home.

Awoniyi joined Liverpool in 2015 but has not made an appearance for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

He has had loan stints with teams like FSV Frankfurt, Royal Excel Mouscron and Gent.


COVID-19: Mass Testing In Beijing After New Cluster Triggers Lockdowns

This photo taken on February 6, 2020 shows a laboratory technician working on samples from people to be tested for the new coronavirus. STR / AFP


Beijing carried out mass testing for the coronavirus on Sunday after a new outbreak in the city that prompted travel warnings across the country amid fears of a resurgence of the disease.

The deadly contagion had been brought largely under control in China through strict lockdowns that were imposed early this year but have since been lifted.

But a fresh cluster linked to a wholesale food market in the capital has sparked widespread alarm and raised the spectre of a return to painful restrictions.

The National Health Commission (NHC) reported 57 new infections on Sunday, of which 36 were local transmissions in Beijing, all linked to the Xinfadi market.

Another two domestic infections were in northeastern Liaoning province and were close contacts of the Beijing cases.

The 19 other infections were among Chinese nationals returning from abroad.

Liaoning was among several provinces to advise residents against travelling to Beijing due to the new outbreak — along with cities such as nearby Tianjin and several in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing.

Some local authorities said people entering from Beijing would have to quarantine, state media reported.

In the capital, lockdowns have been imposed on a very small part of the city that includes 11 residential estates near the market which supplies most of the city’s fresh produce.

Officials said Sunday they planned to carry out virus tests on 46,000 residents in the area surrounding the market and had set up 24 testing stations.

Everyone who works at Xinfadi also has to undergo testing.

So far 10,881 people have been tested in the area with another eight cases diagnosed on Sunday. They were not included in the NHC’s tally earlier in the day that covered the previous 24 hours.

“I went to Xinfadi market so I want to confirm that I am not infected,” a 32-year-old woman surnamed Guo told AFP as she queued in scorching heat at a stadium waiting for a virus test.

“We were told that after the tests… if it is positive, we will be taken directly to the hospital.”

– Lockdowns and closures –

One of Sunday’s new cases was a 56-year-old man who works as an airport bus driver and had visited the Xinfadi market in early June before later falling ill, state-run People’s Daily reported.

The meat section of the huge, sprawling market was closed Sunday and AFP reporters saw hundreds of police officers and security personnel plus dozens of paramilitary police blocking access.

Efforts to trace those who had visited the market have begun, with companies and neighbourhood communities messaging staff and residents across the city to ask about their recent movements.

A vegetable market adjacent to Xinfadi was open Sunday and trucks were arriving to deliver or collect stock.

“Afraid? Not really” a delivery driver surnamed Zhang told AFP.

“But anyway I have no choice — I am part of the lowest class of society. So I have to keep working in order to make a living.”

In nearby streets, residents were under lockdown and restaurants closed.

Some people used a wooden stepladder propped against the gated entrance to one community to pass supplies to loved ones.

A resident surnamed Chen told AFP he had made several trips with his car to the front gate of his compound to deliver food.

“As soon as I finish delivering the supplies to my family members, I will go upstairs to join them,” he said.

“After that I won’t be able to get out.”

– Food fears –

COVID-19 first emerged late last year and one of the first clusters was from a market in the central city of Wuhan that sold wild animals for meat.

The latest outbreak in Beijing has turned the spotlight on the hygiene of the city’s food supply chain.

State-run media reported that the virus was detected on chopping boards used to handle imported salmon, and that major supermarkets had removed the fish from their stocks.

Beijing authorities ordered a city-wide food safety inspection focusing on fresh and frozen meat, poultry and fish in supermarkets, warehouses and catering services.

One trader surnamed Sun, selling tomatoes and cherries at a central food market, told AFP there were fewer customers than normal.

“People are scared,” he said.

City authorities have closed nine schools and kindergartens near Xinfadi, while sporting events and cross-provincial tour groups have been stopped.


Anti-Racism Protests: Putin Condemns ‘Mayhem And Rioting’ In US

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation via teleconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on May 11, 2020. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP)


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday criticised anti-racism protests in the United States for sparking crowd violence, in his first comments on the issue.

“If this fight for natural rights, legal rights, turns into mayhem and rioting, I see nothing good for the country,” Putin said in an interview with Rossiya-1 television to be broadcast in full Sunday evening.

“We have never supported this,” he said.

The Russian leader stressed he supported black Americans’ struggle for equality, calling this “a long-standing problem of the United States”.

“We always in the USSR and in modern Russia had a lot of sympathy for the struggle of Afro-Americans for their natural rights,” he insisted.

But Putin added that “when — even after crimes are committed — this takes on elements of radical nationalism and extremism, nothing good will come of this.”

