Spanish PM Sanchez Tests Positive For COVID-19

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez makes an official statement to announce a reshuffle in his cabinet during a press conference at La Moncloa Palace, in Madrid. BELLACASA/AFP

 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Sunday he had tested positive for Covid and temporarily suspended all engagements just two days after returning from the UN General Assembly meeting.

“This morning, I tested positive for Covid-19,” Sanchez tweeted, adding he would not be attending a meeting of the Catalan region’s Socialists in Barcelona.

Sanchez, who returned from New York on Friday, said he would continue working but take the utmost precautions.

On Friday, he is due to host a meeting in the southeastern city of Alicante of the MED7 group of southern European countries.

Customs Violating Tax Exemption For Medical Equipment Importation – Afe Babalola

How Military Rule Affected Judiciary In Nigeria – Afe Babalola
A file photo of legal icon, Mr Afe Babalola.

 

 

Legal luminary, Afe Babalola, has said that detrimental bureaucracies have caused a lot of setbacks for Nigeria in areas of health-related research and other scientific innovations.

Babalola at this year’s Drug Discovery Africa Conference taking place at Afe Babalola University, in Ado, the Ekiti State capital, expressed disappointment that tax concessions that ought to be given for medical equipment importation are being set aside by the Nigeria Customs Service.

The legal icon is also displeased that a COVID-19 herbal remedy produced by ABUAD in the peak of the pandemic is still undergoing efficacy test by the Federal Government, describing it as symptoms of a country unsupportive of progress and breakthroughs.

More to follow…

Chinese City Of 21 Million Shuts Down Over New COVID-19 Outbreak

In the file photo, staff members disinfect a residential area after a resident was infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus in Yantai, in China’s eastern Shandong province on August 1, 2021.
STR / AFP

 

Around 21 million people in the Chinese city of Chengdu effectively went into lockdown on Thursday as authorities raced to snuff out a new Covid-19 outbreak.

China is the last major economy wedded to a zero-Covid policy, stamping out virus flare-ups with snap shutdowns, mass testing, and lengthy quarantines.

Chengdu, in the southwest, became the latest city to announce a shutdown, saying in an official notice that residents must “stay home in principle” from 6:00 pm (1000 GMT) on Thursday to combat a new wave of infections.

Each household will be allowed to send one person out to buy groceries and essential goods per day, provided they have tested negative in the previous 24 hours, the notice said.

It said that all residents would be tested for the virus between Thursday and Sunday, and urged them not to leave the city unless “absolutely necessary”.

READ ALSO: WHO Turns To Public For Monkeypox Name Change

“The current state of epidemic control is abnormal, complex, and grim,” the announcement said, adding that the measures aimed to “decisively arrest the spread of the outbreak and guarantee the health of all citizens”.

Chengdu recorded 157 new local infections on Thursday, of which 51 displayed no symptoms, the city government said in a separate notice.

Children in at least 10 cities and provinces are facing disruptions to China’s new academic year as pandemic controls force schools to switch to measures like online learning, according to a news report on Thursday in state-affiliated media.

Xining, the capital of western Qinghai province and home to 2.5 million people, has ordered schools to conduct lessons online, rolled out a mass testing drive and told residents in its main urban area to work from home for three days.

China’s southern hub of Shenzhen said that new virus restrictions would come into force from 6:00 pm (1000 GMT) on Thursday in its Nanshan district, which hosts the headquarters of tech giants Tencent and ZTE.

The district government said it had ordered entertainment venues including bars, cinemas, and karaoke clubs to close, and started requiring residents to produce a recent negative Covid test to enter their housing compounds.

China has stuck to its zero-tolerance virus strategy despite disruptions from the fast-spreading Omicron strain and concern that the approach is stifling its post-pandemic economic recovery.

Last month, travellers in the southern island province of Hainan protested after more than 80,000 tourists were stranded in a resort city because of a Covid-19 flare-up.

Social media videos from the eastern megacity of Shanghai showed panicked crowds fleeing an Ikea store and another building as officials tried to impose local lockdowns in response to two suspected cases.

AFP

Biden Out Of Isolation After Testing Negative For COVID-19

In this file photo, US President Joe Biden speaks about supporting Ukrainians defending their country against Russia, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2022.  Jim WATSON / AFP

 

US President Joe Biden was out of isolation on Sunday, after testing negative for Covid for a second day in a row, the first time he was able to leave the White House since July 20.

Biden, 79, had tested positive for Covid and returned to isolation on July 30, in a result doctors attributed to “rebound” positivity from his earlier bout of the illness.

“I’m feeling good,” the smiling president told pool reporters at the White House as he boarded a helicopter which then flew him to his beach home in Delaware.

He was also optimistic about a sweeping climate and health care bill that was being debated in the Senate overnight Sunday, telling reporters: “I think it’s going to pass.”

READ ALSOUS Says Russia Will Fake Scene Around Mass POW Deaths To Blame Ukraine

The president “will safely return to public engagement and presidential travel,” his physician Kevin O’Connor said in a statement announcing the negative test.

According to Biden’s official schedule he is set to travel to the southern state of Kentucky, the scene of devastating floods, on Monday.

AFP

Biden Again Tests Positive For Covid, Returns To Isolation

In this file photo taken on July 27, 2022, US President Joe Biden removes his protective mask while arriving to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
In this file photo taken on July 27, 2022, US President Joe Biden removes his protective mask while arriving to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time and is returning to isolation, his White House doctor said Saturday, attributing the result to “rebound” positivity from treatment the US president received.

The 79-year-old Biden “tested positive late Saturday morning, by antigen testing,” following four consecutive days of negative tests, and “will reinitiate strict isolation procedures,” presidential physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memorandum.

READ ALSO: Long-Lasting Loss Of Smell, Taste In 5% Of COVID-19 Cases – Study

“This in fact represents ‘rebound’ positivity,” O’Connor wrote, referring to a situation in which patients treated with the drug Paxlovid — as Biden was — clear the virus but test positive after completing their course.

“The president has experienced no re-emergence of symptoms and continues to feel quite well. This being the case, there is no reason to reinitiate treatment at this time,” he added.

The second positive test came just three days after O’Connor said Biden had tested negative for the disease and no longer needed to isolate, which he had been doing since receiving a first positive result on July 21.

 

AFP

Long-Lasting Loss Of Smell, Taste In 5% Of COVID-19 Cases – Study

A health worker inoculates people with the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by China’s Sinovac against the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, at a vaccination centre in Bogota, on January 4, 2022, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Omicron’s dizzying spread increased the risk of newer, more dangerous variants emerging. (Photo by Leonardo MUNOZ / AFP)

 

Around five percent of people who have had Covid-19 develop long-lasting problems with their sense of smell or taste, a large study said Thursday, potentially contributing to the burden of long Covid.

A lost sense of smell has been a hallmark of contracting coronavirus since the early days of the pandemic, but it has not been clear how often symptoms like this occur — or how long they can last.

Seeking to find out, researchers analysed the findings of 18 previous studies involving 3,700 patients.

In a new study published in the BMJ, they found that six months after contracting the virus, four percent of patients had not recovered their sense of smell, while two percent had not recovered their sense of taste.

It was unclear if this represented a full or partial recovery, however.

The researchers estimated that loss of smell may persist in 5.6 percent of patients, while 4.4 percent may not fully recover their sense of taste.

One woman told the researchers that she had not recovered her sense of smell more than two years after contracting Covid.

The researchers said that while most patients should recover their sense of smell and taste within the first three months of getting Covid, “a major group of patients might develop long-lasting dysfunction that requires timely identification, personalised treatment, and long-term follow-up.”

Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London not involved in the research, said it was a “strong and important study”.

“Studies such as this alert us to the hidden burden out there of people suffering with persistent symptoms, but perhaps not having thought it worth contacting the GP on the assumption there wouldn’t be much to be done,” he said.

The research also found that women were less likely to recover these senses than men.

The cause of the disparity is not clear, but the researchers suggested women tend to have better senses of smell and taste in the first place, meaning they have more to lose.

The data did not include which Covid variant the patients contracted. Previous research has indicated that more recent Omicron variants are less likely to lead to smell loss.

Biden Tests Positive For COVID-19, Shows Mild Symptoms

(FILES) President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on July 21, 2022, his administration announced, saying the 79-year-old leader was experiencing “mild symptoms” and would carry out his full duties while isolating at the White House. “He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,” the White House said in a statement, adding that Biden had begun taking Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill Paxlovid. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

 

President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, his administration announced, saying the 79-year-old leader was experiencing “mild symptoms” and would carry out his full duties while isolating at the White House.

Biden had been due to travel to Pennsylvania during the day, the latest in a series of trips around the country as he seeks to revive waning Democrat fortunes ahead of midterm elections.

“He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms,” the White House said in a statement, adding that Biden had begun taking Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill Paxlovid.

“Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.”