Putin also described the protests as a sign of “deep-seated internal crises” in the United States, linking the unrest to the coronavirus pandemic, which he said “has shone a spotlight on general problems”.

He said he nevertheless expected that the “fundamental basis of American democracy will allow the country to escape this series of crisis events”.

Asked about reactions to the US protests including demonstrations in Europe and statues being pulled down, Putin said “this is undoubtedly a destructive phenomenon”.

He suggested protesters wanted only Afro-American doctors to treat Afro-Americans and said this would be impossible in “multi-ethnic Russia”.

The interview was billed as Putin’s first since the start of the pandemic though it is not clear when it was recorded.

The president made his first public appearance at an open-air event in Moscow on Friday after weeks of lockdown at his country residence.


Pastor Ighodalo Loses Wife, Ibidunni

File: Ibidunni Ighodalo. Photo: Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation.


A former beauty queen, Ibidunni Ighodalo, has died.

The family of the deceased confirmed the death of the former Miss Lux in a statement.

She died in the early hours of Sunday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State but the cause of the death was not noted.

“The Ighodalo and Olaleye Ajayi families are deeply saddened to announce the sudden loss of our beloved wife and daughter Mrs. Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo who passed away in the early hours of today,” read the statement.

“As you will understand, this is a difficult time for our families and we will appreciate some privacy during this time.

“All information of burial proceedings will be provided in due course.  May her soul rest in peace.”


Also, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, took to her official Twitter handle to mourn Ibidunni, describing her demise as “unbelievable.”

“Unbelievable! Ibidun. .Dead??My own dear Sister. I am still hoping I will be told it’s not true!!!!!” she tweeted.

In February, the mother of two marked her 13th wedding anniversary with her husband, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of the Trinity House.

Until her death, she ran the Ibidun Ighodalo Foundation and was handling COVID-19 isolation centre projects in Port Harcourt.




COVID-19: I’ll Keep Fighting Until No Child Is Hungry In UK – Rashford

File: Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford gestures at the final whistle during the English Leaguse Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on October 30, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP


Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford has vowed to ensure that no child in the UK is hungry. 

This was after the player helped in raising about £20 million for charity amidst the coronavirus lockdown.

Rashford, 22, liaised with FareShare, an organisation that distributes food to about 11,000 charities and community associations.

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“Guys, I have AMAZING news!!” he tweeted. “We had a goal that by end of June
@fareshareuk would be able to supply 3 million meals to vulnerable people across the UK.

“TODAY we have met the financial goal to provide these meals. Thank you all SO much for the support. And whilst I’m celebrating this, there is SO much more to do.”

The England star who is the fifth most valuable player in Europe as at now, said even though he is celebrating the milestone, does not want to stop.

“Trust me when I say, I will keep fighting until no child in the UK has to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” the forward added. “This is England in 2020 and families need help.”


Global Economy Could Suffer ‘Significant Scarring’ – IMF Official

In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP


The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could inflict “significant scarring” worldwide and the outlook for recovery remains highly uncertain, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said Friday.

The fund in April projected a global economic contraction of 3.0 percent, but Gopinath said the updated forecasts due out June 24 “will be very likely worse.”

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“There is profound uncertainty of recovery,” she said in a virtual address to the 7th Asian Monetary Policy Forum.

Noting the damage done in particular sectors like transportation, as well as the growing risk of bankruptcies and persistent job losses, coupled with expected changes in consumer behavior “one has to be concerned about the path of recovery.”

“Many of these variables point to significant scarring effects,” she said, which would leave lasting damage on the global economy.

In its World Economic Outlook in April, the Washington-based crisis lender warned that the downturn could be worse if the pandemic was prolonged or saw a resurgence.

The World Bank last week said it expects the global economy to contract by 5.2 percent, in the most widespread crisis in 150 years.


Court Orders Swearing-In Of President-Elect Days After Nkurunziza’s Death

File: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza gives a speech as he inaugurates the new state house constructed by the Chinese aid in Bujumbura, during its inauguration on September 27, 2019.
Tchandrou Nitanga / AFP


Burundi’s constitutional court on Friday ruled that the country’s newly elected leader Evariste Ndayishimiye be sworn in following the sudden death of President Pierre Nkurunziza earlier this week.

“No interim necessary, the president-elect …. must be sworn in as soon as possible,” presidential advisor Willy Nyamitwe wrote on Twitter of the court’s announcement.

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Nkurunziza’s death on Monday aged 55 came just days after the election of his successor Ndayishimiye, who was meant to be inaugurated in August.

The unusual situation raised questions over how the transition would be managed, with the constitution calling for the speaker of the national assembly to step in if the president dies.

“The constitutional court has made its ruling… there is no point to an interim period, the president-elect must be sworn in as soon as possible,” wrote ruling party information secretary Nancy Ninette Mutoni on Twitter.