Biden is reported to be in good general health, but his age will heighten concern over the impact of Covid.

Politically he is in a tough phrase of his presidency, facing November midterm elections that are forecast to be painful for his Democratic Party, and declining personal approval ratings.

According to a study conducted by Quinnipiac University in the state of Connecticut and released Wednesday, Biden’s approval ratings have hit a new low, with only 31 percent of Americans satisfied with the way he is running the country.

Biden had planned to spend more time on the ground in the United States in the coming weeks after a period of intense overseas travel, including a NATO summit in Spain and a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had tested positive for coronavirus in October, 2020 — in the middle of their bitterly fought election race.

The news that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had both contracted the virus was a shocking development at a time when the pandemic was still unfolding across the globe.

Trump, who was 74 at the time, was transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent the weekend and received various treatments. He returned to the White House three days later.

The White House said Biden had last tested negative on Tuesday.

“Out of an abundance of transparency, the White House will provide a daily update on the president’s status as he continues to carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation,” it said.

“Per standard protocol for any positive case at the White House, the White House Medical Unit will inform all close contacts of the president during the day today, including any members of Congress and any members of the press who interacted with the president during yesterday’s travel.”

NCDC Confirms 357 New COVID-19 Cases In Three Days

A file photo of a health worker wearing a PPE on duty.

 

Nigeria has confirmed 357 new cases of COVID-19 amid the wave of fresh infections resurging in parts of the country.

The number of new cases has continued to rise as authorities have yet to restore the relaxed measures initially put in place to curb the spread of the disease.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) explained that the fresh infections were confirmed between July 9 and 11.

These cases, it stated, were reported in five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Lagos State had the highest number of infections – 292 and was followed by Yobe – 25, Rivers – 20, FCT – 11, Kano – seven, and Delta – two.

According to the NCDC, four states comprising Abia, Kaduna, Plateau, and Sokoto recorded zero cases within the period.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 258,874 since the first COVID-19 case was reported in late February 2020.

Of the confirmed cases, 250,456 people have been discharged while the number of those who died from complications relating to the disease stands at 3,144.

Read the tweet below:

WHO Warns COVID-19 Pandemic ‘Nowhere Near Over’

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stands at a Covid-19 coronavirus testing site outside a shopping mall in Beijing on May 5, 2022. Jade GAO / AFP
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stands at a Covid-19 coronavirus testing site outside a shopping mall in Beijing on May 5, 2022.
Jade GAO / AFP

 

 

Fresh surges of Covid infections show the pandemic is nowhere near over, the World Health Organization’s chief lamented Tuesday, warning that the virus is running free.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was worried that case numbers were shooting up, putting more strain on health systems and workers.

The number of Covid cases reported to the WHO increased 30 percent in the past two weeks, driven by sub-variants of the Omicron strain and the lifting of control measures.

“New waves of the virus demonstrate again that Covid-19 is nowhere near over. As the virus pushes at us, we must push back,” he insisted.

He told a news conference that as transmission increases, governments must also deploy tried-and-tested measures like mask-wearing and improving ventilation.

“Sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation, and death around the world,” Tedros said.

“Surveillance has reduced significantly — including testing and sequencing — making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of counter-measures.”

Furthermore, tests, treatments and vaccines are not being deployed effectively.

“The virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity,” he said, both in terms of hospitalisation of acute cases and the expanding number of people with Long Covid.

– ‘Uncertain and unpredictable’
The WHO’s Covid-19 emergency committee met Friday via video-conference and determined the pandemic remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — the highest alarm the WHO can sound.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told the meeting recent changes in testing policies were hindering the detection of cases and the monitoring of virus evolution.

The committee stressed the need to reduce transmission as the implications of a pandemic caused by a new respiratory virus would not be fully understood, the WHO said in a statement Monday.

The group voiced concern over steep reductions in testing, resulting in reduced surveillance and genomic sequencing.

“This impedes assessments of currently circulating and emerging variants of the virus,” the WHO said, feeding the inability to interpret trends in transmission.

The committee said the trajectory of virus evolution and the characteristics of emerging variants remained “uncertain and unpredictable”.

It said the absence of measures to reduce transmission increasing the likelihood of “new, fitter variants emerging, with different degrees of virulence, transmissibility, and immune escape potential”.

– Booster boost –
Meanwhile the WHO’s European office recommended a second booster shot of a Covid vaccine for older people and vulnerable groups.

Covid cases have been rising sharply since the end of May around most of Europe.

The call followed the EU’s health and medicine agencies recommendation on Monday of a second booster shot for people over 60 years old.

Coronavirus cases have risen 57 percent in Moscow over the past week, the Russian capital’s health authorities said.

“We recommend that you wear a mask in public places because the new Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 spread more rapidly from person to person,” Moscow social services wrote on Telegram.

And hundreds of thousands of people were under lockdown in a small Chinese city after just one case of Covid-19 was detected, as Beijing’s strict no-tolerance virus strategy showed no sign of abating.

The steelmaking hub of Wugang in Henan province announced three days of “closed control”.

None of the city’s 320,000 people are allowed outside their homes until midday Thursday. Local authorities were to deliver basic necessities.

China is the last major economy glued to a zero-Covid policy, crushing new outbreaks with snap lockdowns, forced quarantines and onerous travel curbs despite mounting public fatigue and damage to the economy.

NCDC Confirms 347 New COVID-19 Cases

In this file photo, a healthcare worker prepares to administer a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a person in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 347 new cases of COVID-19 with Lagos topping the list of states.

Data from the NCDC late on Friday showed that new infections were reported in seven states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Lagos had 265 cases, a wide margin from Imo which had the second-highest number of cases with 47 infections.

Other states with fresh cases are Rivers – 15, Edo – 11, FCT – 4, Akwa Ibom – 2, Plateau – 2, and Bayelsa – 1.

READ ALSO: Covid Vaccines Saved 20 Million Lives In First Year – Study

The new cases take the country’s total infections to 257,637, and the death toll to 3,144.

Of the 257,637 cases recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria in February 2020, Lagos State accounts for 100,641 infections followed by the FCT and the Rivers with 28,763 and 16,826 cases, respectively.

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos100,6411,81098,062769
FCT28,7636328,451249
Rivers16,82612716,545154
Kaduna11,314711,21889
Plateau10,258210,18175
Oyo10,232110,029202
Edo7,707117,375321
Ogun5,810115,71782
Delta5,4131325,170111
Ondo5,1733154,749109
Kano5,087494,911127
Akwa Ibom4,659294,58644
Kwara4,6404014,17564
Osun3,311363,18392
Gombe3,307833,15866
Enugu2,952132,91029
Anambra2,825462,76019
Nasarawa2,7383542,34539
Imo2,64882,58258
Katsina2,41802,38137
Abia2,17712,14234
Benue2,1293401,76425
Ebonyi2,064282,00432
Ekiti2,006521,92628
Bauchi1,96711,94224
Borno1,62951,58044
Taraba1,473621,37734
Bayelsa1,32111,29228
Adamawa1,203681,10332
Niger1,14813099820
Cross River842880925
Sokoto818079028
Jigawa669264918
Yobe60906009
Kebbi4801045416
Zamfara37503669
Kogi5032

Nigeria Records Fresh 332 COVID-19 Cases In Five Days

A health worker wearing a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit tests a swab sample for COVID-19 at a primary health center. NOAH SEELAM / AFP

 

Nigeria has confirmed 332 new cases of COVID-19 amid the relaxation of measures initially put in place to curb the spread of the disease in the country.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this in a tweet on Friday via its verified handle while giving an update on the outbreak of the disease.

It stated that the cases, which were confirmed between June 25 and 29, were reported in five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Lagos State had the highest number of infections – 251, followed by Rivers – 50, FCT – 21, Kano – seven, Delta – two, and Oyo – one.

According to the NCDC, eight states comprising Bayelsa, Ekiti, Kaduna, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, and Sokoto recorded zero cases within the period.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 257,290 since the first COVID-19 case was reported in late February 2020.

Of the confirmed cases, 250,229 people have been discharged while 3,144 others have died from complications relating to the disease.

Read the tweet below:

Somalia President Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of a healthcare worker holding a COVID-19 test kit. TARSO SARRAF / AFP

 

 

Somalia’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Friday he is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, shortly after returning from a trip to the United Arab Emirates.

“So far, I have no symptoms but I will continue to self-isolate and serve the people of Somalia from home,” he said on Twitter.

“I ask we all keep each other safe by following public health advice and guidelines.”

The 66-year-old president returned Friday from the United Arab Emirates where he had made his first official trip abroad since his election on May 15.

Mohamud is a former academic and peace activist who was previously president from 2012 to 2017 but whose first administration was dogged by claims of corruption and infighting.

The troubled Horn of Africa nation has recorded 26,748 coronavirus cases of which 1,361 have been fatal, according to the World Health Organization